People buy from people. There is a tectonic shift happening right now with how consumers interact and decide to buy from auto dealerships. As the Social networking phenomenon continues to grow exponentially, it’s imperative that retailers connect and engage with their customers to gain market share. It matters who they buy from. Today’s customer no longer buys what you sell…they buy who you are.
My friend, Dennis Galbraith, of Driving Sales talks about this evolution. He says dealers must think of their stores holistically. Consumers don’t see the dealership they buy from as a series of departments. They think of the store as a whole entity. Dealers must live up to that perception and restructure internally in order to function as one cohesive unit. If there is to be a unique customer experience, the process to achieve that must permeate throughout the entire store.
Recently, a dealer reached out to me and wanted to know how to grow their Facebook presence. They were having trouble enlisting their staff in the effort. To be successful, a dealer must have grassroots participation from their staff. This is where superior management techniques pay off. By enlisting your staff, creating awareness with them with specific training, they create awareness with your current customers. Leveraging your already-existing customer base, full of repeat buyers and “Raving Fans”, is the key to establishing a solid foundation to grow your Facebook community.
Before a business can humanize its brand, it’s imperative that it humanizes its business first.
It’s more than just staff meetings, weekend spiffs and a free Facebook page. It’s not even about “going social”. It’s realizing that advertising and marketing doesn’t work like it used to. It’s about becoming a Social business from the top down.
I see dealers evolving with their Social presence. But very few have developed internal processes that support Social business. This tectonic shift requires a tear down of the old to make way for the new. The same principles of trust that consumers demand from their favorite brands also apply to the way dealers must trust their employees. Employees rolls and responsibilities must be defined in this new Social paradigm. Communication and collaboration between individuals and departments must be encouraged. Dealers must foster a culture of recognizing talent and skill. You must integrate training and education because, folks, this is a completely new selling environment commandeered by your customer.
It’s quite literally about your store’s survival. Dealerships are, at their heart, a small local community business. You sell to other community members. People buy from people. It’s time to bring the human part back to the forefront by connecting your entire community, employees and customers, for a unified vision of Social business.