Make Your Dealership More Enchanting: 3 Lessons from Guy Kawasaki’s Digital Dealer Keynote

By: Felicia Savage

guyDigital Dealer is hosting their 15th conference this month in Las Vegas. We are excited to have many employees attending to learn from and network with some of the brightest dealers in the automotive world. Their first night culminated in a keynote that earned massive praise both at the conference and on Twitter. Digital Dealer was proud to welcome Guy Kawasaki, one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh. Guy is a world-renowned speaker, author, and entrepreneur, and he showed why in his keynote speech.

Guy’s speech was on how to make your dealership more enchanting. Here are three key lessons that we took away for our dealers.

1. Be Likeable

You have to be likeable before you can be enchanting. Kawasaki started his speech with a picture of he and Sir Richard Branson in Moscow. The story goes that Branson came up to him and asked “Guy, do you fly Virgin Airlines?” and Kawasaki replied “No, I’m United Airlines Global Service. I don’t want to risk losing that privilege by flying another airline!”

Branson looked at Kawasaki with a big smile on his face, knelt down, and started shining his shoes.

“And that was the day I started flying Virgin,” Kawasaki said.

The moral of the story is that more people will be willing to buy from you and, just as importantly, send you new business, if they like you. By itself, this knowledge seems obvious. That’s why Kawasaki went a step further and provided us with a “path to likeability.”

Have a Great Smile

Smiles are contagious, and great smiles are viral. So what is a great smile? According to Kawasaki, a great smile isn’t about the jaws or the teeth, it’s about the eyes.

“You actually want” crow’s feet!” Kawasaki said.

A genuine smile is inviting and ensures that the first emotion someone feels when they see you is a warm one. To make your showroom more inviting, make sure that each one of your salespeople knows how to throw on a warm and genuine smile to help establish trust with your Ups.

Accept Others for Who They Are

“If you want to be liked, people have to understand that you accept them for what they already are,” explained Kawasaki. This is something that we apply every single day at a person-to-person level, but it may be harder to translate to your dealership, an area where it could be far more valuable.

Make sure your sales staff is trained to listen to your customers, empathize with their pain points, and accept them for the type of buyer they are. If you view the Up driving a hard bargain because “they saw a better price online” as an opponent or obstacle you have to overcome, it will be hard to establish a common ground and make the sale. If you recognize that he is just a frugal consumer trying to find a way to stretch his dollar, however, you would likely find it much easier to compromise on features that match his needs.

Say “Yes”

If you default to yes, you’re opening yourself up for a world of possibilities. Kawasaki talked about establishing common ground with your customer, and nothing establishes common ground faster than agreeing with someone.

2. Enchant Your Employees

In case you can’t tell already, none of these steps can be done alone. You need your employees to be on board and engaged in order to be successful at enchanting potential customers. To teach what it takes to enchant your employees, Kawasaki turned to one of my personal favorite books, Drive by Daniel Pink. This book theorizes that motivation is based on three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Here’s how you can put each one of those elements to work in your dealership.

Stop Looking Over Shoulders

If you want your employees to be comfortable at work, they need to feel like they can do their job on their own. If they constantly feel you breathing down their neck, they won’t perform as well, which will just make you monitor them more closely. It’s a never-ending cycle. If you end the cycle and focus more on results and less on monitoring their every move, they’ll be much more excited about showing up every morning.

Give Back to Your Employees with Extra Training

This especially goes for sales staff. When you have a staff paid on commission, they always want to be  better at their job because that has a direct impact on their bottom line. If you haven’t done this before, try hiring a sales coach to come in once a month to teach your staff more about the art of selling. Recommend books, podcasts, or blogs that you think will provide them more knowledge. By giving them the opportunity to improve their commission, you’re giving them a bonus without increasing their paycheck.

Don’t Sell a Car, Sell a Dream

If you want your salespeople to operate with a purpose greater than their bottom line, then give them that greater purpose. Try to highlight a customer who has bought a car from you and the impact that’s had on their lives. Your sales staff isn’t just selling cars, they’re selling transportation, flexibility, and accessibility to hard working families.

3. Use Technology

Here are just a few ways Kawasaki recommended you incorporate technology into your dealership’s marketing push:

  • Remove the speed bumps, make everything more accessible
  • Provide value such as information, insights, and assistance on social media
  • Engage with your customers on social media, but do it fast, frequently, and equally for everyone.

To see the entire speech, click here. For more information on Digital Dealer, click here or follow the #DD15 hashtag.