“Why would you advertise to get more customers if you’re just going to disappoint them when they come in?” ~Leonard Rydell, Rydell Automotive 1954
The times they are a-changin’. Eh, maybe not so much. Stellar sales transactions and great customer service have no season and no generation. It’s always a good time to develop lasting relationships with customers. You’re always welcome to treat the customer with respect and courtesy.
Leonard Rydell (1913-2000) started in the car business in the 1940’s in Montgomery, Minnesota. In 1954, at Chevrolet’s request, he moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota to operate the Chevrolet dealership. Leonard had many strongly-held business and personal philosophies that served him well. These philosophies, known as “Leonardism’s”, are just as applicable today as they were in 1954.
Today we’re all connected by our technology. Whichever platform your customer uses, Social Media connects them to their trusted network and vast amounts of other customers. Conversations happen. If you’re listening and responding, you capture the lead. If not, you don’t.
I see a lot of wet blankets out there. A lot of dealers who’re reluctant to devote time, effort and budget into making Social Media marketing work for them. Here’s an insider’s secret: just because you’re doing it wrong doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Sure, this way of marketing is a colossal change but holding out only harms your future sales.
We’re in the middle of the information revolution. Please don’t wear your disdain for Social Media like a badge. Today, that’s like bragging that you can’t read. Treat Social Media marketing as the huge opportunity it is.
I see dealership Facebook pages that look like ghost towns. Twitter feeds that broadcast the same old information that was appropriate years ago but is like fingernails on the chalkboard to today’s customer. Relationships are where sales have always happened. Today, we have our technology to support them.
Customers looking to purchase visit your Social Media profiles. If they see you’re broadcasting irrelevant updates and that you’re not interacting, or they see negative reviews, they’ll immediately move on and continue their search. We all want to know that we’re spending our money wisely and if you’ve shown poor performance with other customers, people immediately internalize it and believe you’ll treat them the same way.
However, if you’re sharing great content, attracting people and engaging with them, creating a community, that’s some pretty compelling evidence that your store is great place to buy.
Managing your Social Media successfully means there’s much less chance to disappoint your customer. They get to know you long before the purchase happens. When you write and share content that solves their problems, satisfies their desires and engages them in conversation, you give your business a competitive advantage.
Carol Lynn Rivera, editor of Web.Search.Social., shared her story in this post of two separate visits, 3 years apart, to her local dealer to buy a car. Both visits had a lasting effect on her future buying decisions. At the end of her story, she speaks of the difference between a Salesperson and a Person Who Sells.
- A Salesperson is interested in the sale.
- A Person Who Sells is interested in the customer.
- A Salesperson approaches a relationship from a combative standpoint – him vs. you – and he wants to win. His job is to convince you that you want or need what he’s selling and to get you to “cave in”.
- A Person Who Sells approaches relationships collaboratively. He knows that not all solutions are right for all people and helps customers come to a purchasing decision that’s right for them.
Collaborative relationships are the fertile ground where sales take place. Only being interested in the sale puts you in the price race and we all know where that leads. Social Media’s welcome environment mirrors your in-store experience – it’s where relationships turn into sales. It conveys the perception that you are, above all, interested in the customer. Which one makes more sense to you?