Tips for making sure your strategy pays off
Dealers are putting too much emphasis on social media and it’s not healthy for the stores, the consumers, or the industry, but marketing is not the problem. Despite the fact that most dealerships are still operating with an old marketing paradigm, most dealers are fairly decent marketers. They manage large budgets and achieve predictable results with acceptable ROI.
The biggest problem hindering most stores is that they don’t deliver on their marketing promises. Our industry standard for customer service is doing just enough to get the job done, but it stops way short of creating an experience customers can rave about.
Think about these points:
· Is the foursquare you use in your write-up process designed for optimal customer experience or just to maximize gross?
· If a customer asks for the price or payments on a vehicle, is it hard for them to get a straight answer? Are your sales people trained in evasive tactics?
· Are your sales people paid in a way that motivates them to maximize gross at the expense of the customer experience?
· How long does it take to get through the finance office?
· Is your trade evaluation process transparent?
These are examples of common pain points within dealerships that hinder customers from truly loving you. It may sound crazy, but if you were to bring your mom down to the dealership to buy a car, would you subject her to your normal sales process?
Social media is about efficient communication. People now share information, and the power of “word of mouth” has tremendous marketing implications for all of us. Most dealerships, however, don’t give the customers something good to talk about. The most effective social media strategy is doomed if your dealership doesn’t operate “customer-first” all the time.
Any effective social media or marketing strategy that attracts customers to a dealership but is not customer focused is like taking aspirin to cure a disease. It may make you feel better, but it’s not a cure. Are you looking to cure your dealership of its current shortcomings or are you still into chasing shiny objects, just because they’re cool?
There is a massive opportunity today for dealers willing to be innovative with their marketing. If you are heavily involved in the social media sphere, and continue to refine your operations process to provide amazing customer service, your customers will start marketing for you. Once you do that, the sky is the limit.
Today’s social media marketing geniuses pair excellent marketing with brilliant operations. But killer success comes from the alignment of your marketing with dealership’s true value proposition—excellent customer service.
So, do you have what it takes to be a rock star? Most in business operate at the status quo and try and dress things up in fancy marketing. Innovate at the operations level and pair that with killer marketing and you will become the rock star.
What’s keeping you from rock star status? My guess is it’s not what you are saying on Twitter or sharing on Facebook, but whether or not you’re giving your customers something to talk about.
Jared Hamilton is the founder of DrivingSales.com, the world’s largest automotive social network. For more information, visit www.DrivingSales.com.
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