“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

 Margaret J. Wheatley

Have you taken the time to discover what your clients TRULY care about?

Your clients make up a community. Call yourself the mayor of your community. Now, ask yourself… What have I done to bring my people together inside this community to form kinship and comradery?

Yes, you heard me correctly, kinship and comradery.

Are you a collector of people and a builder of community?

I would like for you to think about that statement, now think about your clients… How effective have you been in building a sense of community with your clients?

I recently read, “Lead Like Walt – Discovering Walt Disney’s Magical Approach to Building Successful Organizations”

There is a section in the book that referenced Walt knew his people well. For a moment, I ask you to think about your clients and follow along with me…

“Walt was constantly walking around, engaging in casual conversations, and getting to know his people as individuals. What are their goals? Their passions? Their hobbies? What books do they read?”

By showing an interest in his people he learned they have ideas, interests and hidden talents.

What are you collecting about your clients? 

What do you know about your clients?

CLIENT COMMUNITIES AID IN BUILDING TRUST

The Senior Manager of Communities at Zendesk, defines client communities as such…

“A customer community is an online or physical space for customers to connect on a regular basis to have conversations, answer questions, and share ideas and information.”

Are you bringing your clients together to meet each other, engage with each other, and to share ideas with each other?

Research conducted by CMX, a company providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and resources, went on to say,

“86 percent of community builders believe that having a branded online community will positively impact core operations, while 85 percent believe it will improve the customer journey and increase trust.”

Let’s apply this quote to your clients, and now do I have you thinking about the importance of client communities?

Building client communities fosters trust building. Now, think about where trust sits inside the sales world today, it is not good.

Bringing your clients together to engage allows people to interact with you, your team and your company to provide input and feedback which opens the trust building door.

To build trusted client communities, you must be willing…

  • To engage in meaningful conversations
  • To be massively transparent
  • To do what you say you will do

Trust enables salespeople and their clients to effectively work together

BUILDING COMMUNITY CREATES SUSTAINABILITY

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

Rollo May

You see, all your clients have at least one thing in common, and it is you. Conversely, many have other things in common as well, such as job title, corporate challenges, hobbies, and possibly even life experiences.

So, let’s think together for a moment… What would it be like if you became the connector, the relational bridge-builder, and figured out a way to connect all of them, that in turn; brings real value to them?

What could possibly happen?

What would this mean to you?

What impact could this have to your sales sustainability?

We defined a client community, now let’s unpack the word “community”. We will refer to community in a sales context, let’s use the following definition from the Oxford dictionary:

“A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”

Here lies a question for many of you…

  • Are you creating fellowship with your clients?
  • What common interests and goals do you have with your clients?

I believe to build a real community with your clients, not only do you need to care about the community, but you also need to care about and respect each other.

You need to be loyal to one another and build healthy relationships.

How many of you have built community with your clients?

Creating a community around you and what you do takes work, however; the road taken to grow one will have lasting benefits for a long time to come.

CREATING COMMUNITY IS VITAL TO SALES GROWTH

Dean Ornish nails it by saying,

“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water and food.”

In the crazy, challenging, and competitive world of sales… how do you stand out from all the other salespeople who do the exact same thing as you?

Sales professionals future proof their business and reputation through the communities they build with their clients.

When we are active participants in a thriving community, we feel a sense of kinship, camaraderie and connectedness. 

Plato once said,

“The part cannot be well unless the whole is well.”

Communities take care of their members and vice versa because they are invested in the collective success of the group.

Stop and think about that for a moment… They are invested in the collective success of the group. Are you and your clients invested in collective togetherness?

Sales professionals create community through insights, trust and net-weaving.

INSIGHTS

Knowing what your clients really think of you, what you do, and how you have helped them is what dreams are made of.

Building communities with your clients bridges relational gaps.

Gather your clients together and listen to feedback, listen to what they are working on, listen to their challenges and foster an environment to openly share ideas.

Client communities can also help you to see your product, business, or industry from the perspective of the very people you’re selling into.

“The best vision is insight.”

Malcolm Forbes

TRUST

Continually communicating in a transparent and personal way with your clients, you’ll improve trust, belief, and faith in you.

In a post trust sales world, building client communities bridges the relational divide.

Stephanie Buscemi, the former CMO of Salesforce, explains…

“Specific to tech, there is a trust crisis. That’s why it’s so important right now to have a community who are speaking authentically on their own experience and doing it in their own words. It’s no longer enough to have a great product or service. You have to build a deep relationship with your customers. No more pitching or preaching. It’s about having a conversation.”

Imagine for a moment…. Could an unfiltered communication channel with your clients help to strengthen your relationships?

Your clients will start to feel heard, recognized, and rewarded, and from there, trust will grow exponentially.

NET-WEAVING

For sales professionals, developing client communities helps them to cultivate connections and comradery between like-minded individuals.

As an example, consider developing a financial community, a technology community, a human resource community, and a leadership community. Now, think about harnessing the collective knowledge of these communities to foster learning environments.

You all have heard of networking. All me to introduce you to net-weaving.

Weaving is the craft of lacing fibers together to make fabric or cloth. 

Now imagine what would it look like if you wove your clients together and their networks?

What could you unpack?

What could you learn?

What sales opportunities could you uncover?

Through community, this brings your clients together to meet like-minded peers, to further their knowledge, and to feel more positively about you… and a place with no added noise, no ads, and no social algorithms.

EVERYONE BENEFITS

Imagine for a moment… a client community who share things in common, care deeply about each other, and work closely together for betterment or a purpose… imagine what kind of harmony you could create.

Ultimately, developing community with your clients creates a greater sense of belonging. It powers innovation and ideas along with the ability to deliver new insights for you, new prospecting ideas, and sales growth opportunities.

Close communities are based upon care, compassion, and connection. Are you creating this for your clients?

Are you creating a space for your clients to connect and collaborate?

As humans, we crave a sense of community. Our mental health and our physical health literally depend on being part of strong and capable communities.

I encourage you to take massive action to strengthen and sustain your community.

Originally published on Larry Levine’s LinkedIn

 

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