What Is A Strategic Partner In Business?

If we are talking about new business development I define a strategic partner as one of who can, on regular basis and ongoing, provide you with pre-qualified referrals.

Not everyone is a good strategic partner for you. As much as you may develop a deep and caring relationship with someone, as much as you may teach them about what you do and how they can refer someone to you, if they don’t have the regular opportunity to engage with your potential clients about what you do the number of times they will be able to help you is limited.

Identify your target clients and seek out people that are already having conversations with your target clients about something close enough to what you are doing or offering that they will be able to easily bring you into that conversation.

Just as so many are asking for referrals from people who rarely have the opportunity, they are also not completing the steps completely build the strategic partnerships. Being introduced to a good strategic partner is the first step in what can be many. In essence, each of you needs to train the other to be salespeople for each other. The more and better your strategic understands what you are offering the better they can qualify and prepare the client before they pass them along.

Can you imagine having people coming to pre-qualified and ready to buy? Can you imagine this happening regularly without having to constantly seek out new clients?

This will be our training focus for the month of March. I hope you will be able to participate in some our meetings and contribute to some great conversations and they we may help you too.  

What is your 10 year Goal?

What can goal setting do for you? I recently met with a client who was pretty unhappy with where she was in her job situation, felt like she hadn’t accomplished anything and frustrated because she just didn’t know where she was going.

Together we were able to create a ten year goal that she is now very excited about. At first, a ten year goal seemed like an eternity but a few exercises with her and now she is completely on board. She didn’t have a lot of patience, so we broke her goal down into multiple daily activities that she is committed to achieving, each of them is another step toward her long range goal.

Envisioning herself achieving this goal ten years from now we were also able to turn a lot of the negatives and road blocks that she was seeing into simply steps along the path. This part was actually a great reminder to me as well. It’s hard when we live in a society that seems to encourage a habit of focusing on what is bad, what we don’t have and the need for instant gratification. I realized this a while ago and have been on a path myself of focusing on the positive and making sure I appreciate what and who I have. It has already been working and this reminder will only help me with it even more.

So, what can goal setting and planning do for you? It can help you to focus, feel more achieved, give you more patience and make you happier. I hope this helps you.

Creating Successful Habits

How long does it take to create a habit? There are a few different writings out there with numbers but I think it just depends on the individual and the particular habit. I have been able to create some almost instantly by simply scheduling them and some have taken months to accomplish. Of course those that I enjoy are easier, those that I don’t require more work. I suggest not focusing on the time it takes but more on the steps to take it until its officially a habit. Breaking things down to the simplest of tasks, tasks that you can control and putting in place a way to track it are the most effective.

Along with this, focus on the positive outcomes and not the negatives. This is really important if you are trying to rid yourself of bad habits. Don’t focus on getting rid of the old habit, focus on the new habit.

If your goal is to use your cellphone less than start by creating new habits that will occupy more of this time. Maybe you could simply make it habit to keep your cell phone in your pocket and off the table during meetings, share this with your friends and family and ask them to remind you when you are not doing it and then schedule a simple 15 minute follow up with yourself each week to think back and report to yourself how you did. Another idea would be to schedule a time each week to look at your phone usage report each week and to write the results in a spread sheet so you can see and track those results. I have one client who has changed their voicemail to a nice message that discloses the time each day that they will be returning calls. With this new habit, this person doesn’t have to answer calls anymore.

If you need help creating some new habits to help you achieve your goals or just need an accountability partner to help you, share this during one of our general mastermind meetings and let our members help you.  

The Habit Of Gratitude

Several months ago, I started scheduling fifteen minutes a day of gratitude time. It’s amazing how this new little habit has helped. I have made this task a little harder by making a rule that I cannot repeat the same things for which I am grateful. I am learning now how to find things to be grateful for during the least likely times.

Last week, I was leaving an appointment, got in my truck and it wouldn’t start. Of course, my first reaction was to be upset. I briefly went through the whole “whoa is me” talk with myself, wondering why life is always testing me.. That didn’t last long, because of my new habit of daily gratification moments. I was quickly able to overcome this and focus on what I was going to do.

I went back in the restaurant, Sports Page Grill in Ashland, and ask a waitress who was the best and closest mechanic. She quickly directed me to MAC, less than two blocks away. I walked over to MACS and proceeded to meet everyone there. Instead of focusing on my truck and being in a mad rush, I paused and actually spoke to everyone that worked there. A great group of down to earth people. Doug, was nice enough to give me a ride to my truck and was able to quickly diagnose that my problem was nothing more than a dead, dead beyond jump starting it, battery. Doug and I talked and decided that the most practical option was for me to simply get a new battery and install it myself. I thanked him and said that I would find a ride to the parts store and take care of it. Doug wasn’t going to allow that to happen!! Instead, he gave me a ride to the parts store and back and then made sure I was good to go.

In less than 45 minutes I was on my way again and made some new friends in the process. Even better, when I took my old battery back to my good friend Carol at Napa Auto Parts and she was able to confirm that my old battery was still under warranty and gave me partial refund. Of course, while there, I got to catch up with Carol too.

I am grateful that my truck broke down and I was able to make some new friends and reconnect with an old one.

The Benefits Of Building Relationships

Have you heard the quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”? Guess what, no one is going to do business with you, or at least not the kind of business that you want just to make you successful, until they know, like and trust you.

Slow down, stop selling and turn off your radar. By radar I mean that bad habit of only listening for the buying signals. How can you do this? I remember a sales training course I took almost 30 years ago in which they taught us to work every time we meet someone to ask questions until we can find things we like about them. Talk less about work and more about what they do when they are not working, who is important in their lives and what their goals and dreams are. How do you feel when someone takes the time to get to know you like this?

This plays into two other conversations I have often with coaching clients. First the belief that price is the most important buying decision for their clients. Getting to know people on a deeper level like this is one way to overcome this. If you stop and reflect in all of your own purchases you will probably find several examples in which you yourself will pay more or accept less because of your relationship with the provider. The second area is the whole teaching around “closing the deal”. Oh man, when I was in automotive sales I heard every horrible sneaky twisted way you could imagine of how to close the deal. Many salespeople have earned their bad reputation. I have learned that when you really get to know the person you are talking with the sales process becomes more of a conversation. This can move you into a position of simply being a form of a partner with them and things like price become less important and the need to push them is drastically reduced.

Make it a habit. How can you do that? One way might be to write out your sales process and creates steps like first just connecting with them, second getting to know them, third meet at their place and then on the fourth of fifth contact finally allowing yourself to talk to them about what you do.  Even easier, make yourself a cheat sheet of 5 questions that have nothing to do with business that you are going to ask each new person you meet.

If you have other ways that work for you, please share them with me.

Beat Your Competition or Achieve Your Goals?


I have read and listened to a lot of advice about crushing, outwitting and generally focusing on your competition. I have also observed a lot of really successful people and have come to the conclusion that focusing on competition is generally an all-around negative exercise.

While I think it can be productive to explore what others in your market are doing or not doing, comparing yourself to them and trying to beat them is counterproductive. What are you going to beat them at your goal or their goal? Their ultimate goals are probably completely different. Are you goals a first place trophy or are you goals focused on what you want in your life?

No one can do what you do like you do it, has the same knowledge and experience that you do or has the same goals that you do. Do they? Work harder at being you, be awesome at being you and you will separate yourself from what you think is your competition. You have no competition.

Who is the greatest football player ever? I don’t even know where to start with the answer to that one. Who was the greatest offensive player and who was the defensive player? That starts generate some thoughts. Who was the greatest running quarterback, short yardage running back, open field tackler……. Get the idea? How many successful football players created their own “Best”?

What goal will you give your best focus?

Goals and Prospective

And just like that another year has gone. It’s this time every year that I find myself in amazement of how at the beginning of the year, a year seems like such a long time and how at the end of the year, a year seems like it went by in the blink of an eye.

My year was full of adventures! The biggest thing for me, I got married! I had some great vacations and good times and in business, I went through some major changes and learned a ton. It’s crazy how much my prospective, ideas and goals have changed. WOW! If you haven’t, scroll back through your calendar for the year. I mean it’s only been a year but when I look back I can’t believe all that I have done, how much was accomplished and how much I was able to change in such a short time.

So how I am going to make 2019 event better! The biggest thing for me this year is to waste less time. I have spoke a lot of about time management. It has really become a huge part of my life. I am learning that there is time that I must dedicate to work and all things related to that and there is time that I must dedicate to family, friends and myself and that is equally if not more important. I have also learned that I spend a lot of time doing neither. It would be easy to argue that this “nothing” time is the time that I need to relax, refresh, etc. but I don’t think it really accomplishes any of those. It’s just time wasted. I am learning about what things really help me relax, make me feel fulfilled and which things are just occupying my time – usually because I am not doing a good job of managing my time!

First Priority Is To Prioritize

Do you ever complete your things to do list? I know I don’t. If anything it just continues to grow.

Do you know how to decide what to do first? Well last week I wrote about breaking your goals down into tasks that you could actually control. So part of deciding on how to prioritize your tasks at hand is to look at your goals and the tasks necessary to achieve your goals.

For most people that I am working with their priority is normally to make money now. While I am sympathetic to this and understand the choices we normally make in order to help us make money now, these most often, not choices that help us long term. Of course, not paying our bills is not going to help us long term either! There is definitely some balance required.

When you are planning out your day take a moment and for each task, appointment, etc. ask yourself how this action is going to help you now or in the future and to what degree and then schedule accordingly. Don’t procrastinate or put off the things that are most important and don’t fret over the things that ended up at the bottom of the priority list, they aren’t as important. They are not priorities.

If you are stressed about time, keep trying to implement one more item a time, developing just one more habit at a time and I assure that you will eventually hit a point in which you will have more control over your calendar and your time and even though you will probably never have enough time to accomplish everything you want to, you will stress much less by understanding why.

Setting Up An Exciting 2019

I am just overwhelmed right now with all of the learning that I am doing. I am currently meeting with two different business coaches each week as well as with several different WAM members to better define what we are, who we help, how we do it and what we want to accomplish next year and the years to come.

I come out of each of these meetings more and more excited. I have a much better explanation of what WAM is. We are a mastermind organization of professionals who gather in mastermind meetings to help each other with new ideas, solutions to challenges, introductions to strategic partners and MORE. On our plate for next year is even more meetings that as of now I am calling Pop Up Meetings. These will include things like last month’s panel discussion on W2 employees vs 1099 contractors and the  “Work From Home Like A Boss” presentation with Chris Harris and my own Time Management workshops.

We are also going to introduce some subject or situation based mastermind meetings and would like your input. Member or not, who would you like to sit at the table with and what would you like to talk about? Write me at walter@wamrva.com and let me know how we could best help you.

This month’s training focus has been on Giving and I have to share how much I have enjoyed listening to all of the stories and testimonials of the amazing things that our members have done to help each other. You never know how much your ideas, input, suggestions and experience affect the people your sharing it with. Keep up the good work!

Time Is Money

Each day while I was on this last trip, as I do on any trip, I took a little time each day to check my emails, voicemails, etc. For many I was able to send a quick response letting them know when I would follow up further and some items I had to take care of. I remember last year when on the cruise ship with friends many were shocked that I bought the internet package and did the same there. The general consensus was that I did not know how to relax or was addicted to work.

Is this a sign? When I got to Iowa there was no snow on the ground and there was about 9 inches when I left. I come back to Virginia and now we have our first real of the season. Hopefully, I just need to pay more attention to when I schedule my trips!

I find that neither of those are true. Studying this has actually helped me to realize again how fortunate I am. I don’t stress about my work like so many people do. I don’t stress about life like so many do. Disconnecting myself for an entire week and coming home to overloaded inboxes and overwhelming things to do lists, that would stress me out!

That’s a lot and there is no one specific message here but I hope it helps some of you sort it out and see a different perspective for yourself or someone else.

Digging deeper I also realize again that as an entrepreneur my personal and business lives more entangled with each other than many folks in more traditional positions. If I check my Facebook am I most likely going to deal with something business related at the same time, my friends are often my clients and just about everyone I have hired is a friend.


Walter Cornett, My Success Is Your Success