The Lounge Q+A: Natasha O'Banion, Process Mastery Coach Pro

Process Mastery Coach, Automated CEO

Natasha O'Banion 1.8k
Anyone that knows me, I'm screaming PocketSuite to the world because of what you guys have done for my lifestyle.
Natasha O'Banion

Even with you and me, I am a client of yours. I’m on the app. I love it. I’m a raving fan.

Natasha O'Banion
Natasha O'Banion
PocketSuite Process Mastery Coach Pro

The interview

Process Mastery Coach and founder/CEO of Automated CEO Natasha O’Banion is back in The Lounge this week with CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro. Natasha is talking partnerships – finding them, creating them, developing them. Plus, she shares the importance of providing value to your partners and making it mutual.

Oh, good day.

Good day. I’m in the DC area, so it’s a little bit gray today. So you were just a breath of fresh air, sunshine.

I miss home so much. I tried to straighten my hair today, and my DC mind was like, ” Oh, you straighten your hair today,” and my Houston mind was like, “No, you shouldn’t.”

Humidity, right?

You got to love it.

I was on a plane once, and I was moving, going into a tropical country and my hair just started rising after straightening. By the end of the trip, it was like okay-

Such a waste.

But it’s all right. Natasha, you have dropped so much wisdom. Our first automation talk was about why you should automate; how you automate; how you can grow your business and grow your clients around automation. Last week, our talk was about growing your team, onboarding folks, and giving you everything you want to achieve your vision with a team of folks who share that. So today, we’re talking partnerships. You have launched an advocate of every business, taking advantage of partnerships because there’s a win-win in it for the people you work with. And it’s a great way to grow your business. So can you talk a little bit about your philosophy around partnerships? Then we’ll jump into some of the tactics.

Oh yeah. Well, my philosophy is always “better together.” Better together is my jam. Being in business thus far, I will never do something alone again. Knowing what I know now, I’m not going into anything solo ever again. So I would tell everybody to change their mindset on being the sole business owner because that is the quickest way to stay in slow growth. We all hate jumping into a new idea, and it doesn’t get off the ground. So I love partnering in all areas of business because it’s called leverage. You leverage each other’s strengths, you leverage each other’s minds, each other’s visions, each other’s resources, and it just helps you make a grander impact all over. When I started my pet care business, the first partnerships I leveraged were luxury apartment buildings.

I already lived in them. I already knew what we wanted inside. I already knew that we were jealous that we didn’t have a yard. And we were like, “Okay, well, we’re still downtown, but how can we make this friendly for our dogs?”. And I knew exactly how I could provide value. So that’s the thing when you want a partner. It’s like, “Well, what can you provide to the team and what can they provide to the team?”. It has to be an equal exchange in some way and done in a timely manner. But yeah, that was my first partnership I leveraged. When you want to hire, we talked about last week, leveraging your team, letting them know, “Hey, where do you see the company going? Where do you see yourself bringing value here?”. And it’s always fun to hear how they envision your business.

That’s the best because you know what happens at the water cooler; everyone has their water cooler chat. So I make a culture where we bring the water cooler chat right to the CEO. So I’m like, “Hey, how did you imagine this going? What do you think we should do?” and they give some grand ideas when you let people talk. Most of our highlights have been either from the client’s perspective or our team’s perspective. So partnerships all over again in business.

So we have people who are fitness trainers that are in this live right now. We have dog walkers on this live. We have cleaning companies. So partnerships mean different things when you’re in different industries. Can you define what a partner is? Is it an individual? Is it an institution? What kind of characteristics? And then for those industries, let’s just start with dog walking, cleaning, fitness. Examples of what great partners might look like.

It could be organizations or individuals. So it’s two entities joining forces. Entity one, entity two, joining forces. I actually just joined into a partnership with a dog trainer. So I’ll just go down the dog avenue first. We are going to partner. I’m all about urban lifestyle, social mom, adapting to day-to-day life. And she’s all about redeeming the dog. So we were like, “Cool, I want to prevent it, and you want to fix it, let’s partner.” So we partnered together to launch our online dog training course, which we’re super excited for. We just rolled out contracts, agreements, right? I’m just giving you guys some ideas of what this looks like. And we have our twelve modules that we wrote down into six, where she’s going to handle six and I’m going to handle six, but our clients will get a little bit of everything.

They’re going to get the best of both worlds. With cleaning in particular, I love partnering with cleaning companies. They’re my favorite because I’m already in the house. I’m already in the house with a dog nine times out of ten, the cleaning company would always have the key, and I’m like, “I need to get the dog.” They’re in there with the vacuum cleaner loud, not hearing anything. Anytime I would partner with cleaners, or they would talk to me, I’d say, “Listen, I’m already going into these homes. I can pitch to the client about getting a cleaning service”. I love being the who’s who and the what’s what person. I love being the PR of my client. It’s like, “You need a cleaner? I got a girl. You need a trainer? I know a guy.”

I love being that person. So a lot of the cleaners and I would partner. They would do a lot of events. Anytime I was in a home, I pitched them. If they were in a home, they would pitch me. If they were in a building, we would pitch each other. So that was a great relationship. Same thing with trainers. I feel like we all have the same avatar. If you really think about people who need on-demand services. I think we target the same exact person.

Let me ask you one question. Do you have to wait for your client to say they’re looking for a trainer? How do you get in there to pitch some of the folks you’re partnering with proactively?

Yeah. We all do a meet and greet and initial consultation. So a lot of my clients are fresh to the city. We’ll have a minor chit-chat with them. “Hey, what’s going on? Where have you been? What has your dog been used to?” They’ll usually say, “Oh, we’re coming from a small town now to a major city.” Or “We just moved here, and we’re trying to feel out the territory, get our dog acclimated.” Usually, it happens naturally. I’ll just throw in, “Hey, if you ever need anything, let us know. We will be a resource for you because we know what’s going on in the town.” So for cleaning, it comes naturally. Usually, they compliment us on how fit we are. They’ll ask, “How do you guys stay so fit?” I’m like, “well, we walk like 15 miles a day.” Walking is the best exercise because you keep all your muscles, so we usually lean into it.

Most of my business is on automation. We end up following up with them on the phone. It’s a casual chit-chat with them. I follow a lot of my clients are on Instagram. I just found out one was an esthetician. I was looking for a face routine because I am like an Oil of Olay girl and just keep it going. She got an award, and I was like, “Oh my God, Ash, I didn’t even know you did this kind of work. I need help.” In our pre-qualification paperwork, we actually ask our clients for their Facebook or Instagram pages. So we tag them in our work, and then we can see what they’re working on.

Nice. So I said this before, but it seems to apply for partners, as well. It’s a little bit like dating. How do you decide to partner with someone, and how do you approach a partnership?

That’s a really good question because it is literally dating, and if you don’t shoot your shot, you’re not going to get it. So you’ve got to shoot your shot. I usually will think about people I want to work with. For me, I always think about what can I give them? Like I said before, what do I have that I can offer them that would be valuable to them. With my trainer, we found each other on social media. We followed each other. We engaged, and she loved my messaging, what I was talking about, and I loved her messaging. Then I just reached out to her.

I was like, “Hey, girl. You were on my mind. I think we could do something together. I don’t know what it is necessarily, but I think we should get on the phone and see.” Both of us got on the phone with no real agenda. I said, “Tell me your vision. What is it you’re working on? What do you see yourself doing this year?” So again, long story short, she started talking about her vision. I started talking about mine and we married. Think about what value you can provide to somebody else. Because if you come into everything with a serving mentality, then you’re always going to win, no matter what. Even if you’re like, “Oh, that wasn’t that profitable,” but you served.

Even with you and me, I am a client of yours. I’m on the app. I love it. I’m a raving fan. Anyone that knows me, I’m screaming PocketSuite to the world because of what you guys have done for my lifestyle. I like to give people coaching tips. So why not talk about the app that I love and give coaching tips to people who can fix their business? It’s a win-win.

Good point. In some ways, your future partner should know about you even before you reach out to them because you’ve already been sending great referrals to them. That is, in many ways, much of what we did together before we talked. We thought, “Wow, you’re sending so many folks our way. How do we pay it forward with you? You’re so brilliant. How do we share you with the world?” Thus, these Live Automation Talks. So people are sitting at their desks, they’re on their walks, they’re outside. They’re thinking, what are the next few things I should do to get some of these partners in the mix and see what value I can add for them.

Keep your eyes out. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you’re thinking, “I’m in a one-way lane, and I’m going to run the business by myself,” you stay in that tunnel vision. Now that we’re having these conversations about partnering and how you can propel your business forward by grabbing somebody to come on board, start paying attention to the people who are right next to you. They’re hanging out on the sides. If you’re going through your feed, don’t go for funny TikTok stuff anymore. Go through your feed for people who you’ve been following for a while, and you really like their stuff. I just joined another Instagram course. As you guys know, I do not like social media. It is the death of me.

I do not like it, but I can’t not do it. I found this guy I’ve been following on TikTok, and he just did an Instagram course. I reached out to him, and I said, “Oh my God, I love your content. It’s so great. Show me where I can move forward with this.” He’s like, “You know what? I’m going to be running a program next week. You should jump in.” I was like, “I’ll be there.” Get in the rooms with people, and you never know where those relationships will land. But first, people need to see you and set the intention. I know we talk about manifesting a lot. Set your intent on what it is you want to do and just talk.

The thing about social media that I’m coming to love is that I thought it was so impersonal—just checking in via digital. But you have to treat social media the same way you would treat your in-person relationships. When I come into your DM, it’s like, “Hey, what’s going on in your life today?”

I give out free coaching calls all the time. I do it at least twice a year. I say, “Hey, get on the phone with me. Let’s chit-chat. See where you are, see what’s going on.” Open the net for people to come in. Make it a welcoming space. Just like dating, someone can think, “Maybe that girl’s not approachable. Maybe I don’t want to talk to her.” But if you make it friendly and warm and say, “We’re not partners yet, but the door is always open if anything pops on your mind.” So people are not afraid to talk to you or to open it up.

I love that. I’m going to replay some of the things you’ve shared. Number one, make a list of the folks already in your orbit. Existing clients who are doing stuff that you might be able to support and they might be able to support you. People in the homes of those you’re serving or working with. who don’t have to reach very far to be helpful. Nor do you. People who are in your neighborhood, in your media catchment area, you guys have a common context. You can be helpful to them. It’s in your self-interest and theirs. So make a list.

Then the second thing is, start paying it forward immediately. Start sending referrals, talking those folks up, being a visible advocate. It’s a great way to send the sound waves to them that something bigger is coming and then reach out directly. Use social media. Have those personal conversations with them. Learn more about their vision, share yours, and see where the stars align.

You are the best note-taker ever. I need you in every conference room with me. The thing about collaboration is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If somebody’s already doing something they’re mastering in their lane, just partner, right? I like to partner with accountants. This will be great information to tell my audience. I don’t have to go out and learn all this stuff about accounting and finance to give it to my audience. All the things you want to bring to your people, find the person who can provide that, and just be the host. How many times have you come to someone’s house and they were hosting a quick gathering, and you met all these people? You’re the network. You’re the plug. You happen to be there and benefit because you’re like, “All these friends get to meet each other. And they have all these connections.” You bring the people together, and they form naturally.

Two things to know for those who are skeptical about the value of partnerships. Think about how long you spend trying to get one client. When you land a partner, that’s someone who can send you many clients over the years, right? This is an investment that you’re making in future clients that will come to you through that source. Don’t take that for granted. The industry that does this best is real estate. How many of you have talked to a real estate agent or inspector? And they always have a guy, right?

Always have a guy.

They’re so great at that. What if you could be that great and create this crew, right? Where you’re able to refer that crew. Of course, they’re referring you. Think of that as an aspiration for something you can work on for your business.

The fastest way to grow is to share audiences. I have a partnership with a podcast. Mind you, I don’t want to do editing. I don’t want to do the graphics. I don’t want to do any of that stuff. I just want to talk. I’m the guest on Monday. So I get to be on their podcast. I get to look at their audience, and they get a coach. They’re the same way. They’re like, “I don’t want to be an expert. I just want to bring the people.” So we got to partner, and now I don’t have to be a podcast host. I can just pop in. There are so many ways to leverage partnerships, but it’s always better to grow together. If you are doing this by yourself right now in any capacity, find somebody. Even when I was dog walking in the field, I always found out who were my local walkers right next door.

Because if we had a jam or if anything happened, I could call them. If I’m too busy and they’re slow, they call me. You can compare notes and partner even with your so-called competitors. I don’t believe in competitors at all. Those are my friends. Let’s make this industry better. So partner with those folks to get even more tips. They’ll talk to you if they’re about their business and they know that they don’t believe in competition either. There are so many things that can bring the community together.

Natasha is an absolute expert at building a funnel. If any of you are saying, “Gosh, I want to get more bookings. I want to fill my calendar,” this is how she does it. She creates these one-to-many relationships that fill your calendar and create overflow. So you have no choice, but to hire people. To help you move your business forward.

You just better be ready when the business comes.

Reach out, DM Natasha. I’m sure she’ll do a session with you to give you the nuts and bolts, and then you can go deeper. Let’s talk dollars and cents. How do you reward partners? How do you compensate them? How do you ensure you’re not overcompensating?

Every partnership doesn’t have to be a cash transaction. You and I don’t pay each other, but we always benefit. So don’t always think of it as dollars. It never has to be like, “How much is this going to cost me to show up?” I don’t do any of my relationships that way. I naturally make money on my program. So make sure you have the personal offers internally. When you do a live or grab a partnership, your stuff is ready. I don’t personally like my affiliates to talk pricing. I got that on my own. Just make sure your stuff is ready when they go in.

If you are a course creator or membership, they always take 50%. For affiliate marketing, most affiliates get 50% of whatever the product is. When I went into apartments, I would give them a $50 gift card every now and then say, “I just got a referral from you guys. Thank you so much. Here’s a $50 gift card,” but it was always a surprise. I never said, “If you give me referrals, I’ll give you $50 each.” It was not like that. I just came in with my gift cards and said, “I appreciate you screaming our praises.” It was a gift versus an obligation, and that makes it more organic and natural.

The partnership I’m doing with the dog trainer is going to be fifty-fifty everything. She and I will split profit and loss fifty-fifty, we’ll run our taxes fifty-fifty, and we’ll take profits fifty-fifty. So it depends. But if you’re doing real estate agents, then it’s that piggyback game. So put good karma out. It’ll always come back around.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out. When a partnership isn’t working out, like, “Yikes, I put my name up there for this person, and they did not perform.” My clients look at me like, “I trusted you as a referral partner.” How do you handle it when you go to bat for someone, and they don’t deliver, and there’s some reputational risk? What do you do? How do you handle it?

If it’s a contracting partnership, we already have in our terms that if their reviews aren’t performing, we would go back and reevaluate their contract. I could pull out at any point. You have to write that language into your contracts if it’s a contract relationship. If I’m referring naturally, it’s never like I’m sealing the deal for you because we’re all individual businesses. We’re going to speak for ourselves. We’re going to represent ourselves. I allow you to pitch and represent on your own. I say, “I’ve been using PocketSuite forever. It’s worked great for me. There are no issues. You should try it.” They weren’t looking at me like I signed them up personally.

But if I do sign you up personally, like with my signature course, you will get the benefit because I’m going to walk you through it. But just recommend it freely. You do this stuff for free every day. How many times do you recommend makeup to your girlfriends or which products you’re using?

Right. Final question for you, Natasha. What’s the best partner experience you’ve had? So that people can end on a positive note and think, “What if I could create a partnership like that?”

My best partnerships are my luxury apartments. I am utilizing those partners. I just started to do Airbnb now. I’ve been using these partners over and over and over. Now I’m working out my corporate leases with clients who want to travel from state to state and need a place to stay. So I’m going to be contracting with them, renting out on Airbnb. Those are the relationships that I like to diversify my income personally. That has been the best because these people are the customer base. They understand how the affluent buy. That’s where I am as people who want that rollout experience. So I always say those are my best partners. They’ve always been.

If you don’t write a book soon, we’re going to have a real problem.

I know.

Folks who are listening in, partnering is the way to grow your business. That’s the way to realize your vision. If you don’t have the sort of clarity of vision on what to do next, reach out to Natasha. She’ll take you through it. Honestly, if you just set a goal, like one or two partners a month, it’s going to transform your business. When you think with that attitude, partners will start coming to you because they’ll hear about you through other folks.

You’ve got to partner. Make it make sense; make the relationship mutual. I have some people who will want to partner just to pick my brain. No, you’re going to have to pay for that. Just be genuine in what you’re doing, and you will always have those partners for years and years to come.

Awesome. Thanks for joining Automation Talk with Natasha O’Banion. Check us out here next Wednesday. Natasha, thanks so much.

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