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Linker Tools

Linkers are people or organizations who can link your program to its customers. To do this, the linker must have some vested interest. This means you have to be adept at creating value for the linker - this is normally done by thinking "win / win" and helping them with some aspect of their business. Help them and they will help you. Get creative and put some energy into these approaches: they work!

Bank Postcard Series - Banks are super linkers. Nothing replaces great "face to face" meetings with the banks, but a postcard series can build some frequency in the communications to keep your oganization front and center. Click here to view examples and download PhotoShop files to customize for your center.

Annual Bank Letter - Sending an "annual update" letter to your banks is a super idea. Its fast, its easy, and it says a lot about your organization, how the banks can help you achieve your goals, and provides a reminder about your organization. WORD FILE.

Bank Presentations - Face to face presentations with your banks (either individually or as a group) is a big key. Here is a handout I used to tell banks "what's in it for them" to working with my SBDC. WORD FILE

Ideal Client Profile - When talking with linkers, be specific about the kinds of clients you are seeking. Then tell them why. I always explained that we worked with lots of different types of entreprneurs, but I was specifically looking for certain types of clients. Your "ideal client profile" may be VERY DIFFERENT than this file; however, you want to specify then communicate the kind of clients you seek. If linkers do not know who you seek, it is less likely they will connect you with them! WORD FILE

Chamber Retention Specialist - This one was a goldmine for me! Chambers often have an individual who calls on companies in the community to ensure the Chamer and the community is meeting their needs and that the business plans to stick around. Often many of these companies are small businesses in the community. Explained properly the SBDC can be a wonderful resource the retention specialist can tell the business about. I used this handout for "discussion points" with that person. WORD FILE

New Chamber Member Letter - A great way to introduce Chamber members to your service is through new members. Have your Chamber provide a list of their new members on a monthly basis and send them a letter reinforcing their choice to become a chamber member, welcome them to the chamber, and let them know about the services of the SBDC. This makes the Chamber look GREAT and is a super way to contact new client prospects. WORD FILE

Handout for Civic Presentation - Doing presentations for civic groups - like Rotary or Optimists - is a great way to get the word around your community. Often these individuals are outgoing, involved, and connected. This is a handout you can modify to use in such presentations. WORD FILE




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No advertising budget?

That's OK. But it doesnt mean you can't / don't have a marketing strategy. When you have something great to offer, but dont have the dollars to approach a broad based market, one of the best strategies to employ is linking relationships. Cultivate these partnerships to accomplish your marketing goals. It doesnt take money -- it takes creativity and execution!

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