Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Dealers are very busy people. Their time is at a premium. Smart dealers have gatekeepers who can weed out the wheat from the chafe. However many vendors have tried to find ways around the gatekeeper to go directly to the dealer by bypassing the receptionist or calling the owner or GM directly. Bad idea….
First I want to divulge, as an Internet Sales & Marketing Manager, I am a gatekeeper. So I am biased. But I am a source of good advice as well. When you bypass me, the owner or GM will almost always refer you to me and be resentful that you took up his/her time.
First and foremost, I work for a dealer and I know a bit about digital marketing. Don’t assume I’m ignorant and don’t talk down to me. I just might know more than you about your own “expertise”.
Do not go to our website and submit a lead in order to introduce yourself. You are deleted and removed from future consideration immediately. Leads are business. Don’t interfere in that.
When you do talk to me, be an expert in what you are selling. You often start by telling me you are a car guy. Are you a car guy or an expert in YOUR FIELD? I don’t care if you’ve done literally EVERY job in a dealership. If you were a great General Manager, why are you selling Social Media? Are you a social expert?
Often, I am shocked to ask questions and be answered with the words, “I’m just a sales rep; we have experts who can answer those questions.” That’s right, you’re a car guy. You know little about the product or service you’re selling. If I know enough to ask the question, you should have an answer that makes sense. Goodbye!
As you know, OUR customers expect us to be able to answer questions about our product. We expect the same from our vendors.
If I’m not interested, don’t ask me “Don’t you want to sell more cars?” That is the most insane question I have ever heard. I want to say, “No, I’m only here to have fun and get a paycheck!” I have priorities, you know… all designed to sell more cars. Yours is obviously low on my list.
If I say it doesn’t fit my budget right now, understand that’s true. I’m not going to remove a perfectly good vendor and replace it with an unknown. You obviously have not struck me with a phenomenal idea that made me want to replace a good vendor I already employ.
This is the car business. We are very competitive. Know your competitors and why you are better than them. You should be as competitive as we are.
Finally, know the line between follow-up and harassment. As Internet Managers, we learn not to cross that line no matter how aggressive and persistent we are.
This is a field of endeavor I love. I enjoy talking to anyone who understands it and sometimes get too loquacious in the process. Approach me with results and a vision and respect, and you might make it past the gatekeeper with a good recommendation.
Written by Tom Gorham
Editor, From The Trenches