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Laura Madison

Laura Madison

Author's details

Name: Laura Madison
Date registered: June 1, 2015
URL: http://www.lauradrives.com/

Biography

Laura Madison a former top car salesperson, “Laura Toyota,” best known for her use of social media and personal branding. Laura is now the National Director of Sales for Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions and is developing a 'Social Selling' course with Alan Ram which will help salespeople effectively use a personal brand to win more business off of social media. She has been featured in Automotive News, Advertising Age and Edmunds.com for her unique marketing and self-promotion efforts.

Latest posts

  1. Salespeople Social Selling Under the Dealership’s Umbrella — November 24, 2015
  2. Using Social Media to Eliminate the Car Salesman Stereotype — September 15, 2015
  3. A Personal Brand: Why Automotive Salespeople Should Go For It — July 28, 2015
  4. Humanize Your Online Presence — June 30, 2015
  5. 4 Reasons Why Video is Your Fiercest Weapon — June 2, 2015

Most commented posts

  1. Using Social Media to Eliminate the Car Salesman Stereotype — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Laura Madison

Salespeople Social Selling Under the Dealership’s Umbrella

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Social selling is sweeping the automotive industry. A quick search for the terms ‘social selling’ will bring a bounty of articles, training offerings, and tips for salespeople leveraging social media to win business. All this social media mania is leaving dealerships wondering how to empower and control their employees who want to participate in this social realm.

The best strategy for this social movement is NOT to ignore the power of individual presences on social media or to prohibit salespeople to use social to promote themselves altogether; the best solution, for both dealerships and salespeople, is to create a social media presence where salespeople can participate under the umbrella of the dealership. This allows dealerships to benefit from any brand equity created by salespeople but also contributes to a larger, more cohesive marketing effort. It’s both empowering and controlled.

Uploading Under the Umbrella

Executing on this strategy is relatively simple. For example, a dealership can encourage salespeople to upload personalized videos to the dealership’s YouTube page. Simple videos filmed by salespeople with a smartphone highlighting the best features of a top-selling vehicle or the changes to a recent redesign, can provide great visibility for both the salesperson and the dealership. This upload can be facilitated very simply by a marketing director or whoever is presently running the dealership’s social media sites.

Salespeople can also participate on the dealership’s Facebook page in a number of ways. An effective social media presence highlights the humans behind a brand, so featuring photos of salespeople and tagging them in these photos can be a powerful way to add a human component to a dealership presence and also become more visible to these salespeople’s connections. Another way salespeople could contribute on Facebook is by providing content to post to the dealership Facebook page, like interesting product or customer photos.  Mining salespeople for Facebook updates could add incredible variety to posts and allow a dealership to show the faces behind the business.

There are a few big benefits of executing on this umbrella strategy:

  •  Increased visibility. Leveraging salespeople to create content, including automotive related photos or short videos, can boost activity on social channels and exponentially increase a dealership’s online reach. The more active a dealership can remain on social media the more prospective customers they’ll reach over time.
  •  A human component.  The key to an effective social media presence is creating human connection. Consumers want to know the people, and the story, behind a brand. Incorporating content from salespeople and featuring them in posts adds a dynamic and human component to a dealership’s social channels.
  •  Improved search engine optimization. Increasing videos, posts, and activity on certain platforms can catapult the organic search engine optimization of a dealership’s channels. For example, salespeople uploading content to YouTube will boost the likelihood of those videos appearing on the first page results of a Google search.

This umbrella approach on social media will result in a less fractured, more cohesive online presence for dealerships and dealership employees. Creating an environment where salespeople can contribute to the dealership’s social presence provides a fierce and powerful online visibility advantage in today’s competitive automotive space.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/11/8049/

Laura Madison

Using Social Media to Eliminate the Car Salesman Stereotype

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Let’s face it; the public’s perception of a car salesperson is not pretty. Salespeople are regarded as sleazy, quick-talking, plaid-loving “professionals.” The negative stereotype was formed in a time when salespeople held all the cards—a time when information regarding pricing, the car-buying process, and the product was largely unavailable to consumers. Today, the consumer has the ability to research all aspects of car shopping and the industry is becoming increasingly transparent. The behavior that earned automotive salespeople this reputation has almost vanished, but this negative perception still plagues the automotive industry.

So let’s transform it.

Many dealerships today are staffed by millennials, veterans, automotive enthusiasts and people who are genuinely as interested in helping their buyer make a good decision as they are in making a paycheck. Car salespeople today are genuine, likable people. Our best way to communicate this to the public is by using social media to introduce the real people of our business. We can do this by allowing salespeople to contribute to dealership social media channels. Allowing salespeople to participate in the online movement is both empowering and innovative. You can encourage salespeople to do simple things that show they are helpful, caring resources rather than hungry, front-door vultures. For example, a salesperson could film a quick video off a smartphone of new features on a redesigned model or write up a quick social post that includes tips for the best test drive.

If salespeople can begin to brand themselves, provide guidance and context, and show that they are caring people, they have the opportunity to build themselves apart from the shadow of this terrible stereotype.

Beyond the Salesperson

Social media is a portal that allows us to revise negative perceptions even beyond those of salespeople’s. Customers are all online gathering information and doing research before they ever walk into a showroom; why can’t dealerships begin to be the ones to provide this valuable information to their local car buyers?

Dealerships could use Facebook pages to provide answers to frequently asked questions or highlight product comparisons, instead of using them (often unsuccessfully) as an advertising platform. Providing value and sharing information about the product allows people to make real connections to the dealership and the cool things they sell.

These are only a few examples of how dealers can use social media to make people more comfortable walking into the showroom. Social platforms provide an incredible avenue of communication that could transform the way the public perceives the automotive industry. The tools and the audience are online; it’s just a matter if the automotive world is finally going to make a move and take action.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/09/using-social-media-to-eliminate-the-car-salesman-stereotype/

Laura Madison

A Personal Brand: Why Automotive Salespeople Should Go For It

Personal Brand

A personal brand is an incredibly powerful tool for salespeople to increase visibility with prospective clients and increase sales, so why aren’t more salespeople taking action? Perhaps because automotive salespeople do not realize how creating and maximizing a personal brand can solve two important challenges they face. Here are two problems having a strong personal brand can solve:

Challenge #1 – Leads

A common complaint among car salespeople is there are too few leads to keep them busy. A number of factors can be blamed for this complaint; slow phone traffic, a quiet season, or minimal walk-in showroom traffic.

How a personal brand can solve this challenge:

A personal brand is an opportunity for salespeople to come out of obscurity. Salespeople can use social media sites like Facebook and YouTube to promote themselves and their role selling cars to begin to gain local visibility. Participating on social platforms allows salespeople to connect with prospective customers and ultimately motivate them through the front door. Social media is also a phenomenal way for salespeople to build and maintain relationships with previous customers, so they’ll never forget who to refer and work with on the next purchase.

Challenge #2 – Differentiation

Differentiation may be the largest problem a salesperson faces. Whether the challenge is an inability to differentiate their Toyota store from the one down the street, or the Toyota Camry from the Honda, or differentiate themselves from other salespeople on staff, differentiation is an enormous salesman struggle.

How a personal brand can solve this challenge:

By creating and using a personal brand salespeople are building value in themselves. They are introducing themselves to prospective buyers and utilizing a platform to speak with customers genuinely, on a human-to-human level. An opportunity for an automotive salesperson to speak with prospects about what differentiates himself, his store, and the product is invaluable.

A personal brand puts a salesperson’s face in front of a prospect and begins building trust and relationship. By the time that customer comes into the dealership, he will know how to ask for and recognize his automotive professional and online connection. Creating a quick video, for example, to follow up an incoming internet lead can be an extremely powerful differentiator. If the customer submitted leads to five stores, the salesperson maximizing personal branding will likely be the only who has used something like video to communicate, and begin to build trust with, this customer. Building this type of value can not only earn a sale, but also make a customer fiercely loyal in the future.

In summary, a personal brand can help salespeople create a pipeline outside the walls of the dealership and build value in themselves, their dealership, and their product. That should be enough motivation to begin encouraging salespeople to create a strong personal brand on social media, so get to it!

UV Training

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/07/a-personal-brand-why-automotive-salespeople-should-go-for-it/

Laura Madison

Humanize Your Online Presence

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The use of social media is becoming mandatory for dealerships. Prospective clients are looking for local dealers’ Facebook pages; they’re searching YouTube for product comparisons and even asking friends across social platforms for recommendations. The problem in the automotive world is: the vast majority of dealerships and individual salespeople are using social incorrectly. Simply being active on a platform does not mean that platform is being effectively used. The key to an effective social media presence is creating human connection.

To illustrate the importance of human connection, have a look at how people in Japan buy and sell cars. Japanese salespeople go door-to-door trying to sell vehicles, rather than waiting at the dealership for the next ‘up’.  Once they find a prospective buyer, face-to-face meetings continue in their home with few Japanese car buyers ever even setting foot in a showroom. Paperwork is drawn up and signed in clients’ living rooms. When the sale is complete, a relationship has been formed that will last far beyond the delivery of the new vehicle; salespeople maintain constant contact with sold clients by calling, writing handwritten cards, even taking their clients to dinner.

What this demonstrates, I believe, and what the Japanese have remembered and we have forgotten is that commerce has always been personal. It has always been about people doing business with other people. This is where we have run into trouble in the digital world. We spend so much money on well-organized websites and so much time attempting to sell using social media but what we’re missing is connection. We’re missing the most critical element of relationships.

Consider for a moment what keeps a customer loyal, it’s not an oil change punch card or a fancy website; it’s relationship. It’s human-to-human connection.

Real connection is key to winning business.

There is some science behind the power of human connection in persuasion. Humans are born with a special part of the brain whose sole purpose is to recognize faces.  It is called the fusiform area and is located near the brain’s emotional center. The fusiform area makes us hard wired to use the human face as a centralized point for information and believability. So, in the case of faces: seeing is believing. In other words, an image of a salesperson’s face posted on social media is infinitely more powerful than a stock image of a new truck.

Fewer people are setting foot in dealership showrooms in 2015 than ever before, which provides a bit of a disadvantage in trying to create relationships. Social media, however, can fill this void by giving us a way to still create human-to-human connection with potential clients who already do all their research and shopping online.

Use this information to begin to dominate with a social media presence. Before your next social media post, consider human connection. Instead of touting an upcoming sale or a low, incentivized lease payment, introduce your followers to one of your salespeople. Keep personal relationships and human connection in mind with your dealership’s social presence—and always remember the power of the face.


Want to learn more from Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions?

We’re hosting Management by Fire in August. Watch this video or call 866.756.2620 for details.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/humanize-your-online-presence/

Laura Madison

4 Reasons Why Video is Your Fiercest Weapon

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Today, we can find social media participation in nearly every corner of the automotive industry; dealerships are active on Facebook, automakers are sharing images on Instagram, even salespeople have joined the movement tweeting and posting trying to win more business. It seems to be clear: social is not optional. However, even with all this progression in the social realm, the automotive industry is still missing one key component in social presence: video. Video has the most incredible opportunity for visibility, creating connection and building trust, but it remains the least utilized medium by our industry.

Think about yourself for a moment. How many videos have you watched this week alone? Chances are, at least a couple. Have you seen the video of the Nascar driver dressing in disguise and scaring the used car salesman on a test drive? Video is a powerful medium that people simply enjoy engaging with and sharing. For these reasons, video has the potential to become your fiercest marketing weapon, creating visibility and leads for your dealership. To be successful on social you must work video into your master (marketing) plan.

So why is video your fiercest weapon?

1) Our customers prefer it. IT’S EXCITING!! It’s visually stimulating and interesting. Video is engaging and easy to tune into. Our brain also processes video far better than audio alone or simple text. People remember 50% of what they watch compared to only 10% of what they read.

2) Video gives you the opportunity to communicate your message clearly. The visual element of video allows you to communicate non-verbally with things like facial expressions and tone. It was Tom Hopkins who said, “selling is the transfer of enthusiasm supported by conviction.” Video is the perfect medium to transfer enthusiasm with so many verbal and non-verbal elements at work: tone, body language, facial expression, and volume. Combine this clear and effective communication with how much people like to consume video, and you have pure marketing gold.

3) The Internet’s heavy players recognize the importance of video and favor it as a type of content. YouTube has Google behind it, making it an extremely strong tool for organic search engine optimization. This will aid in appearing towards the top of any relevant automotive keyword search in your area. Another heavy player in the social world, Facebook, favors video over other types of posts meaning a video uploaded straight into Facebook will be more visible to your audience than a simple text or picture post. More visibility allows you to make more impressions and connections on this social giant.

4) Video is your fiercest weapon also because video is do-able. It’s more do-able than you think. We don’t need fancy or expensive production with commercial quality. We need to create genuine connection and that can absolutely be accomplished quite simply using the camera on your smartphone. There’s a simple app called the YouTube Capture app that will allow you to film video, move clips around, edit out the beginning where you set the camera on the dash and the end where you hit the button to stop recording, and upload it straight to YouTube with a title, keywords, and a description. If you can use e-mail, you’ll be able to use this free app to create simple videos. Apps like this and simple tools like a smartphone make video absolutely do-able.

So, in review: consumers love watching videos, video allows you to communicate a message clearly, there are huge visibility advantages to video, and creating a video even off a cellphone is simple and do-able. You can use simple video to connect, differentiate your dealership, build relationships with clients, and win more business. Video is your fiercest weapon. Now get started.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/4-reasons-why-video-is-your-fiercest-weapon/