The changes we’ve seen in auto retail continue to come fast and furious. If you’re in car sales, now is the time to up your automotive social selling game so that you’re positioned to sell more.
What is automotive social selling?
Automotive social selling is a sales technique using social media that allows car salespeople to laser-target their prospecting and establish rapport through their existing connections so they can sell more cars.
I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 most helpful automotive social selling tips to improve your results and sell more cars in 2023. I mean, let’s face it, it’s been a good ride for the last couple years, but all data points to lower sales volume on the horizon. Now is the time to begin building your online authority.
Do you sell cars? Want to sell more? Grab your Ultimate FREE Guide to Social Media for Car Salespeople today!
1. Crush your sales goals with customer video testimonials.
Is 2023 the year we finally see customer video testimonials go mainstream? I hope so.
A recommendation from someone still remains the most-trusted source of information to help car buyers decide to purchase. The web affords car shoppers many opportunities to seek recommendations:
- They reach out to their friends and family on social media.
- They visit Google, Yelp and other review sites.
- They look for testimonials on the dealership’s website.
- They might even Google your name!
It’s pretty powerful to see and hear a loyal, happy customer’s feedback about their car buying experience. Prospects feel more comfortable about their purchase knowing others had a great experience.
Video testimonials are extremely compelling when used on Facebook and LinkedIn as influential ways to reinforce your credibility. A powerful video testimonial may even be the deciding factor that makes your deal.
How to collect your first video testimonial.
I find that when I talk about video testimonials, everyone is in favor of the idea. But when it comes down to actually doing it, many are reluctant. Of course you are – not very many people have experience talking and filming people!
Here are 5 steps to help you develop the automotive social selling mindset of seeking and asking for customer video testimonials.
1. Use your phone. Nearly everyone has a phone that takes great videos. Don’t get all fancy! You’re comfortable with your phone so why make it harder?
2. Be on the lookout. Not every customer will be enthusiastic about being filmed so begin with repeat customers (if you have them). If not, choose someone who you’re pretty sure will be okay with participating.
3. Practice your Ask. Asking for online reviews is not a simple task. Everyone needs to work up their mojo to ask for what they want.
Practice makes profit.
Here’s a script for asking for a video testimonial:
“Mr or Ms Customer, did you have a good experience today?”
(They should nod their head and say, “Yes.”)
“That’s fantastic. My business is based on referrals and I would appreciate it if you would share your feedback with others who may be looking for a good car buying experience like you were. Would you be open to filming a short video testimonial for me?”
4. Set a goal of doing only ONE video. Do not expect miracles from yourself – that only leads to self-judgment and shame. Remove some of the obstacles – make it easier on yourself – by setting reasonable expectations. You only need ONE video testimonial to begin with. More will come as you get comfortable with your process.
5. Use a script! (your secret weapon) A testimonial video should last 2-3 minutes. Ideally, a script will inspire the customer so they don’t have to think about what to say on their own. It will also help you focus on getting the testimonial rather than thinking up what to ask your customer.
Here’s a script I recommend for the interview (it’s an introduction and 4 simple questions):
Testimonial Intro: Tell us about yourself (First name, city of residence)
- Is this your first Chevrolet? (or, fill in the brand they bought if they bought a used vehicle)
If they say yes: What made you decide to buy a Chevy?
If they say no: What do you like best about Chevys?
- Why did you decide to buy your car at ABC Chevrolet?
- What did you like best about your experience with me today?
- What is ONE thing you would tell your friends/family about us?
Pro Tip: If you have an iPhone, use iMovie to edit your video (if editing is needed). It’s easy and you can be a pro in no time!
2. Before you can “Always Be Closing,” first, you must “Always Be Helping.”
One of the most famous depictions of the sales world back in the 90’s is Glengarry Glen Ross. Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, is the epitome of the high-powered, low-empathy, money-driven salesperson, and gets what he wants through fear, intimidation, and profanity-laced speeches.
After threatening and terrorizing a group of salesmen (no women allowed in this boiler room), Blake gets to his point — salespeople should “ABC: Always Be Closing.” According to Blake, regardless of the individual prospect and their needs, the salesperson’s ultimate task is to close the deal.
Blake would never give up control of the sales process to a prospect. Yet that’s exactly what top salespeople do today. Let me explain.
The “Always Be Closing” school of thought ignores buyer needs entirely and places the salesperson at the center of the sales process, taking a brute-force approach to closing deals.
I hear you asking, “So what am I supposed to do instead?”
Your job, of course, is still to sell. But modern salespeople abandon any strategies that involve force-feeding prospects something they don’t want and don’t need. As Dale Carnegie famously once said,
“People don’t want to be sold to — they want to feel as if they’re buying.”
Your approach instead, as your prospect moves through the buying journey, is to provide resources and guidance as they attempt to solve a problem or quench a desire.
Always Be Helping.
In today’s automotive digital sales, we’ve witnessed the balance of power tip away from the salesperson and toward the car buyer. With the transparency and availability of information online, and the ability to tap into third-party reviews, car buyers are far savvier than they once were.
This doesn’t mean that salespeople are obligated to let prospects drive the bus. Strike a balance between how your prospect wants the process to play out and use your expertise to guide them in the right direction.
The “Always Be Helping” mindset allows you to tailor your process to make the buying process as simple as possible. A vehicle purchase is one of the most stressful things a person experiences and making it easier for them brings you more business.
For many people, the process of buying is as important as the purchase itself. Prospects need to feel like they’re being heard and respected, and forcing a cookie-cutter sales process on them often equates to fewer sales.
3. Avoid the three most common automotive social selling mistakes.
Mistake #1: Coming across as *just another* car salesperson.
While providing a solution to your online prospects and pitching it to them is the ultimate goal of automotive social selling, it shouldn’t be the first, second or even the third thing you do.
The right way: Instead of selling the product, sell your UNIQUE value. Share content throughout the car shopping and buying process – from awareness to consideration, until a prospect is ready to buy.
Take the time to build rapport with your prospects online, either through public conversations on posts, groups or in private messages, then work your way up to talking about the solutions you can provide.
Mistake #2: Treating your profile as a resume.
Your prospects and potential connections don’t need to know that you’re a high-performing salesperson – in fact, a profile that goes overboard on your sales prowess will scare them away.
Yes, your profile should highlight your experience, but it should devote much more space to what you bring to the table when it comes to your prospects’ challenges.
The right way: Highlight your value. Show off your industry knowledge, your unique expertise and illustrate why customers buy from you.
Mistake #3: Making automotive social selling an occasional effort.
Even though a time investment will have its rewards, social selling doesn’t need to take a huge amount of time. You’ll experience success when you start by committing to a few minutes per day.
Simply dipping a toe in the automotive social selling water – and assuming people will seek you out – won’t net you the connections that will lead to more sales.
The right way: Be a participant, not just an observer. Watch your social news feed to see what connections and companies are up to, and take part in conversations. If you use a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’ll get real-time updates on what connections are doing, so you can comment on their status updates.
Think of automotive social selling as a natural extension of what you do in your day-to-day, on-the-showroom-floor world:
- You keep your eyes open for opportunities to make a new connection.
- You strengthen relationships by showing you care and add value.
- You attend events where you can get to know your prospects better.
4. Hold yourself accountable for sales goals.
What do you want to achieve?
Top salespeople are self-starters, but even self-motivated salespeople run into times where it’s hard to kick-start their own engines.
If you know what you want but are having a hard time staying committed to the game plan for achieving your goal, the answer is to implement a system to hold yourself accountable.
Let’s say you’d like to set a goal of booking one appointment per day.
What is your mindset right now? It’s most likely that you want to take actions to increase your odds of reaching your goal of one appointment per day on a more consistent basis…but you’re having a hard time staying motivated to do everything that’s necessary to achieve that goal.
Here’s a sample system to hold yourself accountable:
Step 1: Break up all the automotive social selling “activities” that you must do in order to hit your goal into specific categories such as:
- Content creation and posting
- Building online reviews
- Engaging with your network
- Asking for the appointment
Step 2: Determine what your goals are on a daily/weekly basis for each category, then break down what you must do for each category.
Example #1: Content publishing
Minimum of X amount of posts per week
Minimum of X amount of replies to comments per day
Minimum of X amount of shares (with commentary) per week
Minimum of X amount of new prospects per day/week
Minimum of X amount of first time contacts per day/week
Minimum of X amount of follow-ups per day/week
And so on…
Step 3: Set 30+ minutes aside every week (on the same day each week) to go over your progress in each category. Always review your previous week’s goals before moving on to what you hope to accomplish in the next week.
Consistency builds momentum.
Bonus: Get a Partner!
Studies show that when you have to answer to someone else, your results tend to increase. Pick a partner – friend, co-worker, spouse, etc. – and hold each other accountable!
When you know you’re going to have to meet regularly and explain why you did or did not achieve your goals, you’ll find that extra motivation to make sure you hit the mark.
5. Document the good you do.
This isn’t just a social selling tactic, it’s a selling tactic. Social media just helps you get the word out.
One of the factors that makes up your value is how you choose to give back to your community.
- Volunteer work
- Church events
- School sports
- Support your cause via social media
The people, projects, causes and organizations with which you are affiliated help define who you are.
Aside from feeling good and giving you personal satisfaction, giving back can help you build your professional network. Whether it’s donating money to a charity or volunteering your time to a cause that’s important to you, this type of deed reinforces your value. You can highlight your charitable deeds to attract positive attention. People remember selfless acts.
Share images and video of your participation in these activities on social media. Broadening your network can only mean more opportunities to show people who you are and what you do.
Do you sell cars? Want to sell more? Grab your Ultimate FREE Guide to Social Media for Car Salespeople today!