In 1934 at the height of the Great Depression, Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania, showed what he called the MONOPOLY game to the executives at Parker Brothers. Fast-forward 75 years and not only is Monopoly the most popular board game in the world but the economic circumstances that lead to it’s inception seem eerily similar to today’s.
This is Part 1 in a series that examines the parallels between the world’s most popular board game and referral marketing.
Preparing for Success
Some people play Monopoly as a way to pass the time on a rainy day, while for many others Monopoly can be a heated game of business strategies whose outcome may even hint at one’s entrepreneurial prowess.
Just like in the “real” business world, success in Monopoly is both a combination of skill and luck. One of the biggest differences between people who consistently win in Monopoly and those who don’t, is how they approach the game.
It’s the same as running your small business; Monopoly is a game of relationship building, not short term sales. Establish strategic relationships early in the game, only then will you be in a position to drive revenue. It’s only after you’ve established a trusted network that you can begin to leverage a whole new set of opportunities.
For example, you can establish trust with “Uncle Joey” over the course of several turns. Overlook a rent fee, cheer him on, hang on to properties that Uncle Joey may need in the future, propose some favorable trade options, or maybe just grab him a drink from the fridge.
A few hours into the game you’ve bought two rail road properties and your cousin “Dave” has bought one as well. Whoever gets the fourth railroad will be able to double their profits from the rent; a substantial long term payout. Low and behold, Uncle Joey gets the final railroad. Uncle Joey now has a bargaining chip and both you and your cousin Dave will begin to pitch Uncle Joey on why your trade is a better deal.
No matter how good a salesman Dave is, you’ve got an advantage because you’ve built trust. At the very least, you’ll probably be able to convince Uncle Joey that your offer is a much more mutually beneficial option. You may want to use this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with Uncle Joey by looking out for his best interest. Say something along the lines of, “On second thought, I think you should hold onto that railroad Uncle Joey. It’s only likely to increase in value over time. In fact, I’d be willing to pay you to not sell this property to Dave. Just simply hold onto it and I’ll look out for you.”
As you could imagine, overtime your relationship with Uncle Joey could be the most important reason why you’re the last two in the game and Dave is sitting on the coach catching the end of the ball game on TV.
This isn’t just Monopoly 101, relationship building is a strategy that transcends the dinner table. Small business owners who are serious about driving revenue are equally as a serious about leveraging professional relationships to generate more business referrals.
For more insight into applying your Monopoly strategy to your small business (or vice versa), check out: