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VJ VJ eCommerce Director

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Written by Volker Jaeckel (a.k.a. VJ)

Who has recently heard from their peers, friends, colleagues one of the following statements, and if so please raise your hand:

“We need to get on Facebook” or “What are you tweeting?”

And? Do I see a hand? C’mon, don’t be shy now. You are a car sales guy, and I guess you have had chosen this brilliant career, because you a) want to make a good living, and b) YOU LOVE TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE, right?! So why is it then that you are still trying to figure out why and if “YOU” should join the buzz around the Facebook and Twitter phenomenon? May be the list below will make some impact and can convince you that it is never too late. I have listed the Top 10 Great Opportunities you and your dealership will have, when joining the Social Networking Circle. Let the party begin – Let’s join the circle of trust: 1. Branding Opportunity: Here you have the opportunity to be consistent in the face with your logo, pictures, name; slogan etc. when you actively engage in one or more of these social networks – the good thing -it won’t cost you a dime. 2. Specialist Opportunity: What an opportunity to get your advice, your particular Unique Selling Proposition in front of your potential customers. Example: You’ve a collision center attached to your dealership and all certified mechanics received highest OEM certification scores – then talk about it. 3. Human Capital Opportunity: When you still have real human beings running your dealership then see that you put their names and face out there. People are still buying from people. So why not having your key sales and service advisor people having their own Business related fan pages at Facebook? 4. Transparency Opportunity: This tip connects with the prior idea. Ever wondered why service customers are suspicious about charges and time their spent during their service visit? May be giving them (customers) an opportunity to learn more about the work performed on their car. I hear about dealerships having initialized a YouTube Channel dedicated to routine maintenance jobs only to help the customers to understand, what kind of work and time really goes into it. Check this company here out (YouTube Video), which specializes in Car Stereo, gives their potential customers installation tips, and believe me, when you see how much work this really is, you possible end up to bring it to them, because they know how to do it. 5. Reputation Opportunity: Are you known as a family dealership with an extensive record of loyal customers coming back year after year? Then please engage with these loyal customers and friends directly and ask them to do you a favor and to leave a “raving fan” review “how perfect the whole car buying process” at your dealership was. Guide them with links directly to sites like yelp.com, dealerrater.com and others. 6. The “Good Guy” Opportunity: Planning a promotion or an event for a Good Cause? Distribute your Event message to these Social channels. People love to be engaged in being a part of a Good Cause. Let them know what you have planned in particular. For BMW dealership as an example, the year by year occurring Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation - DRIVE FOR THE CURE is this kind of an opportunity to show your community that you indeed care. Each Mile driven throughout the Nation’s BMW franchises will be honored by BMW North America with $1/per mile driven. Year after Year, Millions of Dollars finding their way to the research laboratories to get closer to defeat this terrible disease. 7. Huge SEO Opportunity: Thinking about writing a dealership blog, a journal, dedicated to your cars and service you are selling. If so, and you show all theses nice pictures of new upcoming models, include some spy photos you gathered from other online communities and car enthusiast sites – please – DO NOT FORGET to link particular keywords, pictures and even phrases to 3rd party sites and of course here and there to your inventory pages. Because a new blog post is a relevant “news article” in the eyes of the search engines, clever linked words or images will raise far much faster and further up than just your “static” dealership website. Your-Digital-Autobahn-Blog-of-Volker-Jaeckel This particular example shows the search text “2011 BMW 5 Series Atlanta”, assuming a Georgia resident was looking on Google for this new upcoming model. May be he could find a few more info and picture on it, and even could nail down a dealership with pricing information…the picture will tell the story…My BMW Blog, which I had started for the BMW dealership I worked for catapulted us almost every time on page one in all kind of Search Engines and generated all-in-all more than 130.000 unique visitors in a time frame of less than 15 months. Can you imagine now, now SEO and Social are inseparable twins? 8. Business Intelligence Opportunity: What is my competition doing? Are they doing anything? What are they talking about? Well, Internet Managers are pretty familiar with this candor due to their (hopefully) contingent routine to “mystery shop” the competition. Now with several Social Media tools and Google Alerts you have a vaster array of opportunities to find out when, what, how, who and where things “are cooking” and you may have the chance to react even faster on their moves. 9. One Hit Wonder Opportunity: It always comes to my mind when I think about how dealers I have had worked for in the past suddenly need to have their clerks printing out hundreds of pages of the dealership’s Lease Returns lists. Did we miss here something in the past? Did we forget about the customer, who got her new car from us 36 months ago? Why did we not do a better job in winning her as a new “fan” at the time she was leaving the lot? Here is our chance to make these “one hit wonders” to a “record platinum album”, as soon the customer leaves the lot we need to a) send out an email as a thank you note in combination with the question to have them send you a picture of them and their new ride in front of their drive-way”. When you get a response and hopefully a picture, post it on your dealers/sales person’s Facebook, and then again share it with the customer, who had just helped you to create content. Invite them to be part of the “happy xyz dealership owners club”, which comes automatically with the benefits of free car washes at each service visit and special seasonal offers on maintenance. Throughout your constant engagement and follow-up with this former “one hit wonder” clientele, you earn over the period of time to ask for referrals, which I know will come easy after you pampered your new fan. 10. Fishing Opportunity: One of my heroes’ - Chris Brogan, author and renowned “Trust Agent” is talking about “Fish where the Fish are”. I remember times when our sales manager sent out his cohort of sales people to the close by mall and hand out Business Cards, with the catchy lines of “Hi, I am Peter, and I am a Car Sales Guy. When you and somebody you know is in need for a new car…here is my card.” Wow – how crazy is that? Sounds to me like going dynamite fishing on the Hudson River. The fish which will show up after the detonation was already dead due to pollution. Instead try to fish a little bit smarter. With Twitter, and/or other car enthusiasts forums you’ll be able to follow conversation, which are taking place near to you and your city, b) where people are speaking about your Make and Models you sell and c) where “tweeple” (the citizens of Twitter) actually starting to follow you! Yes you, the only thing what you need to do is to engage in their conversation. It doesn’t matter if you comment on their posted car photo, answer a question about car specs or just contribute with a worthwhile news article link about the new Hybrid path your OEM is willing to take. PLEASE PROMISE ME ONLY ONE THING!! Do not talk (when you are going "social") about your great inventory you have on your lot, your huge sale you are having this weekend or that the 0.9% APR financing ends this evening. Social Media is not a Monologue. Remember the old sales training phrase: “Shut Up and Listen!”
VJ...released first on SocialMediaBuzzer - by Volker Jaeckel (a.k.a. VJ)

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