Here’s the situation. You want to be an entrepreneur and start a new business because you know that this is the fastest way to building wealth. Mark Ford has told you so in his many books and essays. You know that you have a good idea, but how on earth do you get customers when starting from scratch?
Well, the correct answers are rarely the ones you want to hear. Other guru’s like to tell you that you can make millions overnight with no effort, but that’s not what you’ll get here. Instead, you’ll hear you the unadulterated truth. But it’s the truth that shall make you wealthy.
Today you’re going to discover the power of OPC. It’s a little acronym that describes the fastest way for building a business, whether it’s Internet-based or one that resides on Main Street in your hometown. The rule of OPC holds true for all new opportunities, as do the strategies for getting OPC.
To give you an example of the power of OPC, let’s take a look at my bookshelf. It’s packed with many investing books and newsletters from many different authors. I haven’t just bought from one specific person or organization. Does that give you a hint about what OPC is and how it applies to your business?
And as I mentioned, the OPC strategy works just as well in “real-world” businesses as it does online. After all, why do you think the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker were such good friends?
You see, you need to be “partners” with other businesses who serve the same marketplace as you, and yes, this might even mean teaming up with your competition, because nothing can boost your business faster than OPC – Other People’s Customers.
Let’s take a look at an example. I want you to meet my friend and former coaching client, Joel. Back in 2009, on the same day that he made his first sale online, he also made his one-thousandth sale online. That’s right, over 1000 sales in a day. How did he accomplish that?
The answer is with other people’s customers, of course.
Joel did something called an online product launch. By leveraging his contacts and goodwill, Joel was able to persuade other business owners to recommend his products to their customers. He did this by incentivizing these business owners with a large commission on each sale and bonuses for hitting certain sales levels.
That’s the basic premise of online affiliate marketing. If you send me your customers, I’ll pay you and make it worth your while. (In fact, that’s what Joel and I did in our 247FatLoss.com product launch that grossed over $700,000. A full review, including step-by-step guidelines to running your own launch, is available for all of our Virtual Mastermind members inside the members area.)
The OPC strategy also works with a real world, offline, brick-and-mortar. For example, I recently invested in a Fit Body Bootcamp franchise location here in Toronto. This is where men and women of all ages and backgrounds attend group fitness sessions. To get customers into our bootcamp, we’ll be teaming up with local businesses to offer great deals to their customers – while promising reciprocation for the other business, of course. The bottom line is that you must make it worthwhile for your business partners to share their customer list with you.
Let’s go back and look at Joel’s original breakthrough product launch. He gave his affiliate partners 75% commission on each sale that his they sent his way. That allowed him to essentially buy customers at a profit! When you set-up your online business, you should do the same. (Full disclosure: We help members of our Virtual Mastermind to connect with other business owners and create mutually profitable joint ventures to rapidly build their customer lists – while also providing great value to the lives of their new customers. It’s a win-win-win situation.)
When you are buying customers from another business, pay as much money in commissions as you can afford to give. In my Turbulence Training information business, I’ll often give away 100% commission to affiliates on front-end offers. I’m more than happy to do this in order to acquire a new customer that will make repeat purchases from me.
By being so generous with commissions, it makes other affiliates perk up and take notice. Soon they’ll be asking to participate in your promotions and send you new customers. After all, when you can pay someone a lot of money for their customers, they’re much happier to share them with you (especially if you can pay more than your competitors).
And again, this works off the Internet as well. Let’s say for example that you have a store that sells flooring. Your best advertisers could be stores that sell appliances, blinds, and all other products related to renovations. You should also be working out deals with contractors so that they send their customers to you.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you have (or want to start). The fastest way to grow your customer list is to get other people’s clients to become your clients too. Here are the simple steps you need to take to get the ball rolling.
1. Identify your partners. Build up goodwill with these partners by helping them first. Leverage your goodwill when you request their help.
2. Incentivize your partners through extra commissions and contests. For example, if a business partner sends you X number of sales each month, give them a cash bonus.
3. Continually remind your partners to promote your business and resell them on participating. Create done-for-them marketing materials and referral scripts that automates this process for them.
Selling partners on promoting your business is extremely important. I can’t emphasize it enough. You need to focus on selling them and delivering customer service to your business partners almost as much as you do to your end-user customers.
But make sure you have a proven sales system in place before you start selling business partners on referring their customers to you. If you ask for referrals prematurely, before you are ready to serve those customers properly, you’ll end up hurting their business and yours.
There is little else that can damage a relationship more than over-promising and under-delivering. You’ve got one shot with a product launch and you can’t be caught firing blanks. As my business partner, Matt Smith, likes to remind me, “You’ve spent a lot of time building up this goodwill, you don’t want to waste it on a trivial matter.”
I wish I could tell you that “being the best darn little shop on Main Street” (or best little website on the Internet) was enough to keep a business alive and profitable, but that’s just not the politically correct truth.
To grow a real, long-term business that will help you create the life of your dreams while serving hundreds or thousands of people in your community, the best way to get started is with Other People’s Customers. Take the OPC lessons seriously. Start applying them to your business today.
Tell us how your going to start acquiring OPC today.
Craig Ballantyne is the Editor of EarlytoRise.com and Financial Independence Monthly. He also coaches executives of companies with sales over $1 million. ETR Publisher Matt Smith and Craig now offer a new virtual private mentoring program for Financial Independence Monthly subscribers. Get your FREE Financial Independence Kit here.
* Published as Issue # 215 on August 21, 2013