At today’s mastermind meeting, Joe, Bill, Craig and I got into a long discussion about Joint Venture proposals. This is a subject that my coaching clients providing good facilities are struggling with at Your Portable Empire University, and really, most beginning marketers struggle with.
It really hit home to me how lucky I was to be sitting at that table.
Joe Vitale is one of the fathers of the internet marketing business, and just keeps growing from amazing success to amazing success. His goal is to be the world’s first trillionaire. I wouldn’t bet against him.
Craig Perrine is one of the up-and-coming gurus. The gurus all know him, and respect him. He’s one promotion away from being a guru himself. He’s also got a dangerously skewed sense of humor.
Bill Hibbler is one of my oldest friends. He’s the one that got me into internet marketing, and introduced me to Joe. He’s quietly built up a very impressive internet empire. He also used to manage rock stars- so we share the music biz connection.
To get these guys together for a consultation would cost thousands of dollars an hour.
Let me share the wealth with you, by letting you listen in to a conversation we had about joint ventures.
There is a temptation for new internet marketers to use the “shotgun” approach when they try to set up Joint Venture deals. In the shotgun approach, you send a form letter to everybody you can think of, asking them to promote your product.
We were unanimous on this. The shotgun approach NEVER WORKS.
There. That’s all you need to know about the shotgun approach. Don’t waste your time
Bill reminded me of a time, 8-10 years ago, when I tried the shotgun approach in the music business. I put together a promo kit, with pictures, press clippings, and my latest CD and mailed it to record companies. Wasted several hundred dollars. I got no response.
Later, I got a record deal, publishing deal, and a couple of great agents- but I didn’t get them by using the shotgun approach.
Well, what does work?
We all agreed that building a relationship was important.
So, I asked Joe, Bill, and Craig to imagine they were sitting in… Cleveland, Texas, or some other backwater spot, and they wanted to establish a relationship with a potential JV partner. What would they do?
I want to make it very clear that the first step is to identify who you want to establish the relationship with. You need to focus on each potential JV partner one-at-a-time.
Here are the steps they would take:
1. get on their list.
2. subscribe to all of their newsletters and read them. You want to know what their niche is, what their interests are, and- this is very important- what they like. More on this in a minute.
3. send them an occasional email telling them that you like their ezine, and telling them exactly what you liked. quote the ezine or newsletter.
4. once they’ve responded to an email, and acknowledge you, offer them a free article or ebook to use as a bonus for their promotion. It’s important that your bonus has some relation to their promotion.
5. politely ask if they’d be interested in promoting your product. Do NOT send attachments. Do NOT send a long email with your biography. Do send a polite request stressing what’s in it for them.
6. repeat step five politely but persistently.
I’ve seen this work with Joe, and I believe that it will work with most gurus IF… and this is a big IF… the product you want to promote is actually a great product and it is the sort of thing his customers will actually buy.
For example, Craig’s customers are savvy, experienced internet marketers who are interested in the nuts and bolts techniques of list building. My ebook, The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Internet Wealth, would be totally inappropriate for his list.
Joe, on the other hand, has a list of people who will find that book very useful. He’ll be promoting it soon.
Now, look at step two- where it talks about finding out what they like.
Now, close the door. Make sure you’re alone. I’m about to tell you a secret…
You can get a guru’s attention by bribing them.
This is a secret. Don’t tell anybody. You didn’t hear it from me.
Here are some of the bribes that have worked:
– single malt scotch
– italian leather coat(s)
– a case of oreos
– vintage books
– steak dinner
– gourmet coffee
– official baseball-team cap (worked wonders with a Japanese record exec.)
– twenty-dollar bill
– maduro churchill cigars (I live in hope.)
note- clever works better than expensive. You can’t buy these guys. You can amuse them. If their passion is coffee, and you send them a pound of blue kona grown on a small coffee plantation, dried and roasted by loving hands- they’ll think of you as they drink the coffee, and they will read your proposal. The point is that you cared enough to learn about them, and learn what they like- and send it to them. Don’t go buy a hundred pounds of coffee and send it to a hundred gurus. Find the one who is passionate about coffee and concentrate on him.
Or find the one who has a sweet tooth for oreos, and send him a case.
(disclaimer: this is word of mouth. Hearsay. I have no evidence of anyone ever receiving or responding to a bribe. If I did, it was years ago and the statute of limitations has run on it. If it ever happened. In the case of the case of oreos, the evidence is long gone- his son ate ’em.)
A bribe will not guarantee that the guru will promote your product.
However, some of these guys get dozens of offers a day. It’s a full time job just reading the emails.
If you send your proposal FEDEX, with a memorable bribe (remember, you’ve researched them to find out what they like), you greatly increase the chances of your proposal actually getting read.
It’s still up to you to create a great product, and offer it to marketers who actually have access to the people who will buy it. Be sure to stress the benefits to the list-owner and his list. This is not the place to give your life history, or beg for help. Desperation does not sell.
A quick and easy way to build a relationship, and create a product, is to interview or co-write with your potential JV partner. The less work they actually have to do, the more likely they are to agree to your proposal.
Why would you do this?
1. When people see your name associated with a guru’s name, there is a perception that you are worth listening to.
2. It gets the guru emotionally involved in the project, and he’ll do what it takes to make it successful.
3. The first one is the hardest. Once you’ve successfully worked with one guru, it’s much easier to connect with, and work with, others.
4. You get to “cream” the guru’s list. You can build your own list by capturing the names of people who show interest in the product you create with the guru.
This led to a discussion of other problems beginning internet marketers have.
Craig said it best, “If you are currently broke, you have no business creating or marketing success products.”
The funniest JV proposal any of us have ever received said, “I’ve got a great marketing course, I just don’t know how to market it.” It’s actually become famous in guru circles as the ultimate bad example.
Bill followed up, “The internet marketing niche is full. Not only is there no room for anyone else to market products in that niche, if you do compete in that niche you’re competing against the best marketers on the planet. You don’t stand a chance.”
I can tell this to my coaching clients until I’m blue in the face, and they’ll still try it. I don’t understand.
Your chance of success is higher in just about any other niche.
The trick is to discover what you’re actually good at, and sell that.
What are your skills? Be honest about where you are now.
Craig, again: “Do you like being lied to? If you’re marketing success products, and you’re not successful- you’re lying.”
Craig had the solution- “There are two kinds of people in internet marketing: marketers and product developers. You’re probably a product developer. Find what you’re good at, and make a product out of that.”
This led to a discussion about product development.
If you like to write, and you write well, it’s even easier.
If you don’t like to write, or don’t write well, get an audio recorder and record interviews. You can record interviews over the phone. You can make camtasia videos and sell those. A cheap video recorder is good enough to make professional videos- the bar isn’t very high, because you need to compress the videos so they can be downloaded.
Somebody brought up the story of Joe Kumar, who was a broke student who lived in Singapore. He emailed a bunch of gurus and asked them a simple question about marketing. He knew that getting an answer to an email was easier than any other form of gathering information.
He also figured out that the gurus he interviewed would be emotionally involved with the product, and would be motivated to see it succeed. When the product was ready to market, his interview subjects became his joint-venture partners.
He made a pile of money. His story after that is kind of sad, but is worth learning about. Do a Google search.
This is a great business model. Joe and I used it when we created “The Myth of Passive Income.”
We bounced this around- that’s the beauty of mastermind meetings. The energy just swirls around the room.
One of the ideas that came out of this swirling energy- what if an overweight person interviewed a group of weight-loss experts, and created a product from the interviews? Then he could write an ezine to document his/her progress using the advice the weight-loss experts gave him. You could sell a lot of these.
What kinds of synergy can you create between Joint Ventures and products?