The best agencies understand that they are part of an ecosystem, and they create partnerships with people who are either complementary to them in that ecosystem or who might actually serve a slightly different scale in that ecosystem.
Agency partnerships work. If you generate leads and interest that you can’t use, be good, responsible citizens and point them to someone who might be able to help them. You spent money to create opportunity, and there’s an opportunity that you can’t use. You’re never going to get that money back, but maybe there’s someone you know who will want to help these customers.
If you had a partner, or a couple of partners, you could refer a client to them if they’re struggling with something you can’t help them with. For example, if your client needs help with acquisition marketing, and that’s impacting your ability to deliver great results for them through email marketing, you could introduce them to someone you know who is great in that industry.
“Why would I do that? It doesn’t benefit me?” Yes, it will benefit you. You can create a financial relationship, but that’s not the primary reason to refer someone to someone else. You are making yourself more important to your clients because you have given them a solution to their problem, and now your client understands that you’re on their side and trying to help them.
There’s a synergistic relationship between acquisition and retention because it’s all part of an ecosystem. If you want to become more important to your client and deliver better results, create agency partnerships. As soon as you make that agency partnership and provide a referral to someone, they think “Is there anyone I can refer to them?”
What has happened is you have created a really virtuous ecosystem where what’s good for a partner is good for your client, and what’s good for your client is good for your partner. Creating that ecosystem is an incredibly powerful way to increase your impact on your client and increase your result set simply by referring another expert.
Benefits of agency partnerships pay off for years and include: retaining your client, getting them to be happier with you, improving their business, and creating better relationships between you and an agency partner. The benefits will significantly surpass any referral fee agreements that you might make. Most partnerships we’ve made didn’t involve referral fees because that’s just incremental dollars that probably don’t add up to a whole lot.