Friday, January 30, 2015

Becoming An Expert In Your Field: 

This August, I will have worked at DealerSocket for ten years. During this time I have worked with many dealerships via support, consulting, and through sales. With these experiences I have become knowledgeable with our product and I am often the “go to person” at the company when fellow employees have questions. Frequently, employees and even dealers refer people directly to me for help and advice. 

The automotive industry is filled with both vendors and dealers who are very knowledgeable people. A couple years ago I decided that I wanted to be more than just an expert within DealerSocket. One of my goals was to become an expert in the automotive industry and share my knowledge with others in the industry. I began getting involved on industry websites and I became more involved with Twitter and social media. Now I noticed that some vendors often use the industry websites and social media to constantly push and promote their product. I decided that instead of duplicating that, as a vendor, I would share and offer dealerships my knowledge to help them succeed. In just a few months I was able to generate a large amount of “followers” on twitter and industry websites. I was asked to write articles and blogs, I was featured in interviews and podcasts and invited speak at trade shows. I created a place dealers can go to access all of my content (http://hunterswift.com) where I created an audience and I am receiving much traffic and positive feedback. I try to talk about things that can help dealerships, involving ways that can benefit the dealerships. The articles that I have written have brought much exposure to my company but also helped build credibility to myself as an expert in the automotive industry. 

The automotive industry is full of other great knowledgable people who can really help others and I hope those people will do what I have done. Now I am not saying to go out and start blogging and tweeting and speaking at conferences, but everyone should continue to learn and strive to become an expert. 

Being an expert helps you: 
- Establish yourself as an industry leader 
- Help others 
- Become a trusted resource 
- Get mentioned 
- Gain access 
- Convert followers to sales 

I remind my salespeople that it is their responsibility to be an expert with the product they sell and the industry they work in. There are many people that I trust simply because they know what they are talking about, and they are not trying to sell me anything. These are people that I learn from, but also whom I would buy from because I trust their expertise and knowledge. What are you doing to be an expert with your product you sell? It is one thing to know the product or how to demo it; it is another to completely know how your product can benefit the customer. Are you actively trying to improve yourself on sales, customers service or dealership processes and learn more about the industry you work in? 

Only a fool assumes he knows everything and can’t learn more. No matter how much you know, ideas and content are changing. News happens, ideas shift, people try new things. It is important for you to stay on top of the latest updates. Are you up to date with what is going on in the industry? Are you visiting industry websites? Are you reading books to help you learn more? Do you talk to your existing dealerships and see what works for them? Every time you are in a dealership, do you allow it to be a learning opportunity? There is nothing better than seeing firsthand how the dealership operates. Keep your main goal of becoming an expert to help others. I have gone to many conferences and noticed a lot of the experts were far more interested in themselves than in sharing their knowledge and helping others. It takes time but, as you build your knowledge more people will come to know you as an expert and look to you for advice and this will convert it to more sales.
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