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It is a simple matter of life. People enjoy being around other people who are having fun! Positive experiences are contagious.
This past Father’s Day weekend, I had the pleasure of watching my 10 year old son play in the Texas State 10U baseball tournament. It was hot, the teams were tough, and we were at the baseball fields from 8 AM until 11 PM Saturday and Sunday. The weekend was enjoyable and will be a Father’s Day I will always remember. Some might think that it is because his team did really well, placing 2nd in the tournament. However, the whole experience went deeper than that. I saw these 10 year old boys battle through adversity and feed off each other during good times and bad.
Mistakes were made, strikeouts happened, and the score was not always in the boys favor. However, quitting and crying never happened. Some of the boys, mine included, were hit by pitches. Inevitably the next batter didn’t think it was a smart idea to crowd the plate fearing they might suffer the same fate. So, like great automotive managers, the fans took it upon themselves to encourage our little warriors to battle at each plate appearance. We had fun and in return they did too.
At one point in the tournament, my son was hit hard by a pitch. For those of you who do not follow baseball, that was as good as a base hit. He was awarded first base, and the fans cheered him for taking one for the team. His teammates started cheering, and a smile erased the pain that displayed across his face. The next batter listening to all of the excitement going on forgetting that the opposing pitcher was a bit on the wild side stepped up with complete confidence. The batter was brushed off the plate with a high inside fastball narrowly missing his chin and causing future dental visits. He stepped back to the plate, and took an outside pitch the opposite way for a triple scoring my son for the winning run to put us in the championship game.
This weekend was a lot like what we face every day in the automotive world. We are faced with adversity. We commit errors. We strikeout and find ourselves down in the game. However, as my son and his teammates were tested, our sales staff is tested on a daily basis. The sales process is our game of life. We battle competition who states they have better products and lower prices. The weather affects our sales. Marketing and advertising is like the practice and training of ballplayers. Some days everything is going our way, and some days we wished we never got out of bed.
What if we had fans cheering us throughout the game of life? What if we had fans singing our praises every day? How would your team perform day in and day out?
I have heard that it is not possible to sell vehicles using social media. These naysayers just don’t know how to utilize social media to help sell their vehicles.
The advantage of social media is that dealerships are able to create a virtual stadium of fans. These fans can share all of their great experiences with their friends and families. This will level the playing field and gives you a decided advantage over your competition.
Before you establish a great plan utilizing social media, you have to make sure your dealership is a fan friendly stadium. The environment has to be fun and entertaining. This starts from you. As managers, we can spend too much time looking at the stats and not enough time using the “eye test”. Are your employees smiling and excited even when a customer is not on the lot? Are the phones being answered with anticipation of something great about to happen? In many cases, this is not happening because there is not a physical audience judging our facial expressions at that moment.
You have to create the attitude of success. You have to bring the fun into the dealership, and then reward the team for having fun while selling (or playing the game of life). Times are not always great, but your customers do not need to know that. What they need to feel is the energy and excitement that they are about to make a great purchase.
Once your customers make this great purchase, you should then provide them an opportunity for them to recruit more fans to come see the game. The more fans you have watching your game, the more hits (sales) your team will deliver.
Having fun is contagious. People want to be around winners.
Good luck and we look forward to seeing you at the top!