The promise to build meaningful, lasting relationships with our clients is embedded in our brand at Lloyd. This promise extends to our vendors, partners, and our entire community. Having said that, when the business world shifted to a virtual way of operating in early 2020, we quickly designed a new approach to adapt our business with our shifting community. Despite current obstacles disrupting the social construct of connectedness, progress is obtainable once you realize that the opportunities for engagement are only limited by your imagination. We’ve compiled our top four proven methods to build a stronger bond with your community:
Strengthen your internal community first
Building relationships among employees has been even more pivotal to a successful business strategy since remote work took effect. Each employee needs to be viewed and nurtured as a company ambassador for them to successfully make connections with your external community. We’ve personally taken an inclusive, clear approach to team building. Everyone has a seat at the “virtual table”, as all members of our team have more opportunities for connecting with senior-level management than before. Our leadership team remains transparent and consistent in communicating our business strategy while encouraging collaboration across all departments. While technology is our enabler, the other key factor for us is culture. We’ve put so much emphasis on our culture so we can confidently grow our team in alignment with our core values. Ensuring that our team feels supported on a professional and personal level will reflect on how they engage with our community.
Build a personal rather than business relationship
When you master the art of empathy and honesty, your business relationships will reap the benefits. Before you jump straight into offering your solutions, you need to truly understand the client’s pain points. Sales takes a backseat when your goal is to build a long-term meaningful relationship. The longer you focus on the client’s description of pain, the more you understand exactly what the solution should be. When we’re building a connection with a prospect, client, vendor, or partner, we strive to be seen as a part of their team to whom they actively look for guidance. To achieve this, we do our due diligence in understanding their business and then strategizing how our services can help them succeed. Additionally, when you’re wanting your community to trust in your vision, you must practice what you preach; support local businesses. Use local vendors and donate to local charities. Take a look at your inventory, the service providers you use, where you invest – are you giving your business to other local businesses?
Don’t wait for things to get “back to normal” before engaging with the outside world. Your community has now expanded thanks to the new virtual way of working – use this to your advantage.
While many of us look forward to the return of face-to-face meetings, you may be surprised to find out that more than 70% of decision-makers prefer virtual over in-person engagements. Take this opportunity to not only join, but conduct your own webinars. Encourage your strategic partners and clients to invite members of their community to attend. The goal is to create the optimal virtual experience that’ll demonstrate the relevance of your services. Start off by listening to your partners and clients before you pull out the lengthy PowerPoint or sales pitch that you should probably consider ditching. You can’t expect them to believe that you can help if you haven’t taken the time to ask questions and discover what they need. You should be solving a problem, not selling a product.
Build your online presence
Engaging your clients in 2021 and beyond means reaching them virtually, but your long-term engagement strategy needs to be deeper than weekly email blasts. Building a strong customer community means adapting to how your customers are living now, and the best way of doing so is strengthening your online presence. Facebook is not only a low investment option for starting a community group, but it’s also really effective. With 2.8 billion global users that comprise a mix of demographics, it’s likely that most of your audience is already on there and easy to reach. Additionally, studies show that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, another cost-effective platform that is guaranteed to grow your community with likeminded individuals. It’s important to also maintain your company website, we use HubSpot to manage ours. The importance of a website to gain business partnerships cannot be overstated. By having an online presence through your website, you are able to reach more consumers, and allow members of your community to get a better understanding of your organization on-demand.
One last tip: your partners can help you! Consulting a Managed Services Provider will guide you on how to effectively utilize technology to succeed in today’s virtual world. At Lloyd, we work closely with our clients to ensure that they are investing in the right solutions that’ll aid them in staying competitive within their industry and connected with their community.