3 Ways to Approach a Potential Affiliate/JV Partner Who You Don’t Know Already

Aug 8, 2014

Originally published March 28, 2013

After my video last week I was asked a great question:

“Tina, I get that having a relationship is ideal when it comes to this stuff, but what if you are newer to your biz or don’t have any relationships with potential affiliates yet?”

Here’s my top 3 tips to approach a potential new affiliate or JV partner:

  1. Get to know the person first – if you send a generic request to someone asking them to “help promote your stuff and earn some money” I can pretty much guarantee it will be deleted.

    You need to do some work upfront and get to know the person and their business BEFORE you approach them. Do your research, learn what they offer already and who their clients are and see where your stuff can help compliment what they are doing already. Look to see how you can solve a problem for THEM as well as their clients. ie: If someone is a marketing coach but they don’t teach team building and yet their clients all struggle here, you could approach them to offer a team building program that could fill a need for their clients that they can’t (or don’t want to) fill themselves.

  2. Give them a sample of your program – how does the person know if your stuff is any good? If you don’t have a relationship already the next best thing to establish credibility and trust is to give them a copy or sample of your stuff. This way they can see *exactly* what it is that you are offering and determine if it’s something they can confidently recommend.

    Now some people resist this because they don’t want to give something away for free or fear that someone might steal their stuff and use it themselves. If you give away one sample of your product to someone who could potentially get you lots of sales then that’s a great ROI in my opinion. Likewise, you can ask someone to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that prevents them from using your stuff outside of review purposes.

  3. Leverage a Relationship – do you know anyone who knows the person you want to reach out to? If yes, ask that person if they would be willing to introduce you or if they have any suggestions on the best way to reach out to that person. A connection via a mutual contact is a great way to establish credibility and make a connection.
  4. BONUS TIP: Make it BEYOND easy for them to promote – the worst thing you can do to a new affiliate is have them say yes and then you drop the ball. It is *essential* that you have your team and marketing resources 100% in place so that they can just “plug and play” on their end.

    I’m amazed at how often people drop the ball here – and at the same time I get it because it takes work to setup your promotion materials, affilaite links and continue to communicate with all the parties. Make sure you have a person on your team who is dedicated to this and can make you look like the rockstar that you are.


  1. Donna Davies Brackett

    Thanks Tina. Great (and timely) tips for me. Really appreciate your wisdom and the way you tell it like it is. As someone who is new, I have been struggling with this – and now I realize that I haven’t reached out early enough.

  2. Nina East

    These are great tips, Tina. Super helpful. I’m enjoying all these videos.

    I’m having some “grrrr” feelings from the other side, though. Maybe we need some videos about how you ought to behave when you agree to be a JV for a specific event.

    Awhile back I had an event & had lined up commitments from 11 “super affiliates”. They agreed to promote to their lists and via social media. We suggested a schedule, provided sample emails they could use or tweak, plus a variety of sample tweets and FB updates. All WELL in advance of the event. Sent reminders, offered to write specific items just for their audience if they wanted…In other words, we bent over backwards to fulfill our end of the bargain.

    And I was promoting them and their businesses in return, throughout the process, which wasn’t even part of the agreement. Just my goodwill.

    Combined, the mailing lists totaled over 200,000 people. Since I had their commitments, and I knew the event could become very big as a result, I invested quite a bit of money (and time) in making it a superb event.

    Of those 11 super affiliates,only 3 actually promoted the event *at all* – and those were the three with the smallest lists. Those that gave any reason said that it fell through the cracks, or that they had changed their marketing calendar and it no longer fit for them (even though they had given their word).

    While I lost a lot of money on the event, I guess the good news was that I learned who I would never collaborate with again. I just wish more so-called “recognized, successful business owners” would act with integrity. I’m sure they would be outraged if this had happened to them.

    • tinaforsyth

      hot damn – you are so right NIna, that is another aspect of the JV/affiliate world that can be highly frustrating. And I’ve experienced it myself, both as the invitee and the invited (I will admit.)
      I can see where and why this happens, and as you say it really shouldn’t happen at all. And at the end of the day this really does boil down to integrity and who keeps their word (vs. who doesn’t).
      I tell ya, so many aspects of the affiliate/JV world can fall apart so easily! Hmmm


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