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Dealers: Don’t Fear Social Selling; Embrace It!

At this very instant, there are vehicle salespeople on Facebook enjoying 25 or more sales a month just by talking about their accomplishments and taking pictures of their lunch. Marketing themselves via Facebook has made a huge difference in their results and all they’ve had to do is allow a huge intrusion into their lives, give up much of their privacy, and be ready to tell anyone and everyone that they love selling cars.

Welcome to new-school networking.

In the past, dealers and managers had no problem embracing and endorsing the old-school networking activities of their salespeople; though today, many are resisting their teams’ attempts to dive headfirst into social networking as a way to sell more cars.

Social networking, just like old-fashioned networking, can help motivated salespeople deliver stellar results. Some dealers are afraid that if they allow their salespeople to develop huge online networks of potential buyers, they’ll take these buyers with them when they leave.

Rest assured nervous dealer, they will indeed take their buyers with them when they leave. Of course, if you support and embrace their efforts, they’re less likely to leave. You see, they’re going to sell socially with or without you; so, you’d better get on board.

Social Selling Is Real

While Facebook has made it nearly impossible for your dealership’s organic posts to gain much traction, salespeople who leverage their personal Facebook accounts can enjoy thousands of views and hundreds of Likes, Shares and comments on their content.

When your salespeople employ social selling correctly, you’ll start noticing people showing up at your dealership telling the salesperson, “I saw you on Facebook; can you help me?” In other words, your salespeople will begin driving their own Up Bus!

Beyond what social selling can do for the hardest working salespeople in your organization, it’s an often overlooked, though extremely fruitful way to occupy a bored salesperson’s time, as well. Sales managers wanting to motivate those in the smoking circle could do much worse than encouraging them to begin generating their own Ups via Facebook Live (and other social media channels/tools).

Social Selling is Free

Done right, social selling shouldn’t cost you anything. While top social sellers may occasionally pay to have their posts seen in their market, this is not a requirement of social selling. There are plenty of social sellers today who use the tools they already own (their iPhone and a selfie stick), use their existing social media profile, and perhaps add a free tool or two (like to help them profitably sell to buyers they’ve never met. There will be buyers who show up to the dealership and ask for them by name, just because someone shared their post.

Many of these buyers genuinely believe they have a friend in the car business all because they connected online; and this changes the car-selling dynamic in your favor.

The typical consumer today – one without a friend in the car business – finds a car they like online at a price they think is fair. They’ve discovered value and relevancy; now they need to try to buy it. They might pick up the phone, complete an online form, or they might just walk on your lot. Regardless of how they came to you, they’ve already found what they want. In these cases, your grosses are (for the most part) controlled by the market because you couldn’t build the value in the traditional sense.

When the consumer has a friend in the car business, they often go to that friend first with just a general idea about what they want. They trust their friend to find value and relevancy, because the friend has already proven their authenticity. In these cases, the salesman-friend can make a fair profit on the vehicle because, well, they’re friends. When done right, social selling (just like old-fashioned networking) makes the salesperson everyone’s friend in the car business.

Social Selling is Control

Unlike with expensive, near-anonymous digital marketing, social selling allows your team to stay in control of their opportunities from beginning to end. They will often make connections with prospects who are high in the sales funnel and guide them into your dealership on a mutually-agreeable timeline.

As I wrote, they’re going to do this with or without you; but, when you embrace these efforts, your social sellers are happy to have your support and will allow you to dictate many of the terms of what is and is not acceptable to post online. They’ll also be more likely to include their prospects in the CRM earlier in the process and less likely to take their social selling efforts across town.

Plus, dealers who’ve embraced social selling see fewer salespeople standing around complaining about the empty Up Bus, the lack of television spots or the “crappy” inventory. No one has time to complain in these stores; they’re too busy selling cars to their newfound Facebook friends!

Good (Social) Selling!

Steve Stauning
Steve Stauning
Founder, Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers; as well as a respected automotive industry veteran and founder of pladoogle, LLC – a leading training & consulting firm – and the free sales video training website Prior to his involvement with pladoogle, Steve served in various automotive leadership roles, including as the Asbury Automotive Group’s (NYSE: ABG) director of ecommerce, the director of the Web Solutions division of Reynolds & Reynolds, and as the general manager of Dealer Web Services for Dominion’s Dealer Specialties.

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