I often joke with one of my friends that I am not fond of people calling me and speaking French… we this and we that…

Whenever the conversation turns this direction, I begin to listen for the WIIFM… You know, “what’s in it for me?”

It’s not that I am that selfish or self-serving, HOWEVER, I realize that my time is valuable.  The time that I spend working on your project is time that I am not spending writing my blogs, working on my next book, helping my clients or preparing for my next presentation.  Therefore, I have to be sure that I am going to get something out of this “partnership” because let me assure you, I know that you need me.

So you are probably thinking, she’s really full of herself to say something like that but let’s be honest again… anyone that you call and start speaking French to (we can do this or we can do that) realizes that you need them.  Because if you could do it by yourself then you wouldn’t have called or attempted to initiate a “partnership” that is probably going to entail me doing some work.

Now, let me also distinguish between the work that I do as a Consultant where I am paid a monthly fee and my compensation has nothing to do with your business revenue, and what we are discussing here.  These conversations usually occur when someone is working on a project and they believe that access to my network or my expertise will be of value to them but they are not looking for a Client/Consultant relationship.

In the spirit of keeping it real, I am going to give you four ideas that you can consider when trying to establish a mutually beneficial relationship (hopefully you already know what’s in it for you)…

  1. Money.  Most people want to be compensated for their work.  Plain and simple.  A conversation will flow much smoother if you contact someone and let them know up front that you are willing and able to pay them.  I can’t count the number of times that I have sat through a conversation attentively listening as someone described all of the things that we could do together, with it being very clear how they would make money, and no mention of any compensation for me.
  2. Promotion.  Aside from being financially compensated, most people are trying to sell a product/service.  If you have the means to assist with promoting them, this may be of value.  However, don’t think just because you have social media accounts that you post my information to is of value.  I look at whether someone has an engaged community more than the number of friends/followers.  Will your network respond to your post?  A lot of people have small but engaged followers while many more have large, unengaged followers.  You should know if your network has value based on how often they take action when you post something.  Do they read the blog links that you post?  Do they answer questions when you post them?  Do they buy the products/services that you post information about?
  3. Barter.  You may have a product/service that I need and an exchange could be valuable to me.  It is dangerous to establish too many bartered relationships because you will find that you are working essentially for free.  Set a limit on how much of your product/service that you will give away per month or year and be sure that what you are receiving is worth what you are giving.  For example, if I am giving away $200 worth of my time and you are offering a $30 product; that may not be the best deal to try to make.  At least attempt to provide a barter that is equal to or at the least you are giving 50% of what you are asking.
  4. Passion.  If you can find a person’s passion then they may be more willing to partner with you without asking for anything in return.  However, don’t try to exploit a person’s passion because you could unknowingly give them a bad taste about something that they once loved and I feel pretty certain that karma may intervene in such a situation.  Also be mindful of what you are requesting when playing to someone’s passion.  If know that they will get nothing in return except the joy of knowing they helped someone, don’t make them do a lot of work.  Try to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.  Also, this tip usually works better for not for profits.  I don’t see too many people being passionate about helping you make money.

I hope these tips are useful!