Facebook is an enormous platform for networking—an open canvas for getting in touch and staying connected. It’s also the perfect avenue for sales IF you go about it correctly. So what’s the best way to utilize this medium?
Robby Slaughter, a principal with AccelaWork, recently divulged on Perq.com some secrets to selling cars on Facebook. And, before you ask—no, he does not own and operate a car dealership in his spare time. But, one thing is certain: Slaughter knows how to effectively network in business and has become quite a knowledgeable source in the subject matter. In fact he shares his expertise in one of his latest books, The Unbeatable Recipe for Networking Events.
In his latest article, Of Course Facebook is a Secret to Selling Cars, Slaughter covers some basics: how to properly connect with clients, what NOT to do on Facebook, how to establish a proper level of networking and ways you can become more than just the “sales person” to your contacts. But first, we’d like to highlight his general breakdown of what car sales professionals aim to accomplish each year. See below:
- A typical salesperson would love to sell 20 vehicles a month.
- People trade in their cars about every seven years.
- Seven years (84 months) times 20 vehicles per month is 1,680 people.
- A typical professional gains 250 new contacts each year, or about one a workday.
- 1,680 people divided by 250 is about 7.
Given the breakdown of numbers above, it’s easy to see that keeping connected with people on Facebook can help maintain your client list and give you better leverage when it comes to selling cars. After all, you’re gathering contact information one way or another. Isn’t it better to have more than just names and phone numbers? Slaughter points out:
Whether you’re a sales manager, a dealership owner, or you’re out there on the lot hustling, you can get organized and take advantage of modern technology in keeping track of the people you met and staying in touch. You can run contests, postcard campaigns, emails, or appreciation events. You can call people on their birthday or on the anniversary of their last purchase. But no matter what you do, you need the data.
As long as you don’t use the platform to promote yourself incessantly, most people are happy to be your Facebook friend after meeting you. Once you’re there, you can usually find out their birthday. You can take a look at their profile to see if they are married, and often the name of their spouse. You can scroll through photos to see if they have children and usually figure out their age in school. They may have pictures of their car. This gives you tons of information about their likely buying habits.
What’s important to keep in mind however is that utilizing social media for business can be tricky. Slaughter warns:
The worst use of Facebook as a car salesperson is to talk about specials, rates, and promotions. If you put these online too frequently, people will unfollow you. My advice is to never directly promote your dealership or your manufacturer on your personal profile page.
So if you’re hoping to reach out to current and/or potential clients on Facebook, but follow the caution that using the site as a platform for business is a bad way to go, how then do you connect at a level that is not only appropriate but effective? After all, you don’t want your efforts at communicating to appear fake or wrongly motivated.
The answer is simple. Don’t be phony. Be genuine and sincere in your posts and messages. If you’re friends with someone, then it shouldn’t be weird for you to open up a bit about what you’ve got going on in your life. It brings people to a level of understanding with almost an “Aha” moment–as if it dawns on everyone that you aren’t always just about your job. Slaughter encourages this fact:
Talk about your family and your vacations. Share what you’re working on and what you’re interested in. Post a photo of the concert you attended and the new baby in your life. Be social, so people can see you. And watch what they are doing and keep a record.
Then when it’s time, act. Or better yet, react. Because people who know what you do, who see you online, you recognize that you are someone they know, like, and trust—those people will seek you out when they want to buy.
There is a plethora of advice out there about how to navigate social media when it comes to business. We don’t doubt that some suggestions that come your way may be off-the-wall or even unobtainable, but Slaughter’s perspective is simple and easy. If you are comfortable being yourself and connecting with people on a level that isn’t cluttered with sales pitches and promotions, you will surely discover just how integral a part Facebook can be in your professional life.