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With the coming of age of the huge social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and 24/365 access to said accounts to the numerous super smartphones that are in many salespeople's purses and pockets, does anyone know of any companies that cater to, or at least allow, the individual salespeople?

Most of today's online marketing companies in the automotive sector only cater to the dealer or dealer groups which is understandable as they have the most money. But what about the individual? What options does the individual salesperson on a limited budget have to market themselves and the vehicles they have to sale to their ever growing social media contingent?

Yeah, I know I can "Friend" the dealership I work for on Facebook and "Follow" them on twitter. However, when the dealer decides to spam car listings on Facebook or Twitter, that really turns off a lot of people and understandably so.

If you know of or work for a company that can provide services to individual salespeople please let us know by posting here.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.



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Hi Troy,

Your first and best resource is to listen, learn and apply the best practices associated with social media and social networking offered on ADM. I also suggest that you continue your education in real world venues supported by ADM like The 9th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition scheduled Oct. 12-14th, 2010 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Many of your ADM friends will be hosting sessions there on leveraging social media including mine: C2C + B2B - B2C SQUARED; Learn How This New Social Media Formula Pr...

As far as leveraging your limited resources to promote you vs. your dealer -- one solution comes to mind that would serve both and fit any budget. A vendor client of mine -- DealerMouth -- offers dealers a master website that allows them to manage and monitor individual sites for each of their sales people and service writers. The sales people can promote themselves to their own spheres of influence in both the virtual and the real world by directing them to their personal website as a form of online "Why Buy Here Book" or as a personal blog like forum to talk about life and the dealer can make sure that they are using their online time in a productive manner vs. planning their vacations on company time.

More relevant to your desire to help you sell cars, your site on DealerMouth is internally linked to the dealers online resources so it provides you a seamless transition to information you need during or after hours to sell a vehicle or service to a friend when the conversation warrants it.

Combine that with some of the tools available on Twitter and Facebook to manage your data base of friends in a productive and constructive manner to sell them something without pissing them off -- many such tools are referenced in my session at the DD conference by the way -- and you should be able to build enough online exposure to keep you in the conversation when someone you know is looking to buy or service a car. Of course hosting your own blog site with inexpensive templated solutions offered by providers like Wordpress and Ning will also provide you an online platform with little or no associated hard costs -- other than your time and effort of course!

The market is a conversation before, during and after someone purchases a vehicle and you have to be in it to win it! Remember, people like to do business with people that they like so your goal should be to make friends not sales.

After all. what are friends for!
Thank you for the great info Philip. I couldn't have put it better myself. "Everyone wants a friend in the Car Biz."

I've put in a call to DealerMouth.
Sounds like your describing CarFolks @ http://carfolks.com. Mark Dubus ADM member.

@ Mark, any thoughts?
Thanks for the mention Dave. As far as I know, Carfolks.com is the only automotive focused website to offer every sales and service person in the auto retail industry a free micro site to build their personal brand, establish an online 'brag book" and leverage the power of networks and social media to build a strong customer base.

Troy, there is a saying from the 60's, "if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem." Sales people and dealerships that do not promote professionalism, respect for their customers and build trust will continue to be part of the problem our industry faces everyday. check out www.thecarfolksproject.com

All the best!
Troy,

Yes... Al of the above! There has never been a previous time in the history of commissioned sales professionals when access to tools for communicating, organizing your messages, developing new relationships and maintaining existing ones, has been greater... I personally stay in touch with individual sales people who are not clients, simply friends from over the years, who have become very independently self sufficient using various tools, most primarily free or so cheap as to not matter. From what I see, Facebook, Google Apps and Twitter become a highly effective personal "One Man Band" CRM application when they are connected via their syndication options.

YouTube may be the most universally effective means of a single salesperson communicating to large numbers of customers and prospective customers in a way that is far more personalized and effective than a pre-written email template out of a CRM application.

Slideshare.net is a sales professionals Brochure Rack on Steroids!

Gmail is a powerful Customer Management System and Database that goes nuclear for a $99 annual investment in licensing Google "Professional" version of this highly effective, powerful data crunching CRM system that still has the best de-duping algorithm to clean up multiple database uploads from various dealership and personal legacy systems.

Speaking of GMail, with the upgraded professional version and $20 in software, a sales professional now has a 100 Gigabyte "Cloud Computing" system with preloaded apps that run user friendly, yet powerful interfaces which all together are embarrassing in their cost efficiency and utility for a sales professional when compared to auto industry specific solutions.

I started selling cars in 1981 and began building my contact database in 1982 using an IBM PC... Recently, I sill had those contacts from the 1980's in CSV and PST file formats, along with 18,000+ other ones I had picked up along the way. All of which have migrated from system to system and PC to PC over the past 28 years... Using GMal's deduplication engine and about two hours of my time, I was able to condense my contact database down to less than 10,000 and eliminate all the duplicate, triplicate and Quadruplicate records while not losing any data since it is all layered in when records are merged using GMail's application...

Armed with a Smartphone and multiple auto industry specific Apps loaded up for less than $100 on a one time non-recurring basis, a savvy sales professional can access inventory, maintain follow-up processes, show customers the current daily finance rates to compare with the store's seller assisted financing, and calculate various payment scenarios for both conventional financing and residual based, show a client the 3rd party verified estimated trade-in value... Al from a hand-held device that the use of which gives the old car dog term "Fender Trading" a new lease on life!

Do some research and plan your strategy... Then map out your tactical blueprint based on what needs to get done first. In my experience investing a couple of hours in a single session of set up time to save 10 hours a month on recurring tasks and productivity items is a worthwhile investment for any sales professional.
Troy,

In reviewing my response supplemented by Ralph's I realized that I left out the most unique tool of all --you!

Relationship based selling has always been a valued tool in both the auto dealer's and the salesperson's tool box. However, it was assumed to be an integral piece of the advertising, marketing and selling process rather than the objective and/or the critical message triggering a call to action. On today's consumer driven Internet Super Highway .... not so much!

Social media has inverted the shopping and buying process from yesterday's push/pull methodology used by automotive advertising agencies -- (push out the auto dealer's retail message and wait for customers who are in the market to pull it in when needed) -- to a pull/push market that is a conversation controlled by the customer before, during and after their purchase with likeminded friends sharing their experiences to help them make an informed buying decision. Auto dealers and their automotive advertising agencies are no longer the cutomer's source of choice for information ... but you -- the salesperson -- still can be if you join the conversation as a friend from the inside out vs. from the outside in.

Brand loyalty is at an all time low but human nature still places a high value on people, loyalty and trust with friends. As a result, the professional salesperson of today can have a stronger influence on the customer's buying decision than their dealer ... or even the franchise that they represent. I have always taught my salespeople to conduct themselves as if they were in their own business with their dealership as a senior partner and that relationship has never been more relevant. The only change is that the salesperson may actually now be the senior partner in that their reputation and role in the shopping and buying process has never been more critical or valued by the customer.

In the past, the cost of conventional advertising and access to the data and processes required to conduct a professional presentation from the meeting and greeting to the sale, delivery and continued follow up for referrals and repeat business required the deep pockets of a dealer partner for a salesperson to open his business. In today's internet and technology driven world -- not so much!

The most valued asset of any dealership is their staff and forward thinking dealers are beginning to respect them as such. The consolidation of the auto industry has forced dealers to reduce inventory, advertising and staff and they have discovered that the most proprietary feature contained in these three areas is the people. Respect your partner -- the dealer -- for the value of their contributions to the partnership and they will respect yours, but only if you contribute what you are now capable of with the leveraged resources provided by your informed use of social media and the new applications developed to use it to make friends -- and sell cars and/or service.

After all, what are friends for!
Troy take a look at Relyable.org. It is an individual resource for Sales Agents with many unique benefits for Dealer Members.

We also are sponsoring a $1m prize for a New World Record in auto sales. See http://www.relyable.org for details.

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