Time to read: 3 minutes. How can an auto dealer struggling to turn Facebook fans into buyers get the job done? As a researcher and professional speaker on the subject I can tell you the task is easier than you think. Dealerships generating more leads and selling more vehicles with social media are giving customers reasons to offer more than a “like.” Successful dealers are quietly selling vehicles using a process. First, they are finding what’s getting in the way of a sale, what’s bothering, concerning or “itching” customers. Then they’re using social media to scratch those itches—removing purchase obstacles using traditional ideas like creative financing options. Here’s how you can do the same in 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Get Back to Basics
You’ve probably heard that posting on Facebook a certain number of times, on certain subjects, on certain days is the key that unlocks sales with Facebook. But it’s simply not true. The real secret for automotive dealers is getting back to basics. This means focusing on solving customers’ problems.
What I’m getting at is simple: use social media to help customers understand their problems more clearly, in ways that equip them to discover your answers—your vehicles and financing options.
For instance, why do vacation time share marketers pay prospective customers to attend workshops—sending them on all expenses paid vacations to exotic locations? Yes, to listen to customers and gather up objections. But also to help potential buyers get a better, clearer understanding of what they really want when they go on vacation. But those workshops are also designed to let customers feel in control and make decisions about products they want to buy—in a non-threatening yet controlled, “transparent” environment. (customers know this is a sales pitch!)
The opportunity with social media is no different but you’ve got to get back to basics.
Step 2: Create Leads with Engagement
Most dealers are listening to customers using social media. But what you listen for and how you respond makes the difference. Today’s most successful dealerships are using Facebook to discover customers’ hidden desires, itches that need scratching… then moving prospects toward the sale by scratching those itches. How? In ways that encourage them to ask questions about vehicles and share answers with decision influencers in their network.
Social media engagement can help you nurture the sale faster, more effectively—if you plan it to.
Most social media strategies are merely occupying customers time rather than courting them for business. Friends, fans and followers must become a lead if they’re to ultimately purchase a vehicle. Your challenge is to help customers discover and express deep desires and serious roadblocks—the real decision points. Not to get re-tweeted or be engaging.
Step 3: Provoke Response with ‘Ethical Bribes’
Making the leap from “purposeful conversation” to business lead is as simple as making sure you provoke responses from customers. Social media is inherently able to showcase or re-create the functional (material) and emotional end benefits of your vehicle in a powerful, cost effective way.
For instance, let’s say you need to generate inbound inquiries on a sports or luxury vehicle. You need to provoke responses from prospects where they call, email or show up at your showroom. The key is engaging customers in ways that bring them closer to experiencing a “desirable unknown.” To do this, simply dramatize the emotional end benefit and get them to share their purchase intent with a call to action.
Successful dealers are “ethically bribing” prospects with promotions and that’s still a reliable, effective trick. Yet others are using video scratch customers itches in ways that trigger responses to toll-free numbers and Web sites.
Case in point Ryan Safady operates the country’s largest luxury vehicle rental company, Imagine Lifestyles. Notice how he sells the emotional end benefit in a way you can almost feel. This video lets viewers ride along with an “average Joe” customer named Eric as he learns how to drive a Lamborghini for the first time. Notice how you can feel Eric’s excitement and honest nervousness as he begins his experience. You feel for him, can almost sense what’s coming next for him.
The ‘Secret Sauce’
Ryan’s videos are designed to
- Plant a seed (you can experience this too)
- Dramatize, “make real” the emotional end benefit of a service that sells nothing but new ways to experience positive emotions
- Generate a response (a sign-up for the Imagine Lifestyles blog in this case)
What is your social media marketing designed to do?
Photo credit: Ben McLeod