Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finding Strategic Partners and Referral Relationships

Have you considered cultivating referral relationships with other service providers? These can be providers who write resumes, provide career or interview coaching, career testing services, or life coaches.

When choosing possible partners, look for individuals or companies that share a similar work style. Get to know enough about them that you would feel confident in recommending them to your clients.

In this blog post, I’m going to focus on how this process applies to selecting resume writers to partner with, but the process is the same for whichever type of provider you’re interested in working with.

The two most important factors when selecting a referral partner are whether they can do a good job and whether they can handle your clients well.

The process starts with identifying likely candidates. There are lots of options -- local providers, regional or national providers; direct competitors; colleagues.

The obvious choice is to look in the Yellow Pages or online listings. But don’t stop there -- you can also find possible candidates through networking in local professional associations -- Society of Human Resource Management chapters (for example, mine is the Human Resource Association of the Midlands). Depending on where you live, you may also have local associations of resume writers — for example, the Resume Writer’s Council of Arizona.

The advantage of working with existing résumé writers or career coaches in your local areas is that you can meet them personally and observe their operations firsthand.

Most of the service providers you consider will probably already be in business. They should have existing business structures — phone, computer skills, recordkeeping systems — to handle referrals you send their way. If they’ve been around a while, they probably don’t need much hand-holding either — which means you could set up a partnership agreement pretty quickly.

On the negative side, these are usually your competitors — meaning your prospective client may have already contacted this person or company and decided not to work with them, for whatever reason. So then you’re put in the position of “selling” your competitor to the prospective client, which may or may not work.

Are you interested in pursuing a strategic partnership or referral relationship? Purchase the "Developing Strategic Alliances and Partnerships with Recruiters" special report from Resume Writers' Digest.

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