Most everyday I hear somebody say that Social Media for dealerships is a waste of time. When I ask them how they know that, they say, “Well, we’ve tried it and we got no response.” Respectfully, just because you’re doing it wrong doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
In the sales process, whether it’s in the Front End or Fixed Ops, there’s marketing and then there’s sales–two very different components but both very integral to your gross profit. Marketing is about generating interest for buying–creating leads. Sales is the process or technique for closing those leads; its the conversation that compels the buyer (who already has an initial interest to buy) to feel comfortable and close. No leads no sales: one without the other doesn’t work.
Social Media is marketing. It’s about meeting the customer where they are and converting them: from a fan/follower into a contact; from a contact into a lead. Social Media facilitates filling your sales funnel and it’s up to you to turn them into buyers. I believe this is where the issue lies today with most dealers I talk with. The content that’s shared, the engagement and the responses all are vital in this conversion process. Master that and you’ll see results you can boast about.
For most of the last few decades in the car business, advertising was the way to bring in leads. Ups hit the lot and we turned them into sales. Not anymore! No longer is it a cold open with the customer. They’ve been online researching for up to 9 hours about you, your inventory, and your reputation. No more do we try and create a bond while standing on the lot or going on the demo ride. Today, the relationship is built online.
Now is your opportunity to market. Your potential customer looks at the manufacturer’s website for options and finance deals, they visit your store’s website to look at inventory, and then they check Social Media. They look you up on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and Yelp. Your customers reach out to their network for information. You need to be there providing it.
In the old days of 5 years ago, TV and newspaper ads were the trusted source for where to buy. In 2011: 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 14% trust advertising. The ROI of Social Media is your business will still exist in 5 years.
Most of the dealers I know have mastered the art of sales. Geez, after this recession, only the very strong have survived and learned to adapt in a changing market. Isn’t it time to adapt once more to Social Media marketing? Fill your sales funnel, engage your customers’ interest using content strategies that generate leads. Then let your staff do what they do best–close, baby, close.