When you get down to it, isn’t social media, just being nice to your neighbors and communicating in a friendly, straight forward way?  Until dealerships find a way to offer a streamlined, friction free buying process, their online social media efforts including posts and Tweets, will have minimal impact and their words will ring hollow with consumers.  Retailers need to let their prospects know they can be trusted when they shop at their stores and that doesn’t mean just posting a page on Facebook or Twitter.

Dealers need to ask themselves do their customers really want to be their “friends” online?  Are you friends with the guy who sold you your washing machine at BestBuy?   Are you friends with the lady at the cosmetics counter at your local department store? Are you friends with the local Barista who prepares your morning coffee?  Hmmm. Didn’t think so.

Let’s not fool ourselves and think our customers really want to be our friends or fans on Facebook.  It all comes down to being a good neighbor and doing things right! Then market the fact that you are doing things right.  That will make the difference.

Dennis Galbraith, former executive and analyst for JD Power and Associates gave a presentation at one of the first Digital Dealer Conferences and said that one day in the future, auto shoppers making the major purchase of a vehicle often selling for $25,000  to $60,000 and more,  will be able to visit a website, search for a salesperson in their local market and identify their level of professionalism. They will then be able to contact them via the website and schedule an appointment to meet with them (just as they would schedule an appointment with an attorney, accountant or a doctor) and discuss the vehicle purchase.   The audience listened attentively, and like many predictions wondered if it would ever happen.  The debut of Carfolks.com has brought Dennis’ prediction to life. Now consumers have the exact functionality that Dennis envisioned four years ago.

The Internet has truly leveled the playing field when it comes to car buying and price shopping.   Now throw social media and review sites into the mix and you have powerful resources that can benefit consumers and either reward or punish dealerships behavior.

A quote from Zig Ziglar keeps popping into my head.  “Help people get what they want, and you will get what you want.” That means help your customers to buy what they want, need and can afford, and you will get what you want . . . a nice commission check.

Is it time to start loving your customers? It’s time to join the Carfolks.com neighborhood.

Mark R. Dubis