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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Larry Bruce

Larry Bruce Founder / President / CEO

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On The Point… The New One

Monday morning I am sitting at my computer with my peripheral vision on my twitter feed when I see @jimziegler tweet “Alpha dog is on the point”. Now I have seen this tweet before and not really thought about it too much until someone tweets back “jim what is the point?” Now to set this up for you people that haven’t sold cars in a dealership before the point is a place on the lot usually around where the customers park where all of the salespeople will congregate and wait for an up (if you don't know what an up is ask someone who sells cars, can’t explain every car term not enough time or room on this post).

That’s  when an interesting analogy occurs Jim’s tweet back “I am on social media communicating with my customers and friends” and it hits me Social Media is the new “Point” for your dealership, the “Virtual Point”.

Now instead of the salespeople out on the physical “Point” smokin and Jokein they are on the “Virtual Point” communicating and updating friends and customers on happening in the dealership and their lives, which if you have ever sold cars retail you would understand they are one in the same.

On this same day I read a blog post “Are You Building A Social-Ready Organization” in this pot the author Alan See Says “At a high-level social media marketing is about influencing the customer experience by engaging in dialogue with the customer in order to build a trusted relationship over time.”

Again I think back to my basic car training:

Step 1 – Meet & Greet , now look at Alan’s statement above “Influencing the customers experience by engaging in dialogue with the customer” same thing.

Step 2 – Establish Common ground – Now look at the rest of Alan’s statement “In order to build a trusted relationship over time” again same thing.

Now anyone that has ever sold cars knows that if you don't get these two you're not likely to sell the car and even if you do it’s a mini commission and a bad CSI survey.

So think about what you are doing if you are a dealership that is blocking your salespeople from Facebook would you block them from the lot and the “Point”? If you are a salesperson who is not using social media will you go to the dealership tomorrow and not get out on the “Point”

How are you looking at this?

Jared Hamilton
Wow - great way to look at it. I was recently stuck in an airport terminal overnight due to an ice storm, the total delay was just under 15 hours. They wouldnt let us leave the terminal because taxis and shuttles were not even driving due to the unsafe conditions on the roads. It really sucked sleeping in the terminal, and the next morning when our flight continued to be delayed and the local crew was doing a poor job of getting information out I was able to reach someone at the airline on twitter. (It wasnt pretty, but I reached them) I thought a lot about that (hey - I was stuck in a terminal). I thought about if it was good that I was reaching out to them on social media where it was so public, or if I should go stand in line, wait on hold or use another traditional channel, but then I realized how frictionless it was to reach out via twitter and how that is why customers will always turn to social media. Its easy, its fast. There is little friction with social media. The airline did ok, but the bottom line is that we connected because they had someone on point. The point is where your customers are most likely to come into your dealership... and in todays digital world, being on point does me being on social media. I think the larger question is who at the dealership should be on poin? Any response from your store has to be right, and it has to be immediate. Who at the dealership is qualified and available to do this?
Larry Bruce
Jared excellent story and you are absolutely right. More and more customers will reach out through social because you don't have to look up a number, press a lot of buttons to get to a person or be on hold. As this happens more often what business and dealers need to understand is this is your time to shine to help the customer and prove you customer service value in a really public way. Doing that will buy you more customers than any $100,000 worth of advertising will ever get. As for who is qualified, well if you’re not qualified to be on point you have no business selling cars...period. It has long been my belief that there should be no more internet department’s just salespeople who are qualified to handle customer in all channels from lot to email. As a dealership body it is time to understand that the internet isn't a department in my dealership it is my dealership if you can't converse with customer the way they want to be conversed with then you can’t sell cars here. Availability is easy its in the palm of your hand there no channel you phone is not capable of communicating to.
Bart Wilson
@Larry, great post! In my opinion time management is one of the things that separates the elite performers from the rest of the pack. Knowing when to watch point, when to do follow up, etc is another skill. Salespeople now need to add Virtual Point to this list.
Larry Bruce
Amen Bart! I think we are comming to the point where as a salesperson in a dealership if you can't shag an up in the virtual world, communicate with them the way they want to be commuincted with and get them to the store you might as well get a job at McDonalds.

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