Not getting responses from potential partners


Hi i have fired off quite a few emails to different potential partners i.e media partners and companies, but the success rate in terms of replies or dialogue is quite low, what should the next step be, what do you guys usually do.

Do you call the company?
Email Them again?


asked Apr 29 '11 at 23:28
57 points
  • Would you answer spam emails like those? What makes it compelling for them to partner with you. – Tim J 13 years ago
  • Thanks Tim, what approach would you take? – Pmillio 13 years ago
  • You need to figure that out yourself. A lot depends on the people you are trying to reach. And make sure you target a person. If you don't know the name of a person, find out who at the "partner" company is appropriate. Go find out. Don't waste your time or other people's time. You make it sound like you just sent a blanket email to anyone you could find. You have to know what will be interesting to the, Go to industry events, etc. Don't make the first contact you have with them be "hey, do me a favor" email. – Tim J 13 years ago
  • Do they consider you a "potential partner"? What can and do you offer them? – Kenneth Vogt 13 years ago

6 Answers


How many spam emails do you get every day? I'll bet most of your emails never even get to the person you are looking for- they end up in their spam filter.

I'm not sure what you mean by "potential partners", but at the very least you need to call them. And prepare and reherse your pitch before you get on the phone.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 01:18
Gary E
12,510 points
  • Hi thanks for responding, a problem i get is when calling i sometimes do not get past the "Gatekeeper". – Pmillio 13 years ago
  • you should try to establish a relationship with those "Gatekeepers" as you call them. – Tim J 13 years ago


Make them come to you. That means building/doing something that they find interesting or that makes them curious. You will have far more success if you can get them to look for you.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 01:52
Tim J
8,346 points
  • Great thats what i will do. – Pmillio 13 years ago


If they do not respond, take that as a no. Just keep running your business independently of their response.

If you really want them to respond, you can try to see if you can get an introduction. An introduction will increase the chance of response by a huge factor.

But really, if it isn't a totally crucial connection, I'd just focus on growing your business. If they see you growing and doing well, they will come around and reach out to you at some point.

Patience and the ability to be patient, is often very helpful in these matters.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 03:48
1,821 points


As mentioned above, cold calls and unsolicited emails rarely work, particularly with business development deals like this. Instead, find other ways to speak to these companies. I don't have much context about your business here, but these are some of the ways you can get in touch with the right people:

  • Seek them out at trade shows
  • Look for their outbound events and try to meet them there
  • Try your personal network and see if anyone can make an introduction
  • Ask your investors or co-founders to do the same

Once you get a real conversation going with someone ask if he or she is the right person to talk to. If not, ask for an introduction to someone who handles their partnerships- once you're in the door, getting passed over to the right person usually isn't too hard.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 05:54
413 points


In the development of partnerships -- you need to conceptualize it as a B2B sales campaign. As such you need to have a very focused and clean sale.

The B2B sale on partners has two compoents:
1. The sale of the business
2. The sale of the business opportunity.

Your communications and supporting collateral must effectively address both sales propositions in a one-two punch.

First a review of the key points on a B2B sale:

Identify your targets : -- not just by group, but by name. Not just the name of the company-- the name of there decision maker. Not just the decision maker but the people that need to give you access to the decision maker.

Know your targets : Who they are? What organizations and groups are they part of? Where did they go to school? What common interests do you have? What people in common do you know? How are they connected to your network? What church do they attend? Are they a major political donor? Is there a non-profit they care about?

Who knows them? --How will you connect with them? Who will give you the referral? Who do they share their "pain points" with? How will you end up accross the table referred by a trusted advisor?

Be prepared to pay -- There are people who charge for access, charge for the research, charge to tell you just when to call son-in-so and say that so-in-so called. Don't write these people off. Your market is about who knows who-- and if you don't -- well, you better be willing to pay the person who does.

Customize your message -- Know why your product will make sense for this company. Do research. Personalize your presentation. Convert every general to a specific. I don't want to know how much it could save -- tell me how much it will save ME. You better know what the critical pain is of the buyer and how you are resolving it. If your not -- don't waste their time or yours.

Practice, Practice, Practice -- Your voice mail message is a pitch. You phone convversation is a pitch. Your "coffee" will be a pitch. Every single word should be written. Crafted. This poetry not prose. (Obviously my answers on here would no be a good guide) Practice deliveri in front of mirror. On video camera. Over the phone to a friend. here on a chat board. To a stranger in the elevator. Polish it. Improve it.

Assume the close -- Have the contract, Have the deal, have the offer, . . . . be ready when they are no matter what. (I showed up to a closing meeting a week ago Monday with the contract. they agreed. I pulled it out. And then . . . no pen. I had to go and borrow one from the server. Doh.)

Current Campaign Now lets go to the very specifics of your current "campaign". Lets call it "Cold Mailing" Here are proposed steps after the email:

  1. Send email
  2. Call to confirm receipt of email and ask for meeting
  3. Be prepared to send email again.
  4. Call to confirm receipt of email and ask for meeting
  5. Be prepared to send additional information
  6. Call to confirm email and ask for meeting
Rinse-Lather-Repeat. Additional Campaigns While you are washing your hair of that campaign try some others. Here are some that you might want to consider:

Network Campaign : Find a event that your target will attend. Plan to attend. Plan to position yourself accross from them. get into conversation. Trade business cards. Follow up with an personalized email that you would like to: Continue the conversation we started at the about how could add value to their clients by .

Referral Campaign : Find someone who knows your target well. Meet with them. Explain. Ask for help. Know specifically what you need. Have a sample referral note all ready drafted. Provide it. Have the referrer send a mutual introduction email. You follow-up with an email -- and a phone call.

Air-cover campaign : Write a white paper around a case study. Distribute it through appropriate business channels. Send advanced notices of it to the prospective partners requesting their personal feedback. Blog in support of its distribution. Host a webinar in discussion of the white paper's findings. Make sure that all of the prospective partners receive personalized invitations to the webinar.

Mix these three campaigns together for the same target group. You will get your partners.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 07:19
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points


Rarely does a "cold call" approach to soliciting partners/investors bear fruit. You need to network and form relationships with people that work for or know other people within the companies with which you want to do business. Most business gets done by referrals/word of mouth.

Bottom line: you are the gatekeeper. Start opening gates by winning new friends/contacts.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 04:37
212 points

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