CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
Today is the anniversary marking your fifth year as a car sales guru. You are walking around feeling proud to be working for one of the largest dealerships in the entire state. You have just completed your product knowledge training on the Ford lineup as you gaze at the top performing sales plaque where your name is on that plaque 38 times in the last five years.
Then you look at the sales board and you only have 3 units out and it’s the 23 of the month now you start to sweat and start wondering what has happened to all the customers that use to drive right on to the lot ready to buy. You corner your sales manager in the sales tower and tell him the advertising is all wrong and that the ad agency needs help and you have the answers. You go on to say “We need to run a page buster in the newspaper on Wednesday when people are getting the newspaper for the grocery store coupons and we need to run in the sports section on Monday with an ad of saying come see me I have been here for 5 years and I know how to treat customers, we also need to run a crawl on the bottom of the local weather channel.”
The sales manager then dismisses you and asks what time is the delivery today for the F250.
Well all of those ideas could have been good ideas in 2005 but it is now 2009 and a lot has changed in 4 short but fast years and I am sorry to inform you, all of those ideas are as old and worthless as the 8 track cartridges you have stored in the basement thinking there might be a use for them one day.
The shoppers to the dealers lot are “not going to ever increase” no matter how much money a dealer spends in newspaper, radio, TV, or even ONLINE! In fact the shoppers that drive on to the lot are actually going to decrease over the coming months and years and the reason for this is simple... The Internet! It is convenient and painless to shop for a car online. The consumer now has the power and you as a sales person need to find a way to prospect for new customers.
Don’t worry this is not a bad thing and in fact it is a Wonderful Thing for YOU as a car salesperson. Why? In the old days “2005” your income was directly related to where your dealership was located geographically, how aggressive the dealer was in radio, newspaper, TV, direct mail, the inventory in stock and a few other factors. But now you as a sales person can become a lead generating sales machine. You now have more reach and power than the local newspaper! Let me repeat this... You as an individual car salesperson in any town across the country has more reach than the local newspaper that charges thousands of dollars to run ads that are not generating the results they use to.
So let’s get started in helping you drive more leads so you can once again look at the sales board to see your name on top with 20+ vehicles delivered and 11 days are left in the month BUT let me warn you...This is going to take effort on your part. Actually a lot of effort but if you are dedicated it will pay off ten fold and it will be fun once you get into it. One last note this is a multipart series to keep in simple so be sure to sign up for our RSS feed and if you are unsure what that is then sign up for our email newsletter.
First Step: Make sure you have access to the following sites and if you don’t then corner your Dealer Principal and tell him/her you need access and if they don’t provide access then put in your two weeks notice and go somewhere else that understands the importance of what I am going to share with you. It is the present and it is your future income! If your Dealer Principal is confused have them call me and I will explain it is also their income they are holding back.
Second Step: Does your dealership provide email access and can you check it from anywhere if so you are good to move on to the next step. If not then proceed to Google and set-up a gmail account. I suggest using your name e.g. email@example.com so you can begin to brand yourself. I know some dealers want you to brand them which my reply is people buy from people and you want your new customers to remember your name which in turn will benefit the dealership since they will connect faster with an individual than they will with ABC Ford.
Third Step: Set up a Facebook Page for yourself, I know you think it is for kids well guess again. Facebook’s fastest growing age group is 30 years old plus and they are adding members at a pace of 600,000 per month with expected growth of 200 Million in the near future. Ok so get that Facebook page set up and don’t be a cheese ball and say “ewwww I don’t want to add them as a friend, I did not like them in school” everyone is a car buyer and this is a numbers game so work it! Do your best to add everyone from High School, College, and be sure to search for two years prior and after your graduation dates. Search for old employers and find those people. Get that stack of business cards you have shoved in the drawer and search for those people, add them, add them all.
Note: when requesting friendships it will have the captcha code that is hard to read so click the verification link in that box and send a text message to your cell phone to avoid that in the future.
Ok back to adding friends, search your files for past customers and add them. You can search by name or by email address. Search for people in your area and see who you find that you know.
Complete all of your information, add your photo, add your contact info, include your dealership, include the website url to your dealership, put your cell phone number in the profile and connect with all of your contacts. Let them know you are on Facebook and write on their wall. Catch up with them and PLEASE DON’T SPAM them. Don’t try to sell on Facebook just connect with old friends, make new friends and let them know where you are if they are ever in the market to buy a car to let you know. AGAIN PEOPLE BUY FROM FRIENDS. Update your status that you are at work, you are excited to test drive the new blank model that just arrived. Comment on friends walls, comment on their photos, be complimentary, be fun, and work it. Will this take a lot of time... not at all. 30 minutes per day. 10 mins in the am, 10 mins mid-day, 10 mins before you leave. Communicate, don’t abuse and network and the return will be tenfold. To be continued...