Saturday, October 11, 2008

Using a Bucket List to Create Stronger Relationships

I have written about creating unique experiences for your clients and referral relationships, but this weekend I had a wonderful conversation with Troy Wyatt of PacBlue. We talked specifically about how to get closer to the people in business that mattered to us, and we talked about boondoggling.

During the conversation Troy brought up The Bucket List, the movie released several months ago that followed two men on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. The great thing about the list between these two men was that most of their to-do's were terribly uncomplicated.

We decided, Troy and I, that creating unique experiences was nothing more than selecting bucket list type experiences to share with our network -- and here are some examples:
  • Many of you play golf with your clients and referral network (yawn). But to play golf one time on the course in St. Andrews, Scotland, now that would be a bucket list kind of experience.
  • Taking a client to dinner at a great restaurant is always fun... (yawn). But to sponsor a trip to eat at La Spada in Florence, Italy might be a bucket list sort of experience.
  • Hosting people on a fishing boat off the coast of Southern California is an often used boondoggle around these parts (yawn). Taking a group into the western delta of Alaska to catch King Salmon is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
  • Tickets to sporting events are always appreciated, and so average.... But a chartered flight to Indiana to witness the annual Notre Dame v. University of Michigan game might just be a once in a lifetime event.
  • Hosting people on a local ski slope might be fun, but a chance to swoop and slip on the mountains of Chamonix, France is definitely on the bucket list for many.
No doubt, some of these suggestions could cost several thousand dollars depending on how many people you invite and how much time you spend within each experience. On the other hand, if you had the opportunity to spend $6K to enable a $1M deal could you make that choice?

Several years ago Merrill Corporation hosted me on a fly fishing trip to the Kanektok River in western Alaska. It was a journey of my lifetime with moments I can still recall with amazing clarity and fondness. To this day Merrill remains at the top of my list of whom to call -- it may never change.

So, could you dream up a bucket list of experiences that will bring your network of relationships closer to you?