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Joe Webb

Joe Webb Founder / Trainer

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What is Your Internet Sales Religion? Baptized at Birth or Born Again?

 

What is Your Internet Sales Religion… Baptized at Birth or Born Again?

You are on DrivingSales and attempting to learn (or share) the latest best practices of automotive Internet sales and digital marketing.  You have seen the light.

What brought you to this level of enlightenment is a different story.  We all have found our own paths, but there are only two primary denominations that we all follow.  You’ve been either “Baptized at Birth” or “Born Again”.

Being “Baptized at Birth” means that you came into this industry fully evolved and supportive of eCommerce initiatives.  You were a ‘connected’ individual and immediately understood the Internet could bring around an opportunity to change the culture of our industry.  You were already steeped in the online landscape and foresaw the powerful effect that the online medium would bring to the car business.

If you weren’t “sold” on Internet initiatives from the beginning, but are now, then you have been “Born Again”.  It could be that you simply have been in the industry long before Internet was prevalent.  You may have fought its arrival on your showroom floors, resented the customers walking in with loads of information from the online sites, or maybe you were simply hesitant to jump aboard the newest trends.  One way or the other, you saw the error of your ways, renounced your previous beliefs and have sought guidance and shelter under the sanctity that is eCommerce.  You are 100% dedicated to the medium now and bask in the warm glow that it shines upon us.

Everyone on here who knows me by know has heard of my history.  And many times this question will answer itself by either your age or how long you’ve been in the industry (or if you were hired directly into an Internet position.)  These upcoming questions are more relevant for those who began on the sales floor and in the fixed ops departments of dealerships, yet now represent the new culture of dealership employee, but I’d be interested in hearing your story.

Now I ask you… which one are you?  Were you Baptized at Birth or Born Again?  If you were Born Again, what was the deciding factor or instance that made you realize you needed to enter into the revival tent and join a new sect? 

Moreover, which people do you feel had it tougher?  Was it those Baptized at Birth that came in preaching about the medium, but not able to sell the people in the pews on the benefits…always fighting for buy-in?  Or was it the Born Again that embraced the medium a little later and had to rewire their thinking and understanding of how the world works to bring Internet into their homes and hearts?  Who had it easier and who had it tougher?

Tell us your story and give us a testament to your proud Internet sales religion.

Bill Simmons
Great post Joe. I consider myself a little of both. I believe I was "Baptized at Birth" to be in the car business. From a very early age everyone commented on my personality and abilty to deal with people. My first exposure to the retail car business cane in high school. One of my buddies Dad was a used car manager at a local dealership. He paid us $20 bucks and bought us lunch for driving cars back and forth to the auction for him. That was big money to a teenager in the 70's. I sold my first car in 1978, a beautiful brand new Diamond Jubilee Edition Thunderbird. Were some of you reading this even around in 1978? These were fun times in the car business. We managed to sell quite a few cars. We had to handwrite bank contracts, imagine that. I have always been one to look for a better more efficient way of accomplishing smething. I could see very early on when internet connections and desktop computers started making there way into showrooms. Most were scared of them. I loved them and wanted to know everything I could learn about them. How do they work? How can they make all of our lives easier? So, being one to embrace whatever new technologies came our way has been a great asset in growing my career in the car business. My "Born Again" stage happened a little over a year ago. On the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, I suffered a pretty major heart attack. Major meaning I was dead and they had to hit me with the paddles a few times to bring me back. Later that night after all of the excitement in the ER and the operating room, my Dr came up to check on me. I told him that I was in a little bit of pain, and that I was sure that he had something he could give me to help with that. I also told him, "Dr Martarosian, I'm a car dealer and it is Memorial Day weekend and I have to be at work on Monday, so I need you to get me outta here tomorrow" I look back on that now and realize what a crazy statement that was. Gold ole Doc Martarosian, very professionally, told me what a crazy statement that was. He told me that I was not going to work on Monday, or at all that next week because they were going to keep me for observation. And once he released me to go home, he was going to order me to stay out of work for at least 4 weeks. Wow! This guy just told this 30+ year veteran of the car business, who is used to the grind that our business can put one through, that I could not work for 6 weeks. This is the "Born Again" part of my story. In very short order after gettng home from the hospital, I found myself bored to tears and climbing the walls. But my revelation came when I decided to use this time off as productive as I could. I have always wanted to learn more about digital marketing and making my dealership function better in that department. But I did not know where to start. I used this time off from work and taught myself how to use Twitter. I started following different car guys, both dealers and vendors. I actually did more lurking than tweeting, watching there posts to see who else I could follow to learn something from. It is there that I first heard of this forum and decided to join, as well as Dealer Refresh and ADM. I went from being depressed because doctors orders were keeping me away from my store, to excited to have the time available to learn a new way of doing business and marketing my store. The real "Born Again" moment happened in August of last year. I saw tweets and posts about a SEO study that was going to be taught online by Brian Pasch. I got into the study on the next to last day of registration and it was an eye opening experience to say the least. I thought I knew a lot more than I did and realized just how far behind the times that I was. By now the doctor had released me to go back to work, with the strict orders that I work no more than 30 hours per week. What? I'm used to doing that in 3 days. Anyway, I followed his orders, used the time that he allowed me, to spend time in my office viewing the SEO study webinars and doing my homework. And I am glad that I did. That study opened so many doors for me to meet and network with some great internet and digital marketing managers from all over the country. And the wealth of information that they were willing to share was mind blowing. I remember back in the early days of my career, car dealers wanted to keep everyting a secret. There was no sharing of information, best practices or best ideas. And to fast forward to now, with these forums, the remarkable people that I follow on Twitter, and have met at conferences, it has truly been a "Born Again" experience. If there is one thing that I have learned from my personal experience, is that there is a tremendous need for training. I applaud youself, Jared, Brian and many more who have made educating dealers a platform. Sorry for the long post, but wanted to be as thorough as I could to relate what it is like to "Born Again". Literally.
Joe Webb
Bill, never apologize for a long post, especially one that is this personal. This should be a story able to fit on the back of a business card because, as car sales people, we need to connect and be an open book. I appreciate you sharing this with us. Keep on fighting the good fight...hopefully without the need of paddles, though.

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