After all the fluff, spam and noise that bombards your customers has been seen, heard and ignored, what you have left is the potential for meaningful engagement. How you approach that matters. Online or off, every sale starts with a conversation.
I had the pleasure recently of hearing Mark Schaefer (www.businessesgrow.com) speak on the state of Social Media today. Mark wrote the Tao of Twitter and Return on Influence, and I consider him a friend. In his presentation, he talked about how business leaders can improve customer experience by incorporating a new way of thinking. This mindset in marketing your business today is made up of 3 core components:
1. Meaningful content.
2. Targeted connections.
3. Authentic helpfulness.
The term “Authentic helpfulness” struck a chord with me. From a customer’s perspective, if you’re seen as a business that’s truly authentic in your intention to help people make their purchase decision, there’s a good chance they’ll consider you first. This can happen at the store level and employee level. Each customer will let their friends and family know about their experience. The potential is huge and what’s great about it is that it feels natural to help others.
This week, I got my new eBook “Dealership Facebook Marketing Made Easy” up on my site. It’s free. I do this because I’m driven to inspire, nurture and develop others who want to succeed in Social Media marketing and I’d like to connect with more of you. The process is simple: you go to my site, you encounter a completely tolerable popup offering the eBook in exchange for your email address. You get the eBook with all my secrets. I get to keep in touch with you to further inspire, nurture and help you DO Social Media marketing. It’s a win for everyone.
What would happen if auto dealers started offering the same type of content? There is absolutely no reason your dealership shouldn’t do this! Customers are hungry for good quality, trustworthy information. I can’t tell you how many people who know I used to manage dealerships, ask me for help with their purchase. There’s a huge need out there and you can put yourself in the spotlight by fulfilling it. Dealerships can produce content around the sales process, the financing process, and the service and parts process. Everyone has questions about these areas and you can look like a hero to them!
There will be issues. Anything challenging the status quo is guaranteed to cause disruption:
- Members of the management team think it’s stupid
- Employees say, “That’s not my job.”
- Lack of motivation from the team
- General negativity within the ranks
There are a million reasons not to take action. But the fact is this: People are sick of being sold. They won’t spend 30 seconds with your ad but they will spend 30 minutes with your story.
Throughout history, the business that delivers the most value, wins the customer. Differentiate your store with authentic helpfulness. Make your eBook, blog post and/or white paper compelling. So compelling that people would pay for it…and then give it away for free. I don’t see many dealerships doing this and it’s a shame. Quality content is a fantastic conversation starter.
I’m not going to lie, one of the biggest challenges in auto retail today is this the idea of content marketing and shifting the operations to accomodate for it. You have to be a publisher these days to differentiate your business and create visibility for leads and sales. Don’t waste time convincing yourself of all the reasons not to do it. Get your staff involved and define a content marketing strategy that will deliver on your credo of authentic helpfulness. Initiate the conversations by giving people something they’re really happy to get – peace of mind.