Update: Moving into 2023, these 10 steps are still found to be as relevant (if not more) today than when this blog article was originally published.
How can I stand out in a cluttered market? How can I keep selling cars despite inflation and interest rate hikes? Is selling cars still a worthwhile career choice?
Those are among the top questions I get asked when sharing ideas about how dealers and car sales professionals can dominate the market. With over 300,000 car salespeople in North America, there seem to be very few who are crushing it.
That doesn't have to be the norm, however. According to Nathan Hays, a car sales pro at Jefferson City Autoplex, you can become the "Mayor of Carville" by following a strategic set of actions.
Think about that. Success is a recipe. It's a series of strategic actions that, combined equal the desired end result. That's not any different in business or life. Whatever you want to achieve, you must follow the right steps in order to obtain the outcome.
With that in mind, here are the 10 steps to becoming the top salesperson in town.
1. Get involved
Getting involved in a hobby, volunteer organization, sports event, or chamber of commerce are great ways of getting involved in the community.
Take some time to get to know what drives your community. Learn about the population, key demographics, schools, sports, city council, and Mayor. Introduce yourself to the Mayor and take a selfie with them.
2. Be professional
Review your social profiles and make sure they align with the professional appearance that you want to portray. Don’t send your friends random invites to 3rd party apps (e.g., Candy Crush) or post graphic videos and news articles.
3. Amplify your presence
Purchase some custom keychains, pens, calendar fridge magnets, or any other swag you think would help spread your presence. Consider getting a digital business card from http://inigoapp.com/
4. Thank your customers
Both in person and on social media. Add photos and videos, and ask your customers to leave reviews. Take and share anniversary photos to thank them for the time they purchased a vehicle from you. You’d be surprised at how many people start thinking about making another purchase when you position yourself top-of-mind for them.
5. Be real
Get to know people as friends. Talk about the things you have in common with people. This could include your kid's sports team or school programs, your pets, and cars. Talk about the best restaurant in town or the local nightclubs and nightlife.
Whatever you do, refrain from talking to people about the “BIG SALE” at your store.
6. Network on and offline
Connect with other local business owners via social media and in person. Online, visit the Facebook Business Page of other local businesses. Like their page, leave comments (as your page, not a personal profile), and share their posts. In so doing, you begin to aggregate useful, hyper-local information that you can build an online community around.
7. Broadcast live video
Extend your reach and show how genuine you are. Portray yourself as a real human being and not a money-thirsty salesperson. Talk about life, tell a funny story and express gratitude to those that are tuning in. Talk about the nasty roundabout in town or upcoming events that people should check out.
The network that you’ve built up to this point will tune in and share your content with the people they know as well.
8. Connect with your community's five largest employers
Find out who the biggest employers in town are and visit their HR departments. Put together a car-buying program for their employees. Love those people. Bring them treats, and remember their names and birthdays.
9. Become a friend
Befriend Five Insurance Agents, 5 Realtors, and 5 Bankers from different companies and send them referrals. Create a list for your clients of the people you do business with and let them choose who they want. Let your friends know when you’re sending them business. In so doing, you become a connector.
Do the same with Tradespeople, Sports Coaches, Music Teachers and so on. You will deposit so much goodwill and social currency that it will pay you back dividends for as long as you want!
10. Join a networking group
Look for a group that meets 2 - 4 times per month. If there isn’t one, consider starting one yourself! This is a great strategy for gaining a mentor, accountability partner, or friends that know nothing about the car business but have skills that will benefit you and vice versa.