Jay Abraham is on my mind this month because we are making a movie with him about his business life and strategies for success.
Jay taught me a lot about business through his seminars and writings. His teaching started almost 35 years ago when I took one of his large group training sessions (that I paid what seemed like a small fortune for at the time) just to spend two days with him, and about 500 other people. It was money well spent.
Since then, I have heard Jay speak many times and have read everything he has written. Someone once asked him, “If someone took away all of the business strategies you know and you had to start from scratch, what one strategy would you take with you and start a new business with?” His answer was: Partnerships and Endorsed Marketing.
Although I took home a lot of good ideas at that seminar, his view on partnerships was most important to me because I was in one at the time and had used the strategy previously when I had first started my law practice several years before.
I had never thought of “Partnerships” as a specific business strategy, but just a business structure. Once I was enlightened by Jay to see Partnerships and Endorsed Marketing as a strategy then I saw how they could be used in many instances I had never considered. I also began to see that there are other patterns of business that can be repeated with formulaic success. This viewpoint changed the entire way I looked at business development for any business and saw opportunities I had never seen before.
To be fair, I must add that partnerships are not always rosy nor do they always work out, but it is a specific strategy that you can leverage quickly and even launch multiple ones in different fields or directions.
Looking back to when I first started my law practice, I had no clients, no reputation in the field of business securities law, and very little money to market with. Fortunately, I used the strategy of partnership and endorsement (not knowing yet they were strategies), and approached a friend of mine who was the former Director of the Division of Securities in Florida and he agreed to let me affiliate with him and his practice.
Since I had no money to advertise for business or do any mailings, I took the yellow pages (a time when they were a great source of information) and started cold calling anyone who seemed to be a real estate developer or syndicator and might need legal service. After a couple of days, I found two guys who fit those requirements and the reason they were willing to talk with me was because of my affiliation (endorsement) with the former Director of the Division they would be regulated by. This one move and use of the partnership and endorsement strategy began a long and prosperous relationship for 20 years. The partnership and endorsement strategy had worked for me, even though I didn’t realize yet that is was a successful strategy I could apply again and again.
Even now, as we fast forward to a totally different marketing world, partnerships and endorsed marketing are one of the cornerstones of our business. Nick and I, of course, have been business partners now for over 10 years, having started the Celebrity Branding Agency and then many other companies and partnerships. Greg and Lindsay are both partners with us in our companies and we recently started a venture with Business Coach Pat Rigsby, who teaches how to build your IDEAL Business. Pat had been one of Nick’s and my first law clients together, doing the legal work on his franchise. Interestingly, his wife, Holly, was also one of our first clients in the Agency.
As many of you know, we do or have done partnership/ventures with Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, Nido Qubein, Peter Diamandis, Steve Forbes, Larry King, Rudy Ruettiger and many others. In many of these cases, we also applied the strategy of an endorsed mailing by these famous people in order to get the added benefit it brings to our offer. We keep this partnership strategy at the forefront in our business, repeating it often, and you should as well. Just this week, we are using it again by launching a new partnership for helping our clients create their own television series and showing it on our Success Network. (Already tested and to be announced soon.)
Here are some important considerations I have found helpful to follow as you focus on Partnerships and Endorsed Marketing:
- Pick good people to work with. Don’t be lazy; check them out because they are going to check you out. Today, it is easy to see if people have had problems with a regulatory agency or a lot of complaints against them. If nothing else, Google them and go more than a couple of pages deep. Choose carefully who you select as a partner because their reputation and actions will reflect on you for a long time.
- Put what you and your partner agree to in writing with specific terms and conditions. In many cases you should get an attorney to draw up a contract, but at least put down on paper what you are agreeing to. If you don’t there will be problems because people’s memory gets fuzzy when money starts flowing. I am speaking of even the good guys. We all tend to remember things a little different.
I will also say that sometimes, bringing in an attorney at the wrong time in a negotiation can cost you a potentially successful venture if it gets bogged down and the attorney is not a skilled negotiator. While I hate to admit it, there are just some bad attorneys when it comes to deal making and they can become deal killers. Nick and I have chosen many times to go it alone with memo agreements between potential partners, knowing at the time we might have problems later on and did on some occasions.
- Be a good partner. Man this sounds corny but trust me, life is too short to try and squeeze every dime out of a deal. Sometimes, contrary to the book, The Art of the Deal, you are better off leaving more on the table for the other side so your reputation will grow and people will want to work with you again. Incidentally, your future deal flow will also grow as your reputation does.
- Make sure what you are endorsing is good, works the way your marketing materials say it will, and it’s presented in an honest manner. This seems like common sense, but many times the problem is your new partner (who you’ve never worked with before) may like to push the envelop in what is promised. Be cautious and stick to your guns on this one. Your reputation is hard to build and can be destroyed quickly. Once lost, a good reputation is hard to get back. Common sense, yes, but lots of good people get caught up in the process and rush into things too fast.
- Return the favor. Someday you will be in a position where people come to you for help and assistance. They may want to do an endorsed mailing or partnership with you because of your success. While you must do a very careful check on everyone that comes to you for this type association, also remember someone has likely helped you along the way. “Pay it forward” is a concept we must all remember. I assure you Jay Abraham does!