Last year, I rolled out an online course on social selling for car salespeople. The idea for the course was born out of something simple: every time I would speak at a conference, I would get requests for it. Seems pretty promising, right? I was willing to create something knowing that it would be more of an information gathering expedition and proof of concept, than a revenue generator. I had been talking about it for a few years and had a good portion of it already created, so I took the plunge.
The course was chocked full of good info, the likes of which could turn any salesperson (selling cars or anything else) into an influencer in their own network.
I learned a lot (and now I know how to produce online courses!). I learned that self-starters and motivated self-improvers are a rare breed, and there are sadly too few of them but the journey provided me with a lot of information that I would not have learned otherwise.
I’m currently working on ways to repurpose the course material, (different audience, different demographic, different training model, etc.). Launching it helped me fine-tune its content and I’ll continue to use its core principles in my client work.
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What is social selling?
Social selling is a sales technique using social media to laser-target your prospecting and establish rapport through your existing connections to increase reach and ultimately meet or exceed your sales goals.
It’s being practiced by individuals but can also be taught through group training programs. It isn’t social platform specific, it’s a system utilizing all forms of digital communications to engage, develop rapport with potential prospects and close sales.
I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 most helpful automotive social selling tips, and these can be applied to nearly any product you sell, including yourself if you’re a consultant or coach. It’s been a challenging ride for the last couple years, and all data points to more uncertainty and pressure on sales volume. Now is the time to begin building your online authority.
1. Crush your sales goals with customer video testimonials.
A recommendation from someone still remains the most-trusted source of information to help buyers decide to purchase.
It’s pretty powerful to see and hear a loyal, happy customer’s feedback about their experience. Prospects feel more comfortable about their purchase knowing others had a great experience.
Video testimonials are extremely compelling and when amplified on social media, are a unique way to reinforce your credibility. A powerful video testimonial serves as an unparalleled testament to trustworthiness, and may even be the deciding factor that makes your deal.
2. Before you can “Always Be Closing,” you must “Always Be Helping.”
One of the most famous depictions of the 90’s era sales world 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 the team, 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.
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, as your prospect moves through their buying journey, is to provide resources and guidance as they attempt to solve a problem or quench a desire.
Always Be Helping.
With the transparency and availability of information online, including access to online reviews, car buyers are far savvier than they once were.
A vehicle purchase is one of the most stressful things a person experiences and making it easier for them brings you more business. The “Always Be Helping” mindset allows you to tailor your process to make the buying process as simple and easy as possible.
This doesn’t mean that salespeople are obligated to let prospects “control” the process. It means striking a balance with how your prospect wants the process to play out and tapping into your expertise to guide them in the right direction.
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 out-dated sales tactics on them often equates to the prospect going somewhere else.
3. Avoid the three most common social selling mistakes.
Mistake #1: Coming across as *just another* car salesperson.
Instead of selling the product, sell your UNIQUE value. Share content throughout the entire customer journey – from awareness to consideration, to purchase to after-care.
Take advantage of social media to build rapport with your prospects online, either through public conversations/posts, groups or in private messages, then offer solutions that lead to decisions.
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 likely scare them away.
Yes, your profile should highlight your experience and recognition, but it should devote more space to what you bring to the table when it comes to your prospects’ challenges.
The better way: Highlight your value. Show off your industry knowledge, your unique expertise and illustrate why customers buy from you.
Mistake #3: Making 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 your toe in the social selling water – and assuming people will seek you out – won’t net you the connections that will lead to more sales.
The better 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 tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Nimble CRM, you’ll get real-time updates on your connections, making it easier to engage.
4. Hold yourself accountable for social selling goals.
Step 1: Separate all the social selling “activities” that you need 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.
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.
5. Document the good you do.
This isn’t just a social selling tactic – it’s a selling tactic – social media just helps you amplify it.
One of the factors that makes up your UNIQUE value is how you choose to give back to your community.
- Volunteer work
- School sports
- Church events
- Support your cause via social media
The people, projects, causes and organizations with which you are affiliated help define who you are.
People remember selfless acts.
Use social media to highlight your charitable deeds to attract positive attention. Share images and video of your participation in these activities.
Aside from feeling good and gaining personal satisfaction, giving back can help you build your professional network by introducing you to an entirely new group of people. Broadening your network can only mean more opportunities to show people who you are and what you do.
PS: I wrote a free social selling guide. Depending on if you subscribed to my newsletter, you might have already received it. If you don’t have a copy, click here to download it.