In the age of customer experience, successful salespeople have transitioned from an “always be closing” mindset to an “always be helping” mindset. In fact, the title of salesperson isn’t really an accurate reflection of what the job entails any more. A better title would perhaps be Trusted Advisor.
A Trusted Advisor earns their customers’ trust. The best way to accomplish this is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
How do your customers find a dealership and/or salesperson they can trust? Let’s say they’ve narrowed down their choices to one or two makes/models. They’re almost ready to buy and they want to find a dealership and a salesperson with a good reputation.
The most common methods that people use include:
- Reading online reviews
- Asking friends or family
- Asking for recommendations on their Facebook page or other social media
- Visiting the dealership website and reading the “About Us” page and the employee profiles
To win trust, you must have presence in all these places consumers are searching. These days, the best social marketer wins the customer!
Customer reviews that mention you by name are powerful social proof, but how do you get a customer to write an online review and mention you by name?
First, you must ask. Second, you must make it easy for them to write and post the review
One of the best times to ask for a review is while the customer is taking delivery. Ask if they would be willing to give a quick video testimonial that you can post on their (and your) Facebook page. Make it a fun video they will want to share with friends and family — you can increase its reach as they share it on their social media.
Another tactic is to send a series of emails; one immediately after the purchase, plus two more spaced out over the course of a month.
Don’t let the possibility of bad reviews prevent you from asking. In my opinion, if your reviews are all positive it can look suspicious to today’s consumers—we have grown accustomed to the possibility of false reviews and “review-padding” a la Amazon. The good news is, the more positive reviews you have, the less impact on your overall rating the few negative reviews have.
If you do get a negative review, the most important thing in the customer’s mind is how you respond. In fact, if you handle a negative review well and turn it around, this can have even more impact. The problem is, are you even aware of the review? If you don’t know and/or don’t respond, it makes it look like you don’t care; that you simply ignore your online reputation, indicating a lack of professionalism. Customers will simply move on to that salesperson that is doing a better job of marketing themselves online.
When you receive a bad review, take a moment to assess the review. Was the problem with you personally, or was it a problem with their overall experience, which may indicate a process problem? If it’s a process problem, you want to acknowledge and thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention, and then try to solve the problem, or make amends.
Studies by LinkedIn reveal that social sellers create 45 percent more opportunities. Social media is an amazing tool for those who know how to use it properly.
A traditional salesperson might view social media as an online billboard, where they can promote themselves. This is a surefire way to turn consumers off.
Be wise about your social media promotions and use the various platforms to offer car shoppers valuable insights and tips related to the car-buying process. Give the information for free, without expectation, via blog posts, photos and videos.
Occasionally, you may want to share posts about personal hobbies, interests and goals. Revealing your every-day human qualities will make you more likeable and interesting to the consumer.
Many dealerships fail to post pictures of salespeople on their websites. This is surprising, because this is one of the best ways to promote the brand and employees. When a customer visits your website, there’s a good chance they are close to deciding where to buy. Why not make the decision easy for them?
These days customers increasingly chose to do business with a particular salesperson, then the dealership. So, get your photos, videos and bios on your website and on social media platforms; especially Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Salespeople can no longer afford to loiter in the lot, waiting to close a deal. You must learn how to out-market your competitors and become the best social marketer there is.