Why Should They Care?

I met for coffee with someone recently to sound board some of their business development ideas.
“I have a great idea for a partnership with Dr. Pepper,” he said.

Having seen Dr. Pepper’s uncanny ability to combine 23 delightful flavors into a satisfying diet drink that tastes just like the original, I could certainly understand the desire to collaborate with the company.

“Great, what’s in it for them?” I responded.

“Well, we’ve got an award-winning product, our brand is getting lots of buzz and attention, and we both sell to 18-35 year old males, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity for cross-promotion.”

And yet, why should they care?

The key to a successful partnership is ensuring that the collaboration creates long-term value for everyone involved. Too often, it’s easy to see things only from your own perspective while forgetting the vantage point of your prospective partner: of course partnering with a Fortune 500 company gives your startup credibility, but what’s in it for them?

The long-term value that you bring needs to be strong enough to break through innumerable obstacles on the way to a deal.

– Is the value compelling enough to turn a contact into an advocate, rallying their bosses and decision-makers into action?

– Is the value large enough to break through the bureaucratic red-tape of a large company?

– Is the value obvious enough to get someone excited enough to respond to your initial proposal email?

The path to partnership begins with a thoughtful review not only of the impact on your business, but your partner’s. Give them a reason to care, and you’re on your way.

4 Responses to Why Should They Care?
  1. Don’t Be Deceived by Titles (or, What Star Wars Taught Me About Business Development) - The Start of the Deal - Scott Pollack on Business Development and Partnerships Reply

    […] can provide important insight into the organization’s interests and priorities, and help identify who will care about the value that you can create for the […]

  2. He’s Just Not That Into You - The Start of the Deal - Scott Pollack on Business Development and Partnerships Reply

    […] Despite how obvious the value that you have to offer them is to you, they probably think you’re just wasting their time.  Our natural desire to be liked causes us to extend those polite social cues even when all you want to do is run for the exit.  That puts the onus on you to look past the polite nodding and ask yourself a tough question: did you really show them see why they should care? […]

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