5 Things to Avoid a Complete Debacle

5 Things to Avoid a Complete Debacle

Disasters happen

You know those days that just go wrong from the beginning?

It’s like the universe is telling you to stay in bed. They’re the toe-stubbing, forget your pants, lose your keys kind of days. They happen— even to those of us who prepared.

The question is how we deal with them.

When S*@# happens

There are things we can do to make it easier. Some are proactive and some are reactive. What’s important is to stay calm.

Prepare physically and mentally

Some people will create checklists, while others will have everything in duplicate. Yes, that even means two computers. So when the slideshow doesn’t work on one, you can boot up the other. There will surely be something new come up that you haven’t thought of; but when it comes to presentations or events, you can think of a lot things that may go wrong and have a contingency in place.  Then, when you have all the physical planning in place, center yourself so you don’t crack under pressure.

Take it offline

Whether it’s a video you’re presenting or an angry client online, the best thing you can do is get everything offline. Don’t show your emotions, calmly put the computer mouse down, and have printed slides ready to distribute. If it’s an angry client or review, don’t make it personal or emotional. Find a way to communicate with the person directly as opposed to openly ,where everyone can see your responses.

Don't let it stick

It may feel like a gut punch every time something else happens to compound your day, but you have to roll with the punches and not let it affect what you do. Take a minute to center yourself and get back to it. The world waits for no one. Eventually, you’ll be able to laugh at it— the sooner the better, hopefully.

Focus on what's working

It isn’t all bad. You need to focus on what’s working and change on the fly so what people remember of that day is positive.

Press reset

If everything is so bad that you can’t see yourself resurfacing, then do what you can and do it all over again. Make sure to come back when you’re ready to fire on all cylinders. It may be direct by rescheduling a meeting to show a presentation or video again, or indirect by making an excuse to stop in and right all the wrongs you couldn’t get passed.

There are days your pencil will break, you’ll forget the computer cables, your computer will only show the blue screen of death, or you won’t be able to get online. The calamity of errors would be funny if it happened to someone else, right? Well, that’s how you have to think about it. If you can’t laugh at it yourself, you’ll end up crying, and that’s messy.

  

S*@# happens, get back up and do better next time!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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The fundamental elements of internet marketing

The fundamental elements of internet marketing

The fundamental elements of internet marketing

SEO or SEM

Internet marketing is complex.

In fact, Google and Bing— the two largest search engines— are constantly changing the rules so techniques that work today may not work tomorrow. It’s been known to happen that those changes make a company fall overnight, losing both ranking and income in the blink of an eye. No dealership can afford that loss.

When it comes to internet marketing, there are two acronyms that every dealership should get comfortable with; SEM and SEO. SEM— search engine marketing— and SEO— search engine optimization— are two sides of the same coin. While many marketers have a preference, it’s essential for your business to understand both and determine which has more value to you.

SEM

With search engine marketing, your goal is to increase the visibility of your website on search engine results pages (SERPS). You accomplish this through a combination of advertising such as pay-per-click (PPC) and optimization like SEO. Because SEM includes SEO, many people improperly use them interchangeably. However in a traditional sense, we use it to refer to primary advertising on search engines.

At the risk of opening Pandora’s box, you should also understand PPC, which is a process of placing ads on the search page— usually at the top or bottom— and linking them to landing pages like the ones you use for Facebook marketing. Your cost is based on how many clicks you get.

SE0

When searching for a website, the results come in two forms. The first are the ads at the top and bottom of the page, and the second are the listed items in the center of the page. SEO is the process of increasing your ranking in the center section.

SEO can be accomplished in two ways— what you do with the content on your page and what you do off your page like building links to other similar pages. Think of SEO as going up to the tallest skyscraper and shouting as loud as you can so everyone hears after you created the content on your website. Why shout? Because if you create all your content and don’t tell anyone about it, then how will they know?

SEM VS. SEO

On its own, PPC advertising may not work if your audience isn’t inclined to click. Some demographics specifically shy away from ads, navigating to the organic list. When that’s the case, spending the effort to elevate your ranking can be invaluable. Organic SEO takes much longer to establish a good ranking, especially as more of your competition works on their own positioning. As it is based significantly on the importance of doing the right thing for your audience, you’ll establish credibility in the process.

While we’ve already discussed how to come to your overall budget, understanding the concepts of SEM and SEO will help you decide to split your budget so you don’t get pulled in both directions. You should never think of the process as either or, but how they can complement each other.

SEM cannot succeed without organic SEO, and SEO takes time and effort to rank well.

The good thing about the whole process is that digital marketing offers clear feedback so you can determine what resonates with your audience. Google and Bing business accounts offer you the opportunity to see what people are searching for, how much your competition is spending on direct ads, and whether the audience is navigating towards organic search or paid ads.

How much is a client worth to you?

Just like the superstructure of a vehicle, it’s always advisable to start with content and SEO. While much of the process you can do yourself, because of the ever-changing nature of SEO, it can quickly become necessary for an agency to take over. Once you have that cost, you can proceed to the paid portion of SEM. When you understand how much the market is paying for PPC advertising on Google and Bing, compare it to how much you’re willing to spend to obtain a lead. You’ll know whether it’s worth your investment and adjust accordingly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Every Lead is An Internet Lead

As salespeople, we have to admit that we get a little excited every time we sit down with a new client. It doesn’t really matter whether that client came through the front door, called us on the phone, or took the time to send an email. We get that thrill with every possibility of a win.  

Go ahead— stick it to the competition. But more importantly, serve a client what they need.

We’ve spoken before about how we need to treat each client differently as they come to us through different channels. But that’s not entirely accurate. We treat those clients differently if they come for different reasons. Some come for a family sedan, while others need the strength and capacity of a pick-up. It’s very simple to determine those answers. We do it every time we start a conversation.

“May I ask how you heard about us?”

This however is where many people in sales fail to establish a meaningful relationship. A few misaligned questions, and everything falls off the rails. The next thing you know, you’ve sent those potential clients down the road to the competition.

What happened? Did you say something wrong? Did you just not mesh with them?

While it’s often a lack of or misaligned message in your dealership, it can also come down to your qualifying questions.

We start off with questions to build rapport and establish a connection. We also ask those questions so we can group clients into different pillars. Once we know and understand the similarities between those pillars, it becomes easier to build that rapport and establish a long-term relationship.

So what are you missing?

The answer can be scary to some, but it’s actually an assumption. The question of where a client heard about you can be too open ended. To pre-qualify them, you want to narrow down the pillars as quickly as possible. The way to achieve that is to side-step the open ended question altogether and make an assumption.

 

Yes, assume.

Don’t worry, an assumption isn’t going to get you into a hot mess. It’s going to make your job easier; a lot easier, in fact. In today’s marketing landscape, the easiest assumption to make is that they came from the Internet. At some point, they’ve absorbed digital content somehow either through you, your competition, or your manufacturer.

Test it the next time you have a potential client in front you!

Adjust your pre-qualifying questions

“Have you done any research online?”
This is a simple yes or no question. If they have, your next question will tell you a lot about them.

“What did you learn?”
The answer to the second question will not only tell you how much they know or don’t for that matter, but how favourably they think of your brand. It can also tell you how far along the purchase journey they’ve come so you don’t waste their time explaining concepts they already know.

In two short questions, you’ve opened the door to their world

With that magic number of 85 percent of potential buyers having already been to your website, then your assumption that they came at least in some part from a digital source is going to make your job easier. You’re going to establish a stronger relationship faster so you can get to their pain points more efficiently. They will think you can read their mind— and in a way you are— to jump to the common answers.

The other benefit to assuming they’re versed in your digital marketing is the release of the tension you’ve been carrying around. Relaxed, you’ll be able to build that rapport more effectively. You won’t be searching for things to say because you’ll be better prepared. Your marketing and operations processes will become easier when you start focusing on the clients’ needs.

The best part about this process is that the small number of people who haven’t come through a digital channel can be wowed all the more when you show them what they’ve missed out on.

Take a load off by changing a simple question.

Now it’s time for you to think about your pre-qualifying questions. Adjust them to change those pillars and start making relationships easier. There is a time for opened-ended questions, but you want to be in control.

We’re all online … all the time. Now it’s time that you acknowledge and embrace it.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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The Most important Element of Selling

The Most important Element of Selling

The Most important Element of Selling

Customer Experience

Have you ever returned to a store to find your experience vastly different? It happens. It could be a different salesperson or even the weather. But for whatever reason, your experience isn’t always the same.

But it should be.

A Tale of Two Clients

Let’s compare the experience of two clients in a dealership.

On the one hand, you have a client who’s greeted at the door, offered coffee or tea, and is then given a tour of the dealership before being introduced to the operations team.

On the other hand, you have a client who comes in afterwards, and has to wait for that tour to finish before someone acknowledges them. The coffee ran out and there’s a shift change, so no one can see them for ten minutes. As a result, they end up waiting in a hard, uncomfortable chair you dragged out of the basement last week and forgot to clean.

Who do you suppose is going to remember the service quality?

Customer service isn’t just a small piece of the puzzle; it’s the table you build it on. Without a solid base to work with, you can’t put anything together. Without focusing on the whole experience a client may have when they visit your dealership, you won’t even know what turns them off. Remember, you have to care about customer experience, or they’ll see through it all as a ploy.

Here are some ways to make it real.

Walking through the door

What do you offer clients when they come through the door? Do they have access to coffee or tea? Is your waiting room clean and easy to access?

Not only does the process have to be simple, but you need to give your clients something to do while they wait. Some dealerships have televisions set up, while others have started using interactive gaming systems that give more feedback into their desires. Remember that just showing car commercials will likely bore them silly if they’ve already done their research.

You’ll also notice many younger car-buyers looking for vehicles, sometimes with their children in tow. Take a cue from doctors’ and dental offices and have a small area sectioned off for the children so their parents can speak to you without interruption.

F And I

No one enjoys the finance and insurance conversation, so your goal should be to make it as comfortable as possible. If the conversation is with another team member, introduce them early and show off your support. Then, make sure to show the value instead of cost. Taking some of the same steps as you did when you first met will also help put your clients at ease.

Another great tip is to leave your phone at the door. Never answer your phone while you’re having an active conversation— especially text messages. Not only is it distracting, but as soon as you take your focus from your clients, you’ve destroyed the rapport you’ve been working on. The clients in your office took the time to visit, and you have voicemail for a reason.

Z

Picking up the car

By the time a client picks up a vehicle, it will often be at their third visit. They’ve invested a lot of time already and you don’t want to keep them longer than you have to. That said, there are some things you should think about. Scheduling the appointment properly so they don’t have to wait is the first step you can take and it won’t cost a cent.

As the salesperson, you likely won’t see the clients for a few years. Your dealership partners, however, will see them far more often. Clients like to know there’s a team behind you and taking the time to introduce everyone is a great way to show solidarity and extend the rapport you’ve taken so long to build. This is especially true for your service team. Offering a free oil change or two can help that transition as well.

+

Follow up

The customer experience isn’t just about the sale’s process; it’s everything they experience in the dealership, and even in the days and weeks afterwards. You’d be surprised how powerful a follow-up phone call can be. In fact, making a habit of calling them to see if there is anything else you or your team can do is a great way to stay top of mind. 

A second follow up by a third party or automated system to gauge their experience will give you great feedback for any changes you need to make. Some companies are so focused on customer service that when they do their follow up surveys, anything less than excellent is considered a failure. That’s right— if you don’t wow the clients every time, you haven’t achieved your goal. While extreme, it does embrace the proper sentiments.

A commitment to customer service excellence doesn’t necessarily cost money.

What does a coffee cost compared to the SUV? Would a free oil change break the bank when selling a luxury car? You can’t go wrong with putting the customer first. It’s an invisible investment that will always pay dividends.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

Did you notice that robots are invading the planet? Slowly, but surely, they’re replacing everyone you know with evil doppelgängers.

When it comes to marketing, those faceless, lurching beasts can almost do everything you can. If you rely on templates and cold interactions, you’ll eventually lose your job to one. Put simply, if you mistreat your audience that way, you should lose your job. They deserve better.

Don’t be afraid. It’s not too late. To stave off an invasion from those metallic monsters, there’s really only one thing you need to keep in mind; don’t be one of them. Don’t be a robot.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself what you could possible do to be efficient and keep up with everything a marketer has to take care of. The answer is to take an audit of what makes you human, and then practice those qualities until you’re indispensable.

What makes you human?

While there are many things that are unique to you, skills you excel at, there are a few things everyone can do to keep ahead of the curve.

Dump the templates

Working with computers, you’ll know that templates are everywhere; word documents, websites, and even social media platforms. Your goal shouldn’t be to make everything similar, but to make everything complementary. That means it’s okay to use standardization, but your campaigns shouldn’t be cookie cutter. You need to speak to each client differently, even if you’re saying similar things. Let them feel your passion.


Spontaneity

It doesn’t take much, but when a client asks for more information, be ready to colour outside the lines. Ask the best way to communicate with them; then use your smartphone and text them pictures and videos. Go beyond the marketing that comes out of the prefabricated box and build a rapport with your audience.

Don’t hit the reset button

Robots can’t understand from a client’s language how much they already know. You, however, can determine where someone is on their purchase journey. Don’t waste your time pre-qualifying them if you don’t need to.

Creativity

Being creative is necessary for good business development. Creativity comes from solving problems in unique ways. Moreover, it’s understanding the perspective of your audience so you can connect on a deeper level.

Be human

You can’t afford rigid responses to emails, phone calls, or chat sessions. Smooth answers, pauses, and even taking the time to breathe is a natural element to conversations. Your audience wants to see them, knowing they are speaking to a real person.

Red-eyed Monsters

We don’t really have to worry about an invading army of laser-wielding robots. When it comes to your marketing however, even the mere possibility that you use templates to interact with clients— or worse, use real robots for communications— your audience knows and won’t appreciate it. Robots don’t build rapport— humans do. Remember to humanize your responses, and don’t be afraid to show them who you are.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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3 Ways To Make your Sales Team Better

3 Ways To Make your Sales Team Better

Are you playing with your A-Team?

We all love it when things go well. It feels like everything is firing on all cylinders. Top management is all on board; the general manager, sales, even the dealer principles. Everyone starts to get that feeling that great things are coming. Opportunities seem to come out of nowhere.

But then small things start to chip away at the paint. Talking to the sales manager, you hear, “Oh, the sales guys won’t do that.”

Won’t do that?
Is that even an option?

It happens. Especially when it comes to staff that have been around for awhile. They’re set in their ways and know what works them. And it might. It may often be the superstar salesperson who gives the biggest pushback. They know what works because it’s put them on top for years.

But, how can you deal with that?

 

Negativity is a door closer

 

Their negativity can be debilitating, stopping the forward process of some of the best teams. That negativity can also be infections, spreading from one salesperson to the next, creating an army of naysayers who refuse to change, refuse to embrace the vision the management team has established.

As a sales manager, it’s your job to quell that uprising. Your performance isn’t gauged on how well individuals do, but how well your team does. You need an A-team, and not the one with Mr. T, decked out with all his golden necklaces and crazy hair. You need a cohesive team with a positive outlook working towards the same goal.

Here are a few things to get you there.

 

Step 1

Developing your team can be accomplished in many ways. What matters is that you keep your vision and goals in mind with every decision.

  1. Reward positivity – Rewarding positive actions that embrace your vision will work far better than punishing actions that may have been the norm, but aren’t contributing.
  2. Training – You can’t expect your people to take the right steps if you don’t first show them what those actions are.
  3. Promote team players – Putting team players in important positions can accomplish a few things. Not only does it put the right people in positions to maximize their skills, but it can set an example for others to emulate

 

2. Release the negativity

Sometimes you may need to release that negativity by letting someone go.  What a person brings to the team doesn’t have enough value if all they do is bring everyone else down. They may be great individually, but not for the team.

It’s at that point, you may have to do the unthinkable and release them altogether.

3. Hire For Your team

Sometimes when you’re missing something on your team you have to look for it outside of your organization.

This new blood can create an infectious positive attitude and add new skills to flesh out your team. It may also bring to light some of the negativity that needs to be excised.

Your team isn’t stronger just because it has an all-star or two. That’s why your baseball teams are constantly tweaking their rosters, trading away some of the best players for seemingly unknown elements. In fact, you’ll often see players in a position that isn’t their strongest because it’s best for the team. Team players will accept that knowing the end goal is what matters.

Your A-team is important. It will dictate the success or failure of the dealership. You want team players that work well in your unit, but also with the whole dealership. You can’t have  issues dragging your team down. Everything has to work together as cohesively as the vehicles you sell. Remember that as we come into auto show season and the sales that will develop into the spring and summer.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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