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Tom White Jr.

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Twitter, Facebook, myspace, text messages, and the like have changed the way we communicate with each other. Gone are the days where we have hours to get our points of emphasis across to our customers. This presents some serious challenges for all of us. Now, we have but seconds to communicate our selling propositions. Our customers have become accustomed to this "nano-second" communication and we must follow suit in order to be competitive. Over the years, we were taught to communicate without the use of slang and industry jargon, but now the game has suddenly changed. LOL, WTH, BRB, IMHO, : ), ; ), P ), have all replaced normal english as an effective means of communication. If you don't know what these various symbols mean, you better catch on fast. It's a new language that we must all master. The real challenge becomes how do we communicate in this environment while still being professional and credible? This shortened communication span makes the use of sarcasm, humor, and basic rapport building techniques very dangerous. While many of us have experienced a several paragraph email being mis-interpreted, 140 character strings of verbage can be a very terrifying reality. The rub is that our customers expect us to communicate in this environment. They expect us to respond to text messages. They expect us to communicate the way THEY do (short, sweet, and to the point). AND they expect us to give them INFORMATION. How do we do this without crossing the line and doing more harm than good? The further complication is that in this environment, a poorly stated opinion or post can seriously jeapordize your dealership/company's reputation you worked so hard to attain in the first place. The fact is, Dealer Principals, GM's, and all of upper management needs to dive into this "social media" thing with both feet. While it was a cute and interesting phenomenon as little as months ago, it has now become a crucial means to be successful in business today. While I don't have all or even any of the answers, I think it is an important enough subject to discuss and debate. What say you?

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