So, what’s the most important thing when it comes to selling used cars?
Sure, the vehicles are critical. So is dealership marketing, communications and advertising. And the customer experience on the lot.
But, in the end, it’s really all about the sales reps and the relationships they have with customers. People don’t buy cars from people they don’t know, like and trust completely.
Now that more and more business relationships are happening online because of the pandemic, how do salespeople get prospective customers to know and like them and build trust virtually?
One of the best ways may surprise you. Linkedin, the social media platform known as the meeting place for job seekers and professionals is actually a great platform for networking with potential used vehicle buyers.
It has millions and millions of people who check it out regularly looking to meet others with similar interests who could provide help and support. It’s the perfect virtual space for pre-owned car reps to step in and demonstrate how they can help make their lives better.
Here’s how you can use Linkedin to expand your prospective client base and generate sales.
Know your ideal customer.
So what kind of vehicles do you sell? Who wants to buy them? And why?
If you have a used car lot that’s full of Hyundai’s, Toyota’s and Kia’s, your most likely customers are everyday people and families. If you’re loaded up with Land Rovers, Mercedes and BMWs, it’s a completely different story.
For the first group, they’re concerned about career, family and home related issues. For the latter, it’s more about travel, lifestyle and status.
Once you understand your target audience, you’ll be able to find people in it — and connect with them — through Linkedin. If you want to sell to moms and dads interested in buying minivans, become a member of Linkedin parent groups that help people juggle career with home responsibilities. If you’re trying to sell a completely different class of vehicle, such as prestige used cars, Linkedin let’s you find prospective buyers through groups serving the needs of professionals like lawyers, doctors and brokers.
Take time to understand your audience. Find Linkedin groups that support them. Then get involved and share content and ideas with members that demonstrate why you’re the dealer they must partner with to find the PERFECT vehicle.
Speak to them using language they understand and respect.
Once you understand the people you’re targeting and what they’re interested in, communicate with them in a way that is authoritative and authentic.
If you want to do business with parents, it helps to be one yourself. It allows you to understand their issues and better explain how you can help solve them. The same is true of professionals and people in other target groups. You can’t fake it until you make it. People will see right through you, even online.
If you’re not completely confident about communicating with people in your target demographic, partner with a social media and content marketing expert who is. They’ll help you find the right messages, tone and content that will connect with the people you want to do business with.
Leverage your past customers to find new ones.
The people you’ve sold cars to will likely know other people who will also want to do business with you. Connect with your customers on Linkedin. Don’t use a standard, cookie-cutter invitation. Customize it by thanking them for their business, tell them how much you liked working with them and explain that you look forward to providing ongoing service. Coordinate this messaging with your other post-sale communications, including emails, texts and phone calls.
Once you’re connected via Linkedin, share helpful car ownership tips and other information your clients find valuable. Include used car shopping tips they will want to pass on to their friends and family members. Every now and then, add in a message asking for referrals. It’s a great way to turn a single sale into a major expansion of your virtual network and big increase in sales.
Find new people in your target audience.
Never worry if you don’t have as many connections in your ideal demographic on Linkedin as you would like. Leverage Linkedin’s sponsored content capabilities to expand the reach of the insights you share through the channel to connect with additional prospective customers. You can select how much you want to spend to reach a specified number of people in your target demographic, or you can pay when they take a specific action, such as clicking to visit your website.
At a time when in-person networking opportunities are limited, promoting yourself and your content virtually through Linkedin could be one of the most powerful ways to grow yours — and increase sales — during challenging times.