Since ancient times, community has been the backbone of our collective survival and prosperity. History has taught us that we are nothing without each other, and I believe it is the same for business.
We thrive with a strong sense of community. It is deeply rooted in our psyche. It drives growth, support, innovation, trust and success. I believe that, as humans, it is what we strive for. Communities, small or large, are the catalyst for greatness. Why should it be any different for business? So how do we catalyze greatness within our companies? How do we create sustainability during challenging times? The short answer: Foster community within your business.
I have always made it a point to foster a sense of community within my brand; to make clients feel that they are part of something they can relate to and feel comfortable in. They should feel proud to be part of your brand’s culture in the marketplace. This makes people remember you and the experience they had. A sense of community leaves a lasting effect and is something you do not forget. This is true of any social community or business of any industry.
But what is the best part of creating a community within your client base? They will organically build that community with you. After all, your company’s success is not just a function of your workmanship and marketing. Outside of those things, people still have many choices and will always choose those they can relate to and feel comfortable with. Therefore, your success is also owed to your clientele—your community.
Connecting With Others
You can employ techniques to foster a community within your brand and operation. Here are a few suggestions:
• Consistent social media messaging focused on what you do best and why you are different. This is not a catch-all—it is meant to engage the people who relate to you. It is okay not to get every job. Finding the right client is the goal; you must let it happen organically. You attract what you are, so be genuine;
• Create a rewards system to recognize existing clients for referrals. Cater it to your client. Some may like a free car wash or a gift card to their local coffee shop;
• Don’t be afraid to share your passions with your clients. Many clients that enjoy cars are not just car people. They may be into music, camping, gardening, fitness, etc. Creating bonds outside your business interests is crucial to creating a natural environment and a bond beyond business;
• And host an open house and invite some of your best clients to hang out and network. Two things are never forgotten from a strong networking connection: 1) The people they connected with. 2) How they connected with that person.
I love motorsports and participate in time attack events, AutoX and open lapping when possible. In the past, I tried to tap into the car-show scene with little success. I felt out of place and like these were not the type of clients that resonated with my brand and interests. On the other hand, the motorsports community has been a positive influence and experience. We have had the opportunity to work on many race cars, time-attack vehicles and daily drivers.
My interest and presence at the track and the motorsports community have driven people to my business. Their referrals are always from others in that community. That works for me, but maybe the car show scene works for you. Whatever it is, pay close attention and take care of those people. You still have to keep your promises to your clients. That is to say—deliver the results and experience that you promised your clients.