If you stick around long enough, sooner or later someone will ask to work with you. Even when I was a college professor, people would ask, “Can we work together on your next project?”
Some are particularly naive. “I’ll help write copy for you in return for coaching.”
Or, “If you’re giving an event and need a speaker, I’m happy to help.”
Today the pitches tend to be subtler.
“Let’s find a way to work together.”
Anytime you seek to enter a business relationship, you begin with a pitch. The principles are the same whether you want to be a guest on their podcast, write for their blog, join their next giveaway or work together.
Basically, it’s a matter of …
What’s on the table?
What do you bring to the table?
What do they bring to the table?
(1) What’s on the table? Begin with a specific suggestion.
“I’m working on a book for my target market. Would you be willing to contribute a chapter?”
“I’m presenting a workshop. Can you jump on the call for a fifteen-minute presentation?”
Notice that you’re initiating the event or program.
Otherwise you come across as weak and needy. You’re in a one-down position.
“Next time you present a program, I’d love to add fifteen minutes to the talk.” That’s not proposing to collaborate; that’s catching a free ride to their audience.
“Let’s get on a call and see how we can work together.” You’ve just demonstrated that (a) you’ve got lots of time on your hands and (b) you’re desperate. Better to present yourself as successful and strong.
(2) What do you bring to the table? What benefit do you deliver to participants?
“You’ll get exposure to my audience. You can offer them any of your lead magnets, no strings attached.”
“I’ll promote your course as an affiliate.”
“I’m doing the footwork. – you just come in and talk.”
(3) What do they bring to the table? Show why you chose them.
“I heard your podcast talk on using stories as a planning tool. This program is about planning and we can use a new approach.”
“I’ve taken your course on writing bullet points. That’s the missing piece in my talk on landing pages for creatives.”
Anyone can say, “I’ve read your blog posts.” Show you’ve actually dug into the content.
Even worse, “I haven’t read your book, but I think we’re sending the same message.”
Really? My book on storytelling specifically argues against the most common advice.
Bottom Line: One of the quickest ways to come across as clueless is to invite yourself to collaborate with another business owner. Ideally, you’ll build a relationship and you’ll come to appreciate each other’s value.