Have you ever sat down and pondered why we resist mass marketing and embrace word-of-mouth? What is it about these times where the old ways just don’t work anymore?
Trustworthy information comes at a premium and the best way to acquire information is through relationships (word-of-mouth) online or off. When we’re looking to purchase, we want guidance from a reliable source–a friend, a family member, someone with whom we have something in common. Social networks allow us to connect with others who share our interests, people who’ve become trustworthy resources.
Social Media grew out of a need to build our own networks. They take the place of the small community of various interests we might have grown up in. Social Media has given us back some of that feeling of security we lost when we grew up, left the small town and moved to the big city. Instead of feeling isolated, we moved to create and grow our Social networks.
Networking empowers us as individuals. People in networks tend to nurture one another.
When salespeople use Social Media it’s called Networking. When businesses use Social Media, it’s still networking but also a new way of marketing using relevant content to attract and engage the customer. You’re building your reputation using the most awesome technological breakthrough of our time. Learning to network and to develop and cultivate relationships requires a substantial investment of time and resources. You’re building relationships prior to the sale and that solidifies your chance of closing it.
Every relationship is one of give and take. Trying to sell when you first meet a contact is a great way to ruin a potential networking relationship before it begins. That’s why Facebook status updates that only talk about your store rarely get engagement. You must cultivate your relationship with content that’s relevant to your network. It really is Giver’s Gain.
If you want to increase sales, the human connection is always the place to begin. People buy from people. Plan your Social marketing strategy using these 5 networking tips:
1. Be a Nice Person & Have Good Manners. Did I just sound like your Mom? Good, read on. Be polite and say thank you. If you make a promise, keep your word. Social networking is your digital backyard BBQ. You wouldn’t walk into the BBQ asking, “Hey, does anybody want to buy a car?”. Spend time getting to know how everyone else is doing, what their interests are and share stories about those common interests. The time you invest will make you the only one they think of when it’s time to buy.
2. Be the Likable Expert. Deliver valuable and compelling content to your customers and prospects. Daily updates, Blogs, Email Newsletters – all of these make you the go-to resource. Respond to blog comments, email replies, Facebook and Twitter comments timely and enthusiastically. What better way to establish your reputation than as someone who is always looking to help others?
3. Be Curious. Having a curiosity about what people are about and what they’re doing builds your network. I’ve found that by listening to people’s ideas, concerns and challenges, I discover a million opportunities. Be genuinely interested is the key that unlocks the door to their needs and wants. You listen, you ask questions, and the sale presents itself.
4. Ask For Referrals. Networking is like mining for gold and referrals are the Mother Load. Many salespeople, service advisors and dealers have a strong database of repeat customers. Email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, wherever they are, meet them there and enlist their help. Here’s what to say: “Our business is based on referrals. We’re expanding and we need your help. Who do you know who…..?” Of course, it never hurts to do this in person when delivering the vehicle either!
Facebook Timeline has a new feature available to highlight a milestone for your store. How about highlighting a milestone for one of your customers? Do you have a customer who’s serviced their vehicle with you for 15 years? Perhaps another is on their 3rd, 4th, or 10th car purchase? Offer a gift to them for sharing and highlight the post with a photo.
5. Invest in Cultivation. It’s not easy developing a trusted community on Social Media. Many employees and managers want to start but lack the training to do so. Grow your own team of Social marketers. Designate a community manager to handle all your Social networks. You can’t develop relationships without the people behind the posts. It’s vital to have processes inside the store so hire a trusted expert that can implement best practices.
Social Media is where networking and marketing meet. The human connection is where every sale begins.