ASM TEACH & DO SERIES: Using “FURBS” to Grow Your Business
Yes — relationships are essential for every business. But, pursuing and nurturing the right relationships can be the difference between successfully growing your business or spinning your wheels every time a prospect enters your sales funnel.
We designed the FURBS system to help agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants cultivate and nurture relationships that are genuine, consistent, and mutually beneficial. If you’ve never heard of the FURBS system before then you’re in luck, because we’re here to share the details.
FURBS: Not Just Another Silly Acronym (We Promise)
I’m going to acknowledge up front that there are already far too many acronyms in this industry. No one is denying that, least of all me. But, I’m making an exception in this case because the FURBS system is one that Predictive not only adheres to internally, but has proven to be a valuable tool for our partners, clients, and ASM members as well.
We’re confident that its usefulness will justify adding another acronym into your lexicon. So, without further ado, let’s break this one down.
FURBS stands for:
The key words I’d like you to focus on here are “Relationships” and “System.” I cannot stress enough that the FURBS system is NOT intended to help you nurture every single person in your prospect and email lists. Rather, it’s designed to make it easier for you to identify and nurture the RIGHT relationships — the ones that can actually move your business forward.
Which brings us to the first of several things the FURBS system can help you accomplish:
Create Your Dream 25 List
If you’ve been rolling with us for a while, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard us talk about building a Dream 25 list before now. If that’s not the case, here’s a quick refresher.
Your Dream 25 list should include 25 names; 25 business relationships that you want to cultivate. Those relationships should not only represent ideal opportunities that will be worth your time, energy, and investment, but each of the names should also represent roughly 10% of your company’s revenue.
If you’re unsure as to whether or not someone should be added to your list, then asking yourself the following question can be a quick and effective litmus test:
Are you willing to spend $1,000 or more to cultivate this relationship?
If your immediate answer is “no,” or if the thought of investing in that relationship makes you a bit squeamish, then I’d encourage you to trust your gut. Odds are, there’s a good reason for your hesitation. Maybe it stems from concerns about what that relationship could actually bring to the table for your business. Or, maybe the relationship you’re considering is already solid, so there’s no need to over-invest in order to keep it healthy. Either way, that name probably shouldn’t make your list — and that’s ok.
Prevent Yourself from Over-Promising
Another wonderful benefit of using the FURBS system is that it naturally protects you from succumbing to what is likely one of your ultimate vices: over-promising.
For years, I’ve witnessed business owners boast about all of the things they’re going to get done — and then don’t. We don’t do this out of malice or a lack of integrity (and yes, I say “we” because I am just as guilty of this as anyone else). Business owners over-promise simply because that’s how we’re wired. We want to do it all, and in our excitement, we convince ourselves that the impossible is only impossible for everyone but us.
FURBS is a system we can put in place to protect us from ourselves. And it works. Why? Because ideally, systems are built to be operated by more than one person. Having other people involved creates accountability. So, even if we slip up and try to over-promise (we’re only human, it happens) then we have a safety net in the form of trusted team members who will step in to tell us “no,” if we start flying a little too close to the sun.
Filter Out “Bad Fits” Right Away
Because each step of the FURBS process involves direct and intentional interactions, it naturally serves as a reliable filter for prospects who turn out to be…less than ideal fits for your business. If, during your initial conversations you discover that you and your prospect aren’t aligned in your goals, expectations, or personalities, then there is no need to invest in the relationship any further. It’s that simple.
Having the opportunity to draw some of these potential red flags to the surface right away will not only save you and your team time, energy, and effort, but will also ensure that your business isn’t perpetuating disingenuous, ineffective, or unfavorable relationships.
Provide Value with Every Interaction
Perhaps the most important aspect of the FURBS system is that it empowers you to provide value for your prospect starting from their very first interaction with your business. In order to do that though, it is crucial for you to ensure that all of your relationships begin the exact same way. Every name on your Dream 25 list, and every name that comes after it — all of those relationships should have a universal starting point.
That universal starting point is beneficial for two reasons:
- It creates a uniform conversation (and sales process entry) format that you can easily replicate with any prospect
- Those conversations can be repurposed as cornerstone content for your business and valuable, meaningful takeaways for your prospect as well
Ideally, your universal starting point will immediately set the stage for further relationship-building, as it will lend itself to additional content opportunities. At Predictive, we use our Sell With Authority podcast to facilitate those initial interactions, but your starting point can be just about anything that creates an opportunity for a genuine and in-depth conversation.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, here are a few other options to consider:
- Blog interviews
- Video series
- Webinars or Live Q&As (featuring your prospect as your guest expert)
Whatever you choose, remember that the goal is to learn everything you can about who your prospect is, how they work, and what they value in potential partners while simultaneously making them feel like a rockstar. The best way to communicate the value your business has to offer is to make sure your prospects feel valued every time they interact with you. Above all else, be genuine. Show them that you are sincerely interested in who they are and what they have to say. Then, provide them with even more value by turning your conversations into cornerstone content that you can share with them and they can share with their audiences.
Make the Ask
At this point, you’ve invested heavily in a relationship. You’ve put in the time, the energy, and the effort. So, is it ok for you to finally make the ask? Absolutely — as long as everything you’ve done leading up to that point has made your prospect look and feel awesome the whole time.
If you’ve made the commitment to only pursue relationships that you know for a fact (thanks to the FURBS system) are good fits, and you’ve given your time and attention to those prospects without it being self-serving, then it is absolutely appropriate for you to ask for the same in return.
At the end of the day, the successfulness of the FURBS system is directly linked to your ability to identify the right relationships for your business, invest in them wholeheartedly, and make your prospects feel valued as a result. Remember that if those requirements haven’t been met, then you haven’t actually put any money in the bank. You’ve just extended your sales process.
If you’re already an ASM member — you and your team can access the full FURBS Teach + Do training session here.
Not yet an ASM member — go here to learn more.
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The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.