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Joey Little

Joey Little Vice President of Social Strategy

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Take Back Your Brand: Epic Customer Experience

Experience and Relationships are the Building Blocks of Your Brand

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Ask most people what they think of walking into a dealership to buy a new car, and you’ll get a variety of reactions rangingfrom nervous jitters to hyperventilation all the way to a raging case of hives—not exactly promising conditions for anyone, let alone for the salesperson who is left to attempt to sell a vehicle.  There are many reasons for the extreme reactions peoplehave when it comes to buying cars, but they all relate in some way to the sales process and what people perceive as high-pressure sales tactics.  Traditionally, people have come to expect high-pressure tactics whenever they head to the dealership,so what would happen if you were to surprise them and instead offer an environment where shoppers felt comfortable and at ease while purchasing a vehicle? 

By leveraging your employees’ social contacts and reaching out to friends and family—not through high-pressure sales, but instead by way of offering support, information, and assistance when the time comes to purchase—you can provide a more comfortable car-buying experience for shoppers.  In addition to the friends and acquaintances your employees already have,they can work to create an even larger network by building a brand based on trust, reliability, and a good reputation.  Whenyour dealership places a greater emphasis on building relationships rather than solely on the high-pressure sale, you will begin to build a loyal customer base that will return for repeat vehicle purchases, repairs, and maintenance.

Building relationships is a task that takes dedication, time, and above all—a plan.  Now, more than ever, your focus should revolve around an online platform and reaching out to potential customers on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. When customers walk into your dealership after having formed an online relationship with you, they will feel more at ease.  If you’re not exactly sure how to get started, we’ve put together a list of best practices and helpful tips so you can begin to create the EPIC CAR-BUYING EXPERIENCE for your customers:

  • Build an online community, starting with Facebook and Twitter.  Focus on these major game-changing sites first and ensureyou have profiles filled out for your dealership, complete with professional photos of your staff and information regardingyour business.  Don’t forget to link back to your website so that customers can easily navigate online.

  • Deliver quality content.  Be prepared to provide content your potential customers will find useful as they research online.  Remember the 80/20 rule when it comes to planning your content calendar.  Plan so that 80% of your content includes poststhat don’t promote your dealership; in other words, post content that is enlightening, entertaining, and just plain fun for your readers, but don’t hit them in the face with selling vehicles or service.  Save the other 20% of your content for promoting yourbusiness; post service specials, financing offers, or new inventory that might be of interest.  Consumers will be more likely to tune in to your posts and stay connected when they aren’t overwhelmed by constant selling.

  • Stay connected.  You are connecting with new people every day via your online social networks, and you will grow yourfollowing by continuing to post relevant content.  Be sure to post regularly.  One way to ensure this happens is to create and follow a content calendar, which can keep you organized and serve as a reminder to update your online networks.

  • Interact with the people in your networks.  Instead of always talking toward your audience, why not interact and talk withyour network?  Consider taking a poll, starting a conversation about a popular topic, or getting people involved in a friendly online competition.  These are all ways of asking your audience to participate with you and showing them you are interestedin what they have to say.

  • Read and engage with others’ posts.  Use your online networks as a resource and find out what people are thinking, whattheir opinions are on certain topics, and even what they are looking for when it comes to certain shopping experiences.  Occasionally even toss out some questions to get specific feedback—and listen intently to what consumers say.

You are making connections and maintaining friendships with your online social circles, and in turn, those individuals will feelmore comfortable when they set foot in your dealership because they will have a feeling they already know you.  Not to mention, every connection you make can result in word of mouth marketing that is priceless in the online marketing age.  Weall know that word spreads quickly, but especially online, it’s important to maintain your presence, be vigilant, and provide quality content so that consumers are able to share and drive even more shoppers to your site.

If you are a bit hesitant to jump into the social media realm and start planning your strategy, you need to remember that your competitors don’t share that hesitancy.  They are already using the power of social media to propel their dealerships to thenext level.  In fact, out of 10 small businesses today are using social media to expand their business growth, with out of 5of those respondents saying they have gained new customers by doing so.  Both from word of mouth advertising and by leveraging the already-existing relationships your employees have with their online connections, the possibilities are endlesswhen it comes to the business you can bring to your dealership.

With Facebook being the most visited social media siteyou can be sure your presence there (or lack thereof) has a huge impact on your business.  Additionally, it’s important to note that businesses on Twitter are thriving, with 53% of peoplerecommending companies and products on this site alone.  By increasing your online presenceyour dealership can focus on forming meaningful relationships with consumers and taking the necessary steps toward building a better bottom linethrough consumer trust and knowledge.  Remember, you are earning trust and building friendships, so that when potential customers step into your dealership, they will feel more at home, relaxed, and ready to do business.

Providing an epic buying experience is up to you.  In today’s social media marketing age, it starts by getting to know your customer online, becoming familiar with his or her needs, and offering relevant content that will educate and promote loyaltyto your brand.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It continues onto the showroom floor, and everything you do—from your initial online contact to your service at the dealership—must reflect your desire to provide the ultimate in customer care.  You are not just making a sale; you are building a relationship.

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