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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Live By the UP, Die By the UP
Social Marketing Takes Dealerships “Back to the Future”
The TV show Madmen depicts to the beginnings of the Advertising Age when corporations adopted the new science of branding. Using magazines, radio and television, advertising executives learned that just the right message would bring in buyers and build top-of-mind awareness among consumers for everything from cars to suntan lotion. With time, this new science filtered down to Main Street and most dealerships adopted it as well.

Branding is still key, but dealers lost something precious when they adopted the mass marketing techniques big corporations use. Learning that spending X in advertising could produce Y in traffic created an operational paradigm shift. Dealerships began to emphasize mass marketing almost to the exclusion of one-on-one marketing. This produced a disconnect with the salesperson's responsibility to maintain relationships with customers. In the new paradigm, salespeople no longer produced traffic. They handled traffic, became closers, producers of margin. Their job narrowed into taking today’s traffic and closing today’s deals at a good margins. 

Important skills were lost. Sales managers still taught salespeople to call customers, but they taught that the purpose of those contacts was to prospect, to make an appointment ASAP, to produce another sale right now. The idea that salespeople should be responsible for maintaining relationships with customers, should regularly engage customers, was lost in planning for traffic from the Next Big Advertising Promotion. Salespeople who stayed at one dealership long enough to develop a good-sized owner body kept the old ways alive and made a good living, but teaching new hires how to build a book of business became a lost art and, without this crucial guidance, more than two-thirds of all salespeople never stayed at a dealership long enough to do so.

Today’s smart dealers secure their futures by reviving old-school methods while integrating new internet-based ones to strengthen the crucial one-on-one connection with customers. Email, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter provide new ways for dealerships to engage customers one-to-one. BDCs provide dealers a means to connect with customers one-to-one with sufficient frequency to keep the dealership top-of-mind when the customer starts down the path to their next auto purchase. Dealers now realize that mass marketing has serious limitations; their customer base is the lifeblood of their business, and proper emphasis on maintaining it and expanding it is critical. When they make tough decisions about the allocation of scarce marketing resources, increasingly dealers decide to expand the ways that connect one-on-one with customers, rather than chasing the Next Big Advertising Promotion.  

If your dealership is looking for ways to improve productivity, I can help. As a factory exec, I had the opportunity to interview many of the top salesmen in the nation (within the Ford/LM franchises). I can teach your managers and sales staff what it takes to achieve far more productivity than they do today.  Click on this link or the link below to learn more.

All the best,

Pete Grimm
Premier Performance Groups

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