I'm on my way back from Malaysia with a stop over in Thailand where I learned some interesting approaches to marketing and joint venture marketing from a private car operator that I hired. It was interesting to watch their approach. They told me that they wanted to take me to see The Golden Buddha so I said sure, I get there and the entry fee is about .75 cents which is cool. They then ask me if I want to go see The Reclining Buddha next or the massage/sex tour. I tell them in no uncertain terms that I'm not interested in the massage/sex tour. They say ok and we go to The Reclining Buddha, the entry fee is about $2.00, again no problem. They are incredibly hurried and want me to get through the temple quickly but I wanted to take pictures and check out the grounds. My driver and translator followed me and asked if I wanted to go to the river trip next or the massage/sex tour. Again I said no massage/sex tour but was game for the river trip.
We get to the river trip and they hit me for $30 to get on the boat plus a tip plus a donation to a charity so I'm in for about $50, at that point I said no, I'd do something different. So, they ask again about the massage/sex tour and I turn them down yet again. So they ask if I want to go on a private tour of another temple which I thought would be cool but this time I asked, what is the price, they said $150. I passed. So, they took me shopping at three different places, one with Thai handicrafts, one with Gold and Silver jewelry and one that sold custom tailored clothing. And yes, they asked if I wanted to go to the massage/sex tour again. I passed.
But, the tailor was very interested in getting me to buy clothes when he found out that I bought all kinds of custom clothing so he was willing to tell me what he paid the driver to bring me here (this after I paid the driver $120 for the day). He told me that he paid them 20% of whatever he earned on their clients. I asked him how many people he did this with and he said about 15 tour companies. Now, the tailor's place was packed with Americans and Brits. There were at least 5 being fitted actively and 30 more in talks with salespeople. I negotiated hard and got a high end suit made with super 180 fabric for $199 (Same suit in the U.S. would cost around $2500 minimum). And, he also had a package deal that would get me 4 shirts, two suits and a blazer for $600.00. So on $600 he gives up $120 so the driver effectively doubles his fee on me if I buy anything. Then the tailor asked "Have they tried to get you to do the massage/sex tour yet?" I said yep and I'm not going. He laughed and said that they get half of the fee for that tour which ranges from $150 - $500.
I've been to Bangkok several times so at that point I took control of the rest of my day and told them specifically where I wanted to go and they took me but kept pushing other things I should see that they made money on. I finished my day with a Thai curry that was so hot it nearly blinded me . . . and I was thrilled!
There is a marketing moral to this story. The question you have to ask is what joint ventures and relationships are you leveraging in your business right now that are incrementally increasing the value of every transaction with your customer?