Blog Jam Session Part III: Make Yourself Useful

In case you're just joining the jam sesh, here's where Ciara and I answered how to meet new business prospects and here's where we talked about what to do when you've got no money.

This week:

What are some low-cost or low-effort things you can build into a deal, especially when it seems like you don’t have anything to offer in return?


Connections are always your most valuable asset. A single introduction could lead to an amazing opportunity. Everyone has connections – put yourself in your partner’s shoes and think through your contacts: who might be able to help them move forward? And of course, the best thing is to ASK: what do they need most?

Social media shout outs are always good trades that are easy to do and track. Comps to an event. Free baby-sitting. Just kidding. Well, kind of… I’ve done that before. Don’t tell anyone.


Deal sweeteners will always be case-specific but there are a couple things to keep in mind as you try to think through what might work.

Remember the cereal aisle. Grocery stores put a lot of time and thought into how they arrange their shelves. For instance, kid-friendly products are at kid-eye level which makes them more likely to be picked up and bought. The lesson is that a partner’s performance can be strongly influenced by decisions entirely within your discretion and control. Offering the partner some influence over those important decisions is a truly powerful deal sweetener.

Concierge service. Everybody likes to be treated like a VIP so look for ways to treat the partner or the business opportunities they send your way in a special way. This could range from high-touch on-boarding to a higher level of customer support to early access to new features.