Building Business Relationships

Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Saturday, October 25, 2003

People do not like to impose

Group members don't like to cause discomfort to other members in order to reach their own desired results. This perceived discomfort leads individuals to be less involved. In most cases, individuals would rather withdrawal than impose discomfort on others in a group situation.

Unfortunately this means good ideas are often kept quiet until someone feels comfortable to bring them forward. Solutions to your organizations greatest problems may already exist in the minds of members who don't want to impose.

In other situations, group members have certain desires that are only appropriate (or of interest) to a few individual in the group. Members are hesitant to share their requests the whole group because of the negative feedback.

Structure your community to identify subgroups of interest where such a message would be appropriate. This way members can quickly identify and meet others who are interested in hearing from them-- increasing the positive feedback. Smaller audiences helps cultivate an idea before it's shared with a larger group.

Communities should encourage members to define the subgroup they wish to share with and provide tools which facilitate this communication. This means, ideas to improve membership don't have to start with the "membership committee" or even with executive decision makers.

Some tools to facilitate improvement while reducing individuals concerns about imposing on others include:

Justin Hitt helps executives build profitable relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners. He can be reached by phone at +1 (877) 207-3798 or on-line at

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Communities actually comprise of many overlapping subgroups

Members of a community differentiate themselves by forming smaller organized groups that represent sub-interests on a community theme. The larger the group the more probable these subgroups will exist. Sub-interests are a healthy part of strong group dynamics in any community.

For example, you may have a community for senior executives which contains special interest groups for marketing executives, sales executives, and those interested in finance. While the members are interested in "issues concerning executives" these subgroups let them address how issues specifically influence a particular segment of the whole.

Subgroups add value to a larger organization or resources. Segments can be based on topical interests, specific concerns, or any variation as desired by group members. They further differentiate the individual participant and focus more closely to their own objectives.

Most subgroups still support the larger objectives and mission of the community. Participation is largely determined by the individual themselves, and often require membership in the larger community.

Problems occur when subgroups compete or run contrary to the larger mission-- at this point the subgroup should be removed or invited to adjust the thinking of the larger community. Conflicts in segmentation can help you measure the needs of your members while growing the value of the larger community.

Listen to your members and the whole community will benefit.

Justin Hitt, with over 10 years of experience in business to business executive relationships and strategic business intelligence; has reduced costs and improve customer loyalty for professional services and numerous other technology companies. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit his website at

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Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:37:20 PM.

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