While the other sales people at my dealership were freezing, chasing fresh ups outside on the blacktop, I was warm and cozy, tucked away in my office - glasses first into my MacBook building my personal brand. It's not that I don't enjoy following customers around in the cold at a 20% closing ratio, it's more so that I wanted to focus on customer loyalty and presenting myself to the general public in a manner that would bring them directly to me…without all of the chasing that is. So why did I choose to build a personal brand? What made me feel that this was the best course of action?
Every time you turn around, you see marketing techniques for DEALERSHIPS to differentiate themselves to the consumer and make their dealership really "stand out." Why, as sales people, would we not want to use these techniques to our own personal advantage? You ARE the dealership. You do the business. You are the business. The business is You. So why not market yourself like You, yourself, are the dealership? Simple and selfish - maybe…But definitely effective.
These days, consumers are more educated than ever. (Thank you Google.) They are looking for a fast, efficient, and easy way to their product and service provider. They want an expert that is knowledgable, trustworthy, and professional. They won't stop their search until they feel that they have absorbed enough content to feel like they can make an educated decision with the professional that they are the most comfortable with. The objective of personal branding is to turn yourself, literally, into a brand just like any other popular item or service. You want them to feel as comfortable buying a car with you, as they do when they are at the super market buying their dependable every day household items. Think about it..When you find a certain type of toothpaste, laundry detergent, cleaning product, or deodorant that works for you, what do you do? As long as that product consistently meets your needs the same way every time, you'll stick with that brand. What's even better, is that you'll tell others about that particular brand that has never let you down. And they'll tell their friends. And their friends will tell their friends. Fortunately, these days, that happens faster than ever due to social media platforms.
So how do you get started? Well, start with YOU. Sounds simple, but you have to do it right. Be yourself. People want to rely on a real person, not a man-made marketing tool. Like I said, just be yourself. Easier for some people than others, but if you have to, just spend some time getting to know yourself and who you really are. Being genuine goes a long way, especially in this business. Next, you need to understand exactly what it is that your brand does. Chances are, your dealership has a "Mission Statement," and this simply your individualized take on that. It defines what makes you different from every other sales person in your market. What do you have to offer that makes you stand out about the rest? i.e. Speedy process, free vehicle delivery to the customer's residence or place of business, 24 hour customer help line, etc. Find out what is most sought after by the customers in your target market and figure out a creative way to offer it.
What is the first thing that pops into your head when someone mentions a common, popular brand? Their logo. Is a logo absolutely necessary when developing your own personal brand? No, but I think that they are really a lot of fun, and they definitely set you apart from the rest of the competition. People love and recognize logos. Like I said, it's the first thing that pops into their head when they think of any brand. Choosing your logo can be tricky considering it is what ultimately represents you as a brand and service. It can be something as simple as incorporating your name or initials into something, or as elaborate as the carpet in the Taj Mahal.
That all sounds great and pretty easy, right? But here's where it may get a little bit tricky. CONSISTENCY. Your mission statement and what you decide to offer has to be done THE SAME WAY. EVERY TIME. EVERY DAY. TO EVERY PROSPECT. NO EXCEPTIONS. WITHOUT FAIL.. FOR AS LONG AS YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IS YOU. If you don't follow this rule, there is no brand called you. You'll still be outside chasing fresh ups just like "every other" salesperson. You also have to be patient, this doesn't happen overnight; however, if you do execute this rule correctly, you will have an inbox full of prospects, and customers lined up out the door to see you. Keep exercising this rule, and you will become the brand that they (and all of their friends and relatives) depend on. As long as you are as dependable and have the same consistency as that favorite household product, the customer will return again and again and again. In the business we all know that return customers have the highest closing ratios, pay the most gross, and give the best CSI. Still thinking about taking your chances standing in the huddle, outside in the cold, waiting for the "up bus?" I didn't think so.
Robert Wiesman is an automotive professional at Massey Hyundai, in Hagerstown, MD. Learn more at www.robertwiesman.com and www.yourhyundaiguy.com -or- (888) 815 9409.