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rant (1)

Sleazy Salesperson

This is a rant so I’m going to keep it short and not so sweet. There’s a trend in the automotive industry towards putting out really, really bad webinars. It hits really close to home because I absolutely love them, have been doing them for three years now, and get really annoyed when other professionals in the industry use them as pitch sessions.

In essence, it’s giving one of the most important components of pushing the automotive industry forward a bad name.

Let’s go back a few years. There was a time when many would consider the automotive industry to be behind the times when it came to internet marketing. Things have changed in the last several years and now there are shining examples at every level, from individual salesperson all the way up to the OEMs, where ours is an industry of trendsetters instead of being behind on the times.

I believe that webinars have played an extremely important role in this change and I’m proud to have been a part of it. However, I’ve been listening to some webinars lately that are really light on the educational components and heavy on the pitch. This needs to stop.

Here’s how a webinar should work. A company should pick out an important topic in which they have an expertise. They craft a webinar and use the opening to tell the audience who they are. This should be short – no need for 3-5 minutes (or more in some cases) of “here’s what I do for dealers” or “here’s what we’re selling today.” Then, the education begins. At the end of the webinar or even some time in the middle, ask if there are those in the audience who would like to learn more about your services. Again, make this quick – 1 minute max.

The concept is this – webinars should be 95% educational. We know why we do them. The intention is to stir up business. However, it’s not designed to be a pitch, at least it shouldn’t be. A peer once told me that he educates because he believes that 50% will do nothing with the information, 25% will do it themselves, and 25% will ask for help. If you go through and show dealers how they can help themselves, they’ll have a choice. Give them an opportunity to make the choice. If they choose to inquire about your services, that’s great! If not and they take the information you give them to make their dealership better on its own, that’s great, too!

Education at every level, whether it’s webinars, speaking at conferences, writing blog posts, putting out white papers, or whatever you do to educate the automotive industry, it should be with the understanding that you’re establishing yourself and your company as willing to help and possessing the skills to make a difference. If they want a pitch, they can ask for one.

Here’s the thing: if you’re doing your educating right, there will be people inquiring about your services. If you force them to waste their time listening to a pitch when they came to be educated, you’re not helping the industry, the dealers, or yourself.

Sorry for the rant. I don’t do it often, but when I do, it’s for good reason.

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