Host-parasite relationships are a powerful way for you to grow your business. You may recall the term ‘host-parasite’ from your high school science or biology classes. It refers to a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship between 2 entities. For instance, a protozoa living in a termite that enables it to digest the wood it consumes, or mistletoe growing on a host tree.

Host-parasite relationships also exist in business. In business, a host-parasite relationship occurs when two or more businesses willingly enter a joint venture to their mutual gain. In most instances, one business will contribute to the wellbeing of the host; and the host will provide a reward in return to the parasite. The resultant benefits are greater than one business could capitalise on alone.

The key to an effective host-benefit relationship is exploiting an exhausted or passive asset in your, or the other parties, business.

An effective host-parasite relationship provides the parasite with a highly targeted prospect group, leveraging off the established rapport with the host; and provides the host with a means to re-sell to a passive asset base.

Put yourself in this scenario… you have a current prospect or customer list that you have fully exploited for all it’s worth. You’ve established excellent rapport and trust, yet have nothing further to sell or offer them. What’s your next step?


Consider this scenario… you’ve spent months developing a niche leading product. You’ve commercialised it as well as you can amongst your clients and prospects. What’s your next step?

In most instances, the host in a host-parasite relationship is the entity that owns or controls the distribution channel that the parasite wishes to exploit.

You’ve no doubt received a statement or bill in the mail from an airline, credit card company, accommodation group, or bank with inserts offering another business’ products or services. This is an excellent example of a host-parasite relationship.

The Power of Host-Parasite Relationships

Host-parasite relationships are a highly leveraged way to grow your business. They are your best means to commercialise a dormant asset; and open up a whole new qualified prospect channel.

Commercialising your dormant assets

Despite how well you optimise your sales processes and sales funnel, you are going to have clients that won’t buy more of your products; and prospects that despite your best efforts will not purchase off you (at this point in time, with your specific offer).

In both instances, these groups have ALREADY cost you a significant investment. If you don’t commercialise that investment it’ll remain a lost expense to you.

Just say you have 300 dormant prospects and inactive clients on your list. Each of them have not purchased at all, or have not purchased for months. They each have valuable, qualified attributes – geographic proximity, niche interests, socio-economic profile, etc. These attributes make them a valuable commodity. And significantly, because of the trust and rapport you’ve build over months of added-value education-based communication, you are in a position of authority and influence.

Let’s say you become aware of a high ticket product of interest to your list (for instance, a Bootcamp) offered by someone else. You may approach this person (the host) with an offer to promote their product to your list in exchange for a commission (you may also want other things such as re-distribution rights of DVD/ CD’s etc).

The host, knowing his cost of acquisition for clients is $500 per person, is willing to pay you this as a commission. If you convert just 10% of your list into this product, you make $15,000.00 in commission.

Leveraging other people’s assets

Imagine you’ve developed an excellent product in your niche. You have a client and prospect list of 300. You commercialise your product to your list as best you can, converting 25% over 6-months, resulting in 75 clients.

But you now realise that getting new clients is difficult and expensive.

If you utilise the host-parasite relationship concept, you can approach different groups already dealing with your profile of client. It may be another type of business or membership association.

Let’s say your product is in the health and fitness niche. You can approach all the gyms, physiotherapists, health centres, sporting associations in your area with a host-parasite offer. In this way you may access thousands of pre-qualified prospects.

For instance, a gym group may agree to promote your product to its 10,000 members, resulting in 200 sales.

Have you put any thoughts into how you can develop host-parasite relationships to benefit your business?