“I don’t like looking at a screen. I like doing business face-to-face.” Most of you have said this and those that haven’t said it out loud, have thought it. Post-Recession, the internet has caused a major shift in the consumer buying process. Face-to-face is not how people want to research & decide on their next car. When they’re ready to buy, a relationship built online will give you the best chance at the sale.
Technology has shifted the way your customer looks for trustworthy information. Today, car salespeople are competing with the internet for believability. How can you edge out your competition? By meeting your customer where they are and advancing your relationship with them on Social Media.
When I sold cars, I considered my customers as my friends. I liked to share information with them because it made it that much easier for me when it was time for them to buy their next vehicle. They thought of me because I kept in touch. Facebook and other Social Media platforms are tools that make that process of keeping in touch so much easier! Here are 5 Social steps no salesperson should do without:
1. Create Your Facebook Profile. If you already have a Facebook profile then consider using that as your starting point. It’s best because you’ve got a network started and those people drive cars. If you post a lot of private or inappropriate content, consider holding off from that in exchange for gaining clients. If you’re not yet on Facebook, think of it as a digital Rolodex. Sign up for Facebook and walk through the simple steps to create your profile.
2. Know Your Goals. There are 2 main goals for salespeople on Social Media that help you sell cars. 1st goal: Grow your network. 2nd Goal: Identify who your customer is and what their interests, concerns, and problems are. Only you know these things because you’ve either worked with them in the past or plan to work with them in the future. Now that you know your goals, you can move to step 3.
3. Build Your Network. Use the “Find Friends” tab on Facebook to connect with people you know. Ask your current and past customers if they’re on Facebook and put out a friend request to them. Reach out to Facebook Groups that you or your customer are interested in and join them. Building your network also involves sharing great content. Content is what you post on your Facebook wall to engage your customer. Your posts should be relevant, recent and local. Step 4 identifies what particular content is best.
4. Engage. Social Media requires your participation. You must engage, start conversations and respond. Think about it as though you were at a social event. You wouldn’t spend your time lurking (well, maybe some of you would :-)). Do the digital equivalent of walking around, meeting people, asking them what they like, LISTEN. Use these simple techniques from my friend, Paul Potratz, President of Potratz Partners, a successful automotive digital ad agency. Each takes minutes a day:
- Morning Strategy: 1 morning post (say good morning, talk about a recent event), address Birthdays (Facebook helps you with notifications on the upper right side of your wall), add 10 friends and “touch” (reach out, comment, like) 10 in your network.
- Mid Day Strategy: 1 “resource” post (a blog post, article, picture, video), 1 “lunch critic” (review a local eatery, retail store, product you liked), touch 5 more in your network and engage 2 local Groups.
- Evening Strategy: 1 Family or Hobby post, touch 10 in your network, 1 unique post (this could be a picture or video of a happy customer, something that went on that day at the store, or what you did on your day off). If you have a blog, sharing it on Social Media really amps your credibility.
5. Utilize Social Media Tools to Save Time. One of the biggest complaints I hear from sales people is that Social Media takes too much time. When you sell your first car from it, that idea won’t matter. BTW, Social doesn’t have to take a lot of time! There’s a great tool called Hootsuite that allows you to post your content and schedule it out so that you don’t have to remember to do it manually. You also want to set up your RSS Reader (Google has an awesome one) so that when you subscribe to a blog, it’s added to your Reader and all your favorite blogs are in one place.
Think of your screen as your face now. If you take these steps and succeed at Social Media, you’ll create and foster sales relationships that last. You’ll get your face-to-face meeting with your customer but it’ll be when they come in to thank you and pick up their new car.