Personal Branding in a dealership is a much debated subject. Should a sales consultant brand themselves separate from the dealership? What if the sales consultant becomes bigger than the dealership? There is a multitude of questions that rise from the topic of personal branding.
From a marketing standpoint, personal branding is super important as it is the identity or fabric in which your customers will relate to you, in other words, humanize. In a world that is quite noisy it is almost a MUST to ensure that you stay relevant, significant and ultimately valuable. Personal brand equity. Has someone ever asked you if you knew someone for a particular service or product that they needed? Have you responded with “I have a guy or gal for that”? Well, if the answer is yes, then you my friend have witnessed how powerful “personal branding” can be!
Meet Laura Madison, a saleswoman from from a Toyota dealership in Bozeman, Montana. It has always been my dream to walk into a dealership and see a stiletto sitting on the front counter, well, Laura just may be that stiletto! I read about her in this Automotive News article but have been following her on Twitter for some time. Immediately after reading the article it brought me back to my days when I got my first shot in the automotive industry at Zender Ford. Like Laura, I had no auto background and quite frankly was happy about that as it allowed me to bring in fresh ideas with fresh perspective.
I chatted on the phone with Laura and asked her some questions and found out that she has worked retail previously and had applied to work at the dealership several times but was not hired. She applied again and got the job, rest is history! I am going to stop talking now so you can read the below Questions and Answers from our conversation.
Before I go, I have one question: What do you think about Individual Branding?
What made you hop on social media in the first place?
Laura: My dealership is in the middle of nowhere so I was not going to wait around for a “UP”. I wanted to create my own business so getting online is second nature, if I wanted to attract potential car buyers.
How did your individual branding start?
Laura: I wanted people to come to me, therefore I knew I needed to brand myself in a way that was memorable and authentic. In fact, my customers came up with my nick name “Laura Toyota” as they just started referring to me as the girl that works at Toyota. I just started going with that name and the rest is history.
How long have you been in the automotive industry and what made you decide to go online to start branding yourself?
Laura: I have been in the auto industry for 3 and a half years. I am 25 years old and social media and online is what I know so it only made sense for me to increase my personal brand through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What is one thing that makes you different from other car salespeople?
Laura: When I started I immediately started incorporating social media into my daily activities. I also made sure that I worked at a dealer that sold a brand I believe and am passionate about.
Lastly, what advice would you give to salespeople or professional in the auto industry?
Laura: I would tell them to keep educating themselves and understand where the customer is. Customers are online and using the internet in masses. If I want to have a chance at their business, I must try and meet them where they are.
Hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to drop some feedback!