Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team
By Talmar Anderson
On the rise with ecommerce and online products are the opportunities to grow your sales team. Or on the flip side, a way to increase your income through recommending people, brands and products for compensation. Do either of these options really sound like a bad idea for your business? This incentive creates questions and worry for both the entrepreneur considering this “cut” into their profits and the referral source. I do believe that this can work for a variety of industries so let’s talk a little bit about affiliations!
As a potential commissioned referral source, a common argument stems from the concern that you do not want to be perceived as solely incentivized by being paid to recommend something or someone. That it could appear as self-serving as opposed to prioritizing the needs of your contact. I get it. I too walked the line for many years and turned down offers of compensation from great providers and vendors that I 100% believed in and to whom I continually referred. I wanted to be able to point to my referrals and say that I was only recommending them as a great solution for prospects.
After several years and establishing a reputation for referring the best possible referrals for each individual need, I realized that I was literally leaving money on the table. Yep. I was going to refer those people anyway. Yes, I could genuinely and honestly look prospects in the eye to assure them that my expertise, education and experience led to any recommendation. Not the check book! I do have a few affiliates (from tools like Lead Pages or ConvertKit to trusted business owners that can offer a benefit to my clients and audience like The Lucky Bitch) that I recommend when it fits.
Now what if you are thinking of paying affiliates or commissions to other referral sources? I know, they SHOULD be referring to you because you are amazing and no one can solve your clients issues as well. However, sometimes the marketing campaign to be in front of your referral sources can get lost in your company’s outreach to new lead generation or current prospects. It is true…there are only so many hours in a day.
By monetizing those referrals, you allow the source to be incentivized and rewarded for sales. The first time that income comes back to them, your company WILL be top of mind.
What about doing the numbers to decide? In our example, we are offering a 25% affiliate fee on a $100 product. Imagine you could average 10 sales a month of your $100 product through your own company. Boom! $1,000
Now imagine if one of your best strategic partners could get you in front of another 10 people but maybe only 3 bought through them. $300 – $75 = $225 income for YOUR company. This came off someone else’s marketing and sales efforts (AND expense!). Your referral source was already planning on being in front of this market. They qualified the need for your solution and completed the sale for you! This effort exposed your company and services to a wider market and grew your revenue by 22% thus expanding your credibility AND cash flow!
Plus, it is TOTALLY FUN to cut a check to those referral sources with a big, fat THANK YOU written on it. The referral source is excited because they just made another $75 off conversations they were going to be having anyway.
Could you operate profitably and scale your business by having a stronger pool of pre-qualified prospects? While this example is based off a client’s experience, consider that we developed a specific and strategic operational plan to support the intake, payment tracking and communications with these referral sources. For success, this is will require creating another operational layer. However, with the right affiliates you gain access to new markets and qualified sales. This can be especially beneficial during new launches or product offerings.
It may not be right for every company but in the on-demand market of small businesses, sales forces are much smaller than the larger corporations had access to in the past. Is it worth it to your company’s bottom line to find a way to reward those strategic partners that are already working on creating income themselves? It is something to consider when looking for new ways to grow your revenues.
Now GO! Grow!
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