As we head into tough economic times in 2023, it’s never been more important for business leaders to leverage their community to grow revenue. Over the last three years, accelerated changes in the modern workplace — virtual meetings, flexible hours, work-from-home environments — have meant less social time with peers. That’s why forward-thinking sales leaders need to recognize the value of selling through community and get creative about building solid, respected relationships that are mutually beneficial for closing deals.
Creating authentic connections with people in 2023 will help businesses grow — full-stop. Engaging as part of a community builds trust, boosts loyalty, and creates an environment where members can share assets and resources for personal and professional development.
Plus, being part of a friendly network of people working together feels great!
In my experience, there are three ways you can lean on community to help grow your business: fostering new connections, sharing knowledge, and taking a leadership role to build your personal brand.
People Helping People
I like to point to the law of reciprocity (the principle that when people receive something, they feel compelled to return the favor) as the north star for communities connecting people. Connecting prospects and customers to your community allows you to become a partner in the sales process. An advisor. A true consultant.
When you’re in a conversation with a prospect, they’re expecting you to sell and show a product. But the real way to add value is by saying, “We can show you a product or solution. But I actually know someone else who has experienced this same challenge. Let me go ahead and make an intro to set up a conversation on how you can overcome this roadblock.”
Taking the extra step of making an introduction without an expectation of return builds strong bonds of trust in sales. Plus, you’re creating a new point of contact for a fellow member of your community — a win-win.
Leveraging Community Assets
Sharing resources and industry news from your community can pay dividends with prospects. Assets are tangible learnings you receive through your community that can be passed along to your buyers.
An objection I’ve long heard is to keep your expertise, knowledge, or resources close to the vest. Helping someone else get ahead is to your detriment.
That’s short-sighted and untrue. Selling through community requires playing a long game of trust and relationship building. Sharing knowledge with prospects can only add value and build that trust. A great example — our Pavilion members use our monthly poll surveys in the board meetings to provide an incredibly valuable asset to our community — and we’re proud to do it.
Your community assets can be use cases, surveys, best practices, or anything that will plausibly improve your customer outcomes. Collaborative problem-solving and sharing of opportunities increase your value as a sales leader and bolster customer success.
Remember, rising tides lift all ships!
Building A Personal Brand Through Community
Taking a leadership role within your community will immediately add significance to your personal brand and your business. That leadership role starts with getting in front of your peers and creating value. It can be running an event, a webinar, a workshop, or hosting a happy hour. Get creative!
These events are opportunities to connect to a larger community, invite your prospects to participate, and cross-sell awareness. Events like these help drive your deals to close because you’re building your own brand within the community. For executives, building your brand at events and conferences, or sharing assets and knowledge on social media, establishes credibility and expertise, which will turn into conversations.
I always encourage executives to lead by example with their brand building, inspiring reps to do the same to close more deals.
Get By Giving
Being active within a business community allows you to share resources, opportunities, and frustrations and allows sales leaders to leverage their broader community in their deals.
My mantra remains the same: You get by giving. With technology and international expansion driving the need for increased coexistence of values, ideas, and beliefs, cultivating a community that’s mutually beneficial for personal and professional development has never been more important.
About the author
Laura “LG” Guerra has spent 12 years in sales across a variety of growth stages and industries, ranging from $200K ARR to $600M ARR.
She joined Pavilion in 2018 as a member, quickly becoming the Los Angeles Chapter Head before joining full time as the Vice President of Growth in 2020.
Guerra now oversees sales and customer success at Pavilion, focusing on corporate membership, called Pavilion for Teams.