The one thing every business owner should do…

Back on 9/2/2010, I published a blog article entitled “The no. 1 strategy for getting new customers”.  I want to continue that thought here for this reason: many business owners are passing up a large revenue source by not including offline marketing in their marketing arsenal.

How would you like to reach 50,000 to 100,000 prospects, already pre-selected as being likely to buy from you, at no cost whatsoever?  These prospects may be waiting for you offline through “Host Relationships.”

Here’s how it works.  You research and find a non-competing company whose customers are the same type of people as your customers.  You convince the company to pay for a mailing to their customers promoting your product.  You split the profits 50/50 with the host company.

Does it sound too good to be true?

In my years in business, I did it dozens of times. The profits it generated were huge.  The Host Relationship, and it has some variations to it, is one of the most leveraged marketing techniques I can teach you about. 

It’s the most leveraged because the host company may have spent many years and millions of dollars identifying prospects and winning the trust of their customers.  By accessing that customer base, you get the benefit of all that effort and expense without having to spend a penny yourself.

One thing though.  I want to stress that you should be very generous with the host company when you set up the deal with them.  If you can’t get the host company to pay for the mailing, offer to pay for it yourself.  Or you can offer them 100% until they double their investment, and then a lower percentage thereafter.

The key thing is to make it happen. Offer them whatever it takes to get them to do the joint venture with you.  You will have invested so little up front and you will have so much to gain yourself.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you own a home or an office cleaning business, you should contact every carpet dealer within a geographic area you think you can handle.  Offer to pay the cost of a mailing to their customers. 

For the mailing to the customers, you should write a letter that will look like it came from the dealer. In it, you recommend your cleaning service to his customers.  The carpet dealer receives a percentage of the sales. 

This is a win-win for both of you—the carpet dealer wins because he generates more revenue and you win because you are accessing only qualified prospects.

The cost of acquiring a customer via a host relationship is a fraction of what it would be if you ran an ad or did a mailing of your own.  This results in a higher profit on every sale for you.

You must offer a good product or service so that the host companies have nothing to lose by recommending you.  It will mean thousands of dollars of profits for them with almost no effort on their part.

Hope this gave you an idea you can implement soon.  Let me know your thoughts on this strategy and the results you’ve gotten when you implement it.

If you want to re-read the previous article I wrote on this subject, you can see the article here:

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17 Responses to “The one thing every business owner should do…”

  1. Doreen says:

    Dear Ken,

    I read with interest this article, as I’m always looking for ways to gain more customers. In particular, your example hit home because I own a residential cleaning business :). I do have a couple of questions, however: firstly, you mentioned we need to find a company whose customer base is similar to ours, and then you used the example of a carpet dealer. I’m curious to know why you feel this type of company would have qualified people who would be likely to use our service? People who purchase carpeting come from all walks of life and are just as likely/unlikely to use a cleaning service as say, people who belong to a gym or shop at Macy’s or the dollar store. Secondly, if a company contacted ME and asked to be included in OUR mailings, I would hesitate since I don’t know their work and would feel by recommending them I would be endorsing them, which could backfire. What are your thoughts? Thanks!


    johan Reply:

    @Doreen, hey there, I share your thaughts.
    >I’m a belgian caterer.
    >A few weeks ago I had some idea like mentioned in this article. I had some postcards printed, and distributed them trough some banks. I made them the offer I would pay a percentage back to the family for every communion-party that would be booked for this year.,
    Reply: zero !
    Let’s hope next years results will be booming ! Keep up the good work !


    Ken Varga Reply:

    Johan, it’s almost impossible to make any type of substantial sales with one contact. It takes about 5 to 7 follow-ups to make an average sale. You need to plan a marketing campaign that includes how you’ll make your initial contact AND how you will follow up to convert the prospects into customers over time. Making sales involves building trust, creating believability, and removing risk for the buyer. It’s very, very difficult to do that with one postcard. That has to be done over time. Read the following article on how to get a 95% closing ratio, then think of ways you can adapt it to your catering business:


    Ken Varga Reply:

    Doreen, regarding your first question, the carpet company is just an example to keep things simple. You will need to profile your best customers, then match those best customers up with your best “host” JV partners. For instance, you and your neighbor may both be in the cleaning business, but your customer profiles could be different.

    Regarding your second question, you are right. Any prudent company will want to make sure you do good work, are reliable, etc. So you have to be ready to prove to those that respond that you can be counted on.

    Remember, in general, it takes about 5 to 7 contacts before a prospect will respond to a solicitation. Plan to send several letters before you get a response from any particular potential host.

    Think about converting them just like you would any potential client. Plan out a campaign to reach and convert them. Don’t expect that you’ll get them calling you with your first mailing.

    But if you are going after businesses with large customer lists, it will be worth it when you convert them.

    One more thing, consider sending them useful tips to help them grow their business also, etc. You can send them magazine articles, etc., or even copies of my newsletter or blog articles. You can say, “I ran across this article and thought it might be of interest to you.”.

    Re-read the following article to get some ideas about how to proceed:


  2. Deena Neste says:

    Ken, I want to thank you for ALWAYS providing great content and valuable information in your posts. I truly look forward to your blogs each week because I can count on the fact that if I take the time to open and read your article, it will be time well spent.

    Much Appreciated!

    Deena Neste


    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Deena Neste,
    Deena, you are very welcome! Thanks for the wonderful feedback!


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  5. Tom Gazaway says:

    Great report Ken!


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  7. Melita Panak says:

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  8. Ken Varga says:

    @Melita Panak, Thank you Melita!


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  12. Phil Heiman says:

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