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Affiliate Programs for Services

Rebecca Morgan

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Do you have an affiliate program that pays commissions to colleagues for sales of your services, not just products? How do you protect your colleagues so they won't worry you'll sell them your other services if they offer similar programs? Please email me your text that explains the commission structure, payment schedule, terms and conditions.

-- Cantu

While I have no Affiliate program myself, I see no need for such a clause at all. Trying to put myself in the shoes of a potential affiliate, it seems this might be faulty logic -- it starts with several unproven assumptions:

  • That in any given case the choice for such services would be only will be between you, the affiliate, and the affiliate program owner (APO) which is not necessarily true. It could be between you, the APO, and others -- so if either you or the APO, here is a shot to get paid for one of TWO outcomes.
  • That, if it were only a choice between you and the APO, client might have chosen you automatically against the APO which is not necessarily true. They might have known about your abilities and about APO's abilities and given to him/her any way. So here is a shot to get paid even though the client didn't know you could do the job and never even offered it to you.
  • That the client even knows you offer such a service. However the client, may in some cases have not known you offer such a service and wouldn't have offered it to you. And still you get paid.

If I don't have an affiliate program arrangement with an APO, then I get nothing. If it is though my marketing then I get a piece.

If my clients/network contacts, want me, great. If they don't, I won't begrudge the project going to someone I know and respect enough to be an affiliate of and who will pay me for it.

Cantu says let 'er rip and let the chips fall where they may.

-- Dan Janal

We pay a 10 percent commission on first time sales of our service ($495/year = $49.50; $150/3 month trial - $15).

Since most people call me to order, I always ask people where they heard about my service so I can track marketing and pay commissions properly. Only a handful of people will buy a service that costs $495 online without a single question! (The few that have were highly recommended by existing clients and bought the service solely on their recommendations.)

I pay once a month, at the end of the month. This allows me to "batch" the activity so it takes less time. However, I always let the referrer know when I sign up a new client. This has a side benefit: they get a message saying they made money, then they get a check with the money! So they get two strokes for their kind words!

One problem I have to consider is what happens when a new client was referred by two people. Do I split the commission or pay out two full commissions?

One other condition: no spamming to promote the service. That activity will result in automatic termination of affiliate status. Acceptable promotions include mentions in their ezines and newsletters, on their web sites, in their speeches and handouts and in private e-mail messages to core colleagues (not spam).

-- Mitchell Gooze

We pay 10-20% referral fees forever. That is, we pay 10% if we are given a lead that turns into a deal. We pay 20% if we are handed a deal that is basically closed. We pay 15% if the referal source needs to help us close it. We pay the fee on all business we get from that account forever. Referral fees are the smartest money we ever pay and most people look at it as an expense they would like to eliminate. Paying forever is so unusual that people don't forget us.

The conflict problem exists and is the reason why most "lead networking" doesn't work well. "Lets network for leads" usually means "Can you give me some?"

-- Paul Conklin

First, with regard to protection and selling of similar offerings. While we attempt to enter into agreements with those who do not have similar offerings, that is not always possible. Any agreement of this type must be entered into with a certain amount of trust and a high degree of integrity. We try to avoid the use of formal agreements and lawyers, so we base our efforts moving forward with behavior in the past, and expect others will do the same. Profitable relationships are the result of working together with trust and integrity.

We offer 50% commissions on first time sales, 20% on subsequent sales, 10% for custom designed private sessions. These are for new clients. We set minimum sales prices below our published rates, allowing our partners flexibility in pricing our services. We do have a small list of "house accounts," and these vary by region. We pay commissions the same day we receive a check from the client.

We offer the ability for affiliates to offer our services in their geographic areas in an open-enrollment setting, providing a 10% commission based on a minimum number of participants.

Terms of agreements are based on mutually agreed-upon time frames, with escape clauses based on performance. We seek those interested in "changing the course of history" for their clients. Certainly they should have an account base of some kind, some sales experience, credibility in the marketplace, and present an image consistent with our own. We actually do not expect our affiliates to "close" business on their own, and provide support to the best of our ability, which may include promotional materials, marketing support, and in person sales calls with the client if so desired (based on some specific qualifying factors).

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions