Let’s face it; the public’s perception of a car salesperson is not pretty. Salespeople are regarded as sleazy, quick-talking, plaid-loving "professionals." The negative stereotype was formed in a time when salespeople held all the cards—a time when information regarding the price, the process, and the product was largely unavailable to consumers. Today, the consumer has the ability to research all aspects of car shopping and the industry is becoming increasingly transparent. The behavior that earned automotive salespeople this reputation has almost vanished, but this negative perception still plagues the automotive industry.
Let’s transform it!
Many dealerships today are staffed by millennials, veterans, automotive enthusiasts, and people who are genuinely as interested in helping their buyer make a good decision as they are in making a paycheck. Car salespeople today are genuine, likable people. Our best way to communicate this to the public is by using social media to introduce the real people of our business. We can do this by allowing salespeople to contribute to dealership social media channels. Encouraging salespeople to participate in the online movement is both empowering and innovative. You can ask salespeople to do simple things that show they are helpful, caring resources rather than hungry, front-door vultures. For example, a salesperson could film a quick video on a smartphone showcasing new features on a redesigned model, or write up a quick social post that includes tips for the best test drive.
If salespeople can begin to brand themselves, provide guidance and context, and show that they are caring people, they have the opportunity to escape from the shadow of this terrible stereotype.
Beyond the salesperson
Social media is a portal that allows us to revise negative perceptions even beyond those of salespeople. Customers are online gathering information and doing research before they even walk into the showroom; why can’t dealerships be the ones to provide this valuable information to their local customers?
Dealerships could use Facebook pages to provide answers to frequently asked questions or highlight product comparisons, instead of using social media (often unsuccessfully) as an advertising platform. Providing value and sharing information about your product allows people to make real connections with your dealership and the cool things you sell.
These are only a few examples of how dealers can use social media to make people more comfortable walking into a showroom. Social platforms provide an incredible avenue of communication that can transform the way the public perceives the automotive industry. The tools and the audience are online; it’s just a matter of the automotive world finally making a move and taking action.