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Connect with people. Networking means connecting with people. By networking, you are increasing opportunities to be successful. By connecting with groups of people you are leveraging your time and space. A great way to network and get your name out there is to create service trades.

Strategic alliances and service trades are probably the most overlooked form of offline marketing and, yet, they can be very effective. These alliances are a lot like networking. Partnering with local businesses gives you the ability to expand your reach to audiences you might not already be in contact with.

It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s not all that difficult to create a service trade. (Think of it as networking with a purpose.) First, look for a common customer or audience. Once you’ve identified a company that fits the bill, open the lines of communication. Then, answer the following questions for your potential partner:

  1. What resources can we offer one another?
  2. How is this a win-win for both parties?
  3. How can we work together to expand our reach?

Look for businesses that complement yours. If you specialize in wedding and special occasion hair, look to partner with a wedding planner, photographer or makeup artist. If your clients book with the partner and mention your name, they get a discount. Your strategic partner offers a similar discount.

Another option is to partner with someone in another industry. One of the stylists at Eric Fisher Salons partnered with a salesman at a local car dealership. If someone purchased a car they got a coupon for a free haircut. This gave the stylist a new client base to wow! In return, she would refer her clients to him. Subsequently, her clients got a special discount on their car purchases!

By offering incentives, you’re giving your customers an avenue to act (i.e., shop somewhere new, secure services, etc.). Your partner has the solution, your customers just need to be told where to find it.


the challenge

Think about businesses that are in a 1-mile, 2-mile and 3-mile radius. Make a list! Go knocking on doors! Leave your business card, give them a VIP card or offer a special service. Let them know you are interested in creating service trades to help boost business.


For other great business tips, click here.