Is is possible that creating belonging is the future of sales?
April 15th, 2019 | Laurie Hawkins
What if your people, partners and customers felt a sense of belonging, both internally and externally?
Think of well-known brands that have focused on creating community and belonging; companies like Disney, Apple, Starbucks and Harley Davidson to name a few. Think of local companies that have created a similar experience for you. What do they all have in common? They all create a sense of belonging for their teams and customers.
Sales has been and is continuing to shift. The old language, old style and old beliefs held for generations are no longer working. Industries everywhere are being stopped in their tracks. The traditional style of selling had the buyer as the outsider. The customer wants to be the insider, to be included; they want to belong. They want to be a part of something that aligns with their values and expectations. They want to feel the experience and connection.
Belonging is a core human desire. We are all hard wired for belonging and connection. We strive for it in our family, friendships, partnerships and workplaces. The thought-leader on this subject is Brené Brown and she says that “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
Imagine this…you are recognized as an important part of a collective. You feel valued and accepted – not because you are the “same as”; because you are you! You feel safe, supported and appreciated. You feel like you belong.
As a business owner and leader, creating this powerful sense of belonging with your customers will result in revenue, results and raving fans. Imagine the flow…you are able to engage, encourage and expand in new ways.
An article in Fast Company recently shared that there is a crisis of belonging today and “companies that help their customers remake their social fabric have an enormous opportunity.” People today are feeling “alone-together” and technology is playing a huge role in this condition as well. People are replacing deep, emotion-driven, in-person relationships with online communication.
If you look back at the social fabric of society, for generations, you will find a theme of community and tribe. Human nature desires connection and people are seeking ways to regain this for themselves. In a Harvard Business report, called How we Gather – The Dinner Party, they discuss how to focus on gathering to build community for people. They state to “think beyond customers, fans and followers – the next frontier for great brands is stepping into the cultural and market opportunity for deeper, real-world, person-to-person connection.”
How we Gather in Action:
- Apple creates photo walks for people to learn photography while exploring their city
- Lulu Lemon hosts yoga classes
- Nordstrom’s clothing store creates a store with no clothes to find new ways to engage
Space alone is not enough. Businesses must create spaces, experiences, products and services that deliberately foster diverse people coming together for shared experiences. In order to drive loyalty, you want your customers to move beyond your brand and create meaningful connections.
What is possible for your business to move
beyond your traditional way of doing business?
- Build around a common set of values & behaviours
- Create connection (Jeep owners all wave at each other when they pass by as an example)
- Contribute and engage personally
- Share stories and showcase your customers in these stories
- Create a space where customers can band together (live & virtual)
- Curate knowledge and expertise
- Encourage the flow of ideas and engagement
- Create a shared community