In part one of this series, I explained what a UBR was. Today, I’ll continue with part two: how to build UBRs and how focusing on them can help your business.
Start a Tradition
One great way of building UBRs with your referral sources is by implementing any sales or marketing strategy in a way that will be 100% unique. Let’s take a very simple example to demonstrate my point. Entertaining clients, prospects, and referral sources is a staple strategy for most professionals–breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, ballgames, concerts, etc. Everyone enjoys spending time together and these occasions are a great opportunity to strengthen a relationship. But make your entertainment endeavors unique: Start a tradition.
For example, instead of just taking your referral source to a baseball game, take him to the season opener–every year! That “event” can become a tradition for you and that person. Year after year your referral source will look forward to that tradition, which will endear you to him in a truly unique way. Chances are that none of your competitors have put the time or effort into creating such a yearly tradition with him, and he will appreciate that. He will reward you with goodwill and more referrals. By the way, arranging for a baseball to be signed by one of his favorite players isn’t a bad touch!
Your tradition need not be an annual one. It could be monthly. As one example, you might offer to break bread with your referral source over dinner once a month or quarterly, perhaps at his favorite restaurant. If your referral source is not in the same city as you, then your tradition could involve following a particular news item, statistic, sports team, musical artist, etc. online and emailing each other about the chosen topic from time to time. You might also discover a mutual interest in a particular author, and agree to read new books by that author as they come out, and then discuss them afterwards. The possibilities are endless, provided you put some thought into the proposed tradition, and commit to executing it on a periodic basis. Traditions are a great way to both kick-off a new relationship and deepen it over time.
Infusing Personality into the Relationship
Another effective way of building a UBR is by infusing your unique personality and/or your referral source’s unique personality into the relationship. Doing so will result in a unique and powerful relationship, one which is impossible for your competitors to replicate, and one which will yield the dividends of a powerful emotional bond. As you think through ways to infuse personality into your relationships, keep the following two principles in mind. They can be used as a guide to brainstorming new ways to create uniqueness or they can be helpful reminders to stay unique:
1. Consciously infuse unique aspects of your personality into the relationship. For example, if you love racing cars and are a member of a car racing club, then invite your referral source out periodically to race with you as your guest. It is more likely than not that you will build a unique relationship with that person. That is, of course, unless one of your competitors has the same passion for racing as you and has taken the time to share that passion with the same referral source by taking him to the race track. This is, however, highly unlikely. Maybe it’s not car racing. Maybe it’s your passion for music and going to concerts, or trying new restaurants the first week they open, or your love of wines from a certain vineyard, etc. The idea is to find ways to bring those passions you have into the relationship with your referral source.
2. Consciously infuse unique aspects of your referral source’s personality into the relationship. Here, all you have to do is reverse everything in No. 1 above. If your referral source loves car racing and is a member of a car racing club, have you expressed an interest in that hobby? Have you ever asked to accompany him to the race track? Have you ever bought him a model replica of his favorite car he drives on the track? If your prospect loves music, have you sent him that hard-to-find live DVD of his favorite artist? Or have you invited him to see a live performance by that artist? The idea here is to find ways to facilitate the infusion of your referral source’s passions into the relationship.
Focus on Building UBRs
Building a UBR goes way beyond a good relationship. It is a relationship that is difficult – if not impossible – to replicate by definition. It is memorable beyond the ordinary relationships business people tend to build with other business people. Once a unique relationship is built, neither party is likely to want to end it anytime soon. The strong emotional bond you build will motivate and inspire your referral sources to actively seek business opportunities for you. Look for ways to build UBRs with all of your referral sources, and reflect on the principles mentioned above as you do so to insure that those UBRs grow and become highly valuable to your business development endeavors. A close circle of loyal referral sources can help you drive sales through the roof!
About the Author
J.B. Brocato is the CEO of Intense Coaching and Consulting Worldwide, as well as an attorney and licensed real estate broker in Illinois. He is also the author of A Service Provider’s Guide to Starting a Unique Business Networking Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for personalized business development consulting services. Follow J.B. on Twitter @JB_Brocato.