For an automotive salesperson, the most lucrative opportunity to ignite your sales is to tap into your personal power base. Your power base is composed of all the people you know or are connected to in some way.
“Oh,” you probably say, “I don’t want to bother my friends and family.” That is a ridiculous attitude. If you believe in your product or service, you have an obligation to tell your network first, and keep reminding them often.
When I first got into sales, I spent every bit of my time and energy trying to sell to people I didn’t know – cold prospects. Then one day, my uncle told me he had just purchased a vehicle from a competitor. When I asked why he didn’t buy it from me, he replied, “I didn’t know you sold vehicles.”
That day, I swore to myself that I would never let this happen again. As a salesperson, you must leverage your personal power base – your family and friends – first. This is much more effective than working with strangers and cold contacts.
Write Every Name You Can Think Of
First, make a list of every person you know, starting with those closest to you. Begin with your spouse or partner; then expand to your kids, your aunts and uncles; and keep spreading out from there. Then, continue on with your friends, associates, teachers and business contacts. Write down the name of the owner of the place where you buy lunch once a week, and of anyone with whom you have ever made contact. Just make your list, and worry later about exactly how you will reach these people.
The saying “It takes money to make money” is simply not true. It ought to be: “It takes contacts to make contracts.” Use the following three tips to network your power base and make those contracts.
Promote Like A Politician
Your everyday routines offer a way to capitalize and grow your power base. For example, I recently had a meeting with a bank to talk about refinancing some real estate. I shared my business card with everyone with whom I came in contact, from the guy who parked my car to the receptionist to the bank president. I even gave my card to the folks at the nearby sandwich shop.
I said the same thing to each person: “If I can ever do anything for you, please give me a call.”
Let people know what vehicles and services your dealership can provide, and all of the many reasons they should visit your store immediately. Even if they don’t need a new car or tune-up right now, once you get them to your dealership, you can find out about their real problems and offer real solutions.
Get your pitch right and operate like a politician running for office. Make a commitment to being out there shaking hands, giving out business cards, making friends, kissing babies and taking an interest in everyone you meet.
Be Omnipresent On Social Media
Every day I use social media to get attention, pay attention, ask questions and find people who may be interested in what I am doing.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Medium, Facebook Mentions and LinkedIn have changed the way we get known. If I don’t know you, I won’t pay you. Plus, it is now possible for automotive salespeople with no budget but a lot of desire, motivation and creativity to not only create a power base but also become a celebrity in their space.
Today, I will Tweet more than 20 times, post on three different Facebook pages, do a Facebook Mention that will reach more than 100,000 people, create a Facebook Q&A that will reach more than 40,000 people in four hours, respond to dozens of online comments, write blogs for LinkedIn and Medium, and post some videos to YouTube. I do this every single day, and sometimes I do much more. You need to be fully committed.
I also keep my eye on trending social media topics. For example, one day I saw #WhatBrokePeopleSay trending on Twitter, so I started banging out related Tweets like: “Money doesn’t make people happy.” It only took a few seconds of my time. Then, about every 15 minutes I posted new Tweets on the topic while making calls to people on my power base list – even those to whom I had already reached out. In a very short period of time, with no investment other than my creativity, I got attention for my brand, engaged with followers and added new followers to my power base.
Try looking up trending topics for your market and think of some creative ways to capitalize on them. Something for #WhatBrokePeopleSay could be, “New cars just aren’t worth it.” This is how I have amassed more than 700,000 likes on Facebook, 340,000 followers on Twitter, 103,000 YouTube subscribers and 466,000 followers on Google+ in just a few years. It takes a willingness to be engaged. In that time alone, I’ve posted more than 72,500 Tweets.
Never Stop Working Your Power Base
Once you spark interest and connect – or reconnect – don’t quit. Never stop following up, whether the person is sold or unsold.
I have a prospect who hasn’t been quite ready to do business. I had to figure out very creative ways over a period of eight months to stay in contact with him. One month, I sent him a report that I thought would interest him. Then I sent a video for his staff’s sales meeting. Another month I checked in using a text, and then asked if he would contribute to my blog.
The next time I called him, I asked, “When are we going to do business? You know I won’t quit until we do.” I still haven’t gotten his business, but I am growing my power base and I won’t quit until he’s a customer.
You can use all of the follow-up techniques I’ve mentioned and more to stay in contact with your power base – your warm contacts, cold contacts and anyone else you want to see your product or service.
Light up your power base and keep it lit by turning those you know and meet into screaming fans. Become exceptional in building and growing your power base, and you will never be without opportunity.