Friday, May 15, 2009

Car Dealerships and Facebook. Looking out for the Customer. A Message to Dealers.

I recently read a post that encouraged car salesmen to create a Facebook account and friend request everyone they knew and those associated to who they knew in an attempt to sell cars. Even if you didn't get a long with that person in high school...friend request them want to sell them a car, don't you?

I've been watching this type of bullying in the car biz for 8 years now. Social networking will be, for some car dealers, the same vain attempt that E-mail campaigns are/were for those that just don't get it.

Why are dealerships getting involved in social marketing? To make money. They can reach a lot of people at a low cost.

So how do you accomplish this without being a bully? Start with a stark realization that it will take a lot of patience and effort to master a good social networking presence.

1. Get Educated.
Before you create a process get educated on what you are about to dive into. It's really important to know proper etiquette, or you'll end up with less loyal followers than you started with. Good buzz spreads fast, but bad buzz spreads like wildfire. Start your own Facebook or Twitter account so you know first hand how it works.

2. Get Connected.
Become a part of the community who's goal is not to abuse the social networking privilege. Good places to start are websites like Mashable, and by joining communities like Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community. Remember, no one person or source has the magic road map to social networking success.

3. Create a good process.
Map out what your customer or owner's journey looks like out there. Couple that with your new education on what's kosher etiquette out there. Then, add good content that is valuable to them and worth them sharing with their friends.

4. Dive in.
Get started. Create a fan site on Facebook. Here's an example. From there, add as you feel comfortable. Don't try to sell things on these sites. Be patient, genuine, and consistent in your message, and add good content.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How-to-buy-a-car Brainstorm...heads up busy moms!

OK, so when times get tough in the car business, customers become even more intimidated to walk onto a dealer's lot. I would be, too. Any salesperson that wants to keep his/her job right now is ready to tackle the first person that walks onto the lot. Can we blame them? They want your business. DON'T walk onto a dealership's lot unprepared. First, try my 5-step brainstorm.

Meg's 5-Step Brainstorm:

1. Your Top 5

Write down the top five cars that you like and the top 5 'must have' features the car must have.

2. Get Smart

Look up each vehicle on the manufacturer's site, and make sure the 5 cars on your list have the 5 'must have' features.

3. Let's Review

Online reviews. Google the remaining vehicles for reviews, etc. and edmunds are great places to start.

4. Support your local economy

Local Dealerships. Find them first. There's no sense driving out of town to find the 'best deal' when your local dealer is probably dying to do the same for you. Support your local economy.

5. Find the best deal

Contact your local dealership. If you can Instant Message them from their website, that's the best way to start your inquiry. There is someone well-trained on the other end to find your answers for you. Have them E-mail you a price quote that you can print out and bring to the dealership....and set an appointment! That way, someone is expecting you. You avoid the whole "attack of the salesperson in the parking lot" nightmare. Plus, that person that has just helped you find your best price most likely gets paid based on how many appointments they make.

How do you determine which local dealer to do business with? Who has made it the easiest for you? Dealers know better than to mess with customer's on price. They should answer your questions upfront, or know where to get the answers for you. If you feel like you are being bamboozled, than you probably are.

Good Luck! Let me know how it goes!

Cars Cars Cars

OK!OK!OK! I will blog! I've been nudged a zillion times and finally cave!
I'm a 3rd generation car career lifer. My grandfather worked for General Motors for 30 years, and so did my dad. My husband, a finance manager, is in his 12th year in the car biz, and our 1 year old has a battery operated vehicle. I think cars might just be in my blood.
8 years ago I started out at Enterprise Rent a Car after graduating from Ashland University, and ended up here at the Kasper Auto Group as Business Development Manager. What does that entail? A little bit of everything and a lot more than you think.
Instead of waiting for my 'dream job' to find me in my sleepy lake town, I choose to apply what I wanted my career to be to what I already did in order to live in the town I dreamed of raising a family in. It's sounds a lot more confident than I really am...Gen Y to the core, I guess. But, I suppose if others are clamoring for me to share my thoughts, I'm off to a good start.

If you are part of the automotive or other type of social influence marketing scene, I hope you value my thoughts. I sure do value your feedback. I've learned everything I know from others in the community. For those outside of the biz, I hope the information I share helps give you a birds eye view of our industry.
Sunny and 80!