January always feels like a new beginning. One of the things I do this time of year is reach out to the people I haven’t spoken to in a while just to see how they’re doing. Having run dealerships for years, I have a lot of friends who used to work with me and I’ve always been a natural networker. I was inspired by something someone said during one of my recent conversations. My friend said, “When you left, we were sad. Now that time has passed, we all walk around saying it was so much better when Kathi was here.” I was so humbled by her remark. I learn from every single relationship I have, including each client I work with. I’m grateful for my relationships and each one inspires me. What would happen if we could all leave indelible marks like this in our sales relationships?
Great relationships are an important element to our personal happiness. People buy from people. If we can nurture our relationships on an ongoing basis, a steady stream of revenue flows through our business. This lack-luster economy has forced us to see that experiences and relationships are imperative to our business. It’s no coincidence that technology has supported this shift and Social Media has connected us in ways we never thought. For dealers and their staff, business networking has never been easier.
Social Media delivers your marketing messages to the community you’ve created on each Social network. In business networking principles, you know that a valuable member of your community is the repeat buyer. They have Social influence in the community and persuade others in a Social environment. Word-of-mouth is what we’ve always called it but it’s so much more today because technology has greased the wheels. Influence marketing is less about argument and coercion to a particular point of view, and more about loose interactions between members of a community. Influence is often equated to advocacy, as loyal happy repeat buyers will tell your story for you to their friends and family.
A winning Social Media strategy is to reach out and engage your influencers.
Take the time to identify which customers rave about you. Engage them on the networks where they live. For today’s customers, this means Facebook and Twitter. We used to rely on TV and radio to reach out to the masses but that doesn’t work anymore. Too many people tune out your advertising messages and it’s simply impossible to blanket every medium with a message that reaches who you want it to reach. Dealers now must meet the customer where they are to sustain that treasured relationship.
Remarkable relationships create steady revenue. Your sales people and your service advisors work with influencers everyday. They know where the gold is so it’s now a matter of training them to foster those relationships using the technology and strategies that rose out of this recession. Automotive Social business is how we succeed in 2012. Are you ready?