Note: This article originally appeared in HAPPY Founder Emily Richett’s INC Column, Own It.

At HAPPY, we’re always learning about and testing the latest marketing strategies to help our retail and e-commerce clients attract more customers, make more sales, and land lucrative influencer partnerships.  

Don’t get us wrong- it’s not always about “trends.” We believe in solid, old-fashioned, real relationships. However, it’s a constantly evolving digital landscape and we like to be on top of the changes that can help propel our clients to the top.

We’ve recently discovered a marketing strategy that we believe will change the way small businesses do prospecting, generate leads, and create influential partnerships. The best part? It doesn’t require any complicated digital strategies or hefty ad budgets.

The strategy is called the Dream 100. I learned about it from Dana Derricks, author of The Dream 100 book, during a recent interview where I asked him about how he scaled his  businesses to beyond seven figures. 

So, what makes the Dream 100 great?

In a nutshell, the Dream 100 strategy flips the traditional model of business development on its head. Instead of targeting your potential customers directly, you target people who already have lists and communities of your customers.

For example, instead of marketing to people who enjoy yoga, you would target yoga studios or instructors that have thousands of your ideal customers. Similar to the retail model where brands leverage a store or distribution to get in front of hundreds of thousands of customers at once, Dream 100 helps you get in front of the same volume of customers, but without losing a big margin of your profits.

Here are 4 reasons why the Dream 100 beats traditional business development and marketing.

1. Generates Warm and Hot Leads

When you want to get your roof replaced, who would you rather hire- a random company you found online, or one that your neighbor recently used and raves about?

Chances are, you’re going to hire the person you already know has done a good job for your neighbor.

The Dream 100 approach is the same way. It allows you to tap into audiences full of your target customers, and you will already have more ‘know, like, and trust’ than if you paid to get in front of them with ads.

Leveraging these audiences will give you a consistent flow of steady leads that are more likely to convert because of the validation you’ve received.

2. It Saves Time

Building your own tribe and fan base can take years. And when you consider that other people have already invested the time and money to build the same audience, is it really worth trying to build one for yourself from scratch or is it easier to leverage theirs?

Dana Derricks found that instead of headhunting his ideal customers online and with social media, he could tap into the places they were already hanging out. “I didn’t want to spend my limited time looking for individual target customers,” says Derricks. “Instead, I focused on finding those influencers and leaders that already had a community and thought about how I could engage with it.”

Consider the people and businesses that serve a complementary audience to yours, and add these names to your Dream 100 list. Focus on targeting those people, instead.

3. Anyone Can Do It

The Dream 100 works for so many entrepreneurs is because it is a low-risk tactic for growing a business. It costs nothing to create your list of 100 people and to begin reaching out to them.

In his book, Derricks suggests some rather expensive ways to get the attention of your Dream 100 prospects, like sending lavish or random gifts,  but recommends starting small.

The worst-case scenario? You get no response. At least you haven’t lost any ad dollars in the process.

Instead of trying to become a famous influencer or building a significant following, you just have to become friends with the people who do.

4. The Return is High

All it takes is to land one major Dream 100 prospect, and your business can change overnight. Each partnership can build and lead to more opportunities.

Consider how much one good Dream 100 relationship could be worth to your business, and the potentially long-lasting benefits it could have on your bottom-line.

“I can go to someone in my network again later on, build off of that relationship with them and have them promote my other products and services,” says Derricks. “This enables me to get free traffic, avoid being crippled by ad spending, and to still reap the benefits of an influential endorsement.”

I even interviewed Dana Derricks on this exact subject for Entrepreneur Magazine. Click the photo below to watch.