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What You Forgot You Knew About Collaborative Cooperation

Co-operation and survive!. What happens when you are faced with tremendous competition? Do you fight tooth and nail, or find alliance partners to fight together? [seamusphan.com magazine]

Things you forgot you knew about collaborative cooperation:

  1. If you can't collaborate with the number one company serving your niche, then partner with numbers two, three, and four. A few companies can come together to become more competitive with larger foes (the "common enemy".) The key is to group around customer needs and set your team apart from others by presenting the groups stability.
  2. Invite competitors to train with your sales people for industry tailored seminars and events. By bringing together a larger group, you can have sales training programs customized to your industry at a lower cost. Plus, you'll pick up insights from the competition. Attendees don't even need to mention what company they work-- try to keep the event as open as possible.
  3. Arrange distributive selling arrangements to provide competitors products when customers prefer them over your own. Instead of losing a sale to a competitor, get a percentage of the future sale by referring customers who are set in buying what your competitor offers. Offer this as a last ditch effort to recover a sale; "If you want to solve X, then you'll have to select a provider eventually. You don't have to choose us, but consider these individuals at our closest competitors."
  4. Use lead referral programs to extract your competitions unconverted sales opportunities. Offer to purchase the unconverted leads from your competitors and companies serving the same audience. These individuals have already expressed an interest in something you provide, your sales people will see better results in less time.
  5. Open an industry portal or create a trade association with competitors to improve awareness of the products you both provide. With a common voice a trade association can help educate potential buyers, regulate/lobby outside influences, and open new media opportunities. A trade association can create certification programs develop supporting industries, while managing the entry of smaller competitors.
  6. Pool buying resources to obtain material discounts that reduce your costs and improve profitability. Especially useful for raw materials purchases. If purchases can be made in volume, why not bring competitors together in a buying group. This type of collaboration offers price protection and discounts for loyal members-- savings that can be incorporated into your bottom-line.
  7. Select competitors that produce complementary products that establish quality based customer segments. You may be the high end provider in your market place, by partnering with mid-grade and entry-level competitors you can provide for a full scope of customer desires. Share market research, cooperate in lead generation campaigns, and exchange selling strategies.

/ business-strategy | strategic-relations /

By Justin Hitt at August 2, 2003 7:24 PM  Subscribe in a reader


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