If you ask most people where buying a car is on their “comfort scale”, many reply somewhere between a root canal and chronic diarrhea. Those of us in auto retail know how uncomfortable it can be and for years, many dealers have worked hard to fix that. We all know the stereotypes we’ve had to live with day in and day out and the buying public is ready for a change.
I spent last week in Las Vegas participating in the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference. Wow, it was so cool to see so many dealers breaking the mold. These attendees were engaged, knowledgeable and eager to learn even more about how today’s customer buys and services their car. These dealers are in tune with themselves, they know what their brand stands for and they’re listening to their customers. They’re ready for change too!
Speaking as an insider, someone who was livin’ the dream running stores most of her life, something happens to people when they go to buy a car. Mainly due to the popular belief about car salespeople, they see it as an adversarial transaction. The adrenalin is pumping when both the customer and the salesperson get caught up in it all. But more and more, people are establishing relationships with dealers before they purchase. When the trust is established pre-sale, the transaction goes very differently.
Think about when you’ve made a purchase with someone you know, like and trust. What’s your energy level during that transaction? Calm, peaceful and harmonious. Social Media is your ticket to establish that trust with your customer. You have a communication tool that allows you to interact with them on a regular basis without interrupting their day. You earn the right to send marketing messages by not bombarding them with marketing messages. Your customer trusts you and ignores the stereotype.
Tony Robbins speaks about never leaving a transaction when there’s a negative perception. That emotional memory is hard to break through and that’s how stereotypes are reinforced. In a negative vehicle purchase transaction, the person ends up hating themselves for what they did. Your store and your salesperson get identified as something that’s “bad”. In today’s online environment, you cannot afford that! Here are 3 effective ways to use Social Media to establish trust with your customer and debunk the stereotype:
1. Help Them Buy From You. What are the frequently asked questions about the car buying process or service process? Each one of these can be a blog post or a status update on Facebook or Twitter. See yourself as your customer does and come from a supportive space. Help them buy so they remember you as the likable expert–so they think of no one else when it’s time to buy.
2. Show Your Cards. What makes your store unique? Why do your customers return again and again? Be open and transparent. People want to know who they’re buying from, they want to align themselves with brands that have shared values. Use Social marketing to convey what you stand for, who you support in the community and why you do what you do.
3. Repeat Buyers are Golden. When someone who’s purchased from you before returns to buy again, that is a significant event! Whether it’s to purchase a car or to get their car serviced, these folks are your “brand advocates”. Social Media allows you to stay in contact with them regularly. Ask for referrals. Ask for a video testimonial. Ask them to guest blog! Involve them in your marketing so that potential buyers can observe how you treat repeat buyers. You make them part of your community and others will want to join in.
Social Media is now Social business. We are more connected now than we’ve ever been. There’s never been a better or easier way to debunk the old car sales stereotype. We’ve tried for years to break it but now, with some effort and the right content marketing, we can lay it to rest once and for all.