Once again, I am writing this as I am flying. This time, I am headed home from a conference on digital marketing in the automotive industry. Now, I realize this is mostly a male-dominated industry with deep “good ole boy” traditions; however, in 2015, I would think the convention mentality of the 80’s would have gone by the wayside.
I am a businesswoman, and I take my career very seriously. Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have fun because you can ask anyone who knows me, and they will say that fun is at the top of my attributes. But must I be either/or? Must I choose to not try to network or have a conversation at a convention because there is a good chance it will be interpreted as flirting or wanting more?
At SCPA, we truly have a great business, and we pride ourselves in bringing a social media strategy that is unlike any other out there to the automotive table. We use a strategy that encompasses all of the dealership, parts, service, sales, detail, and warranty, and we especially love working alongside a BDC. In an effort to communicate this to potential clients, there has to be a great (not good, but great) line of communication between the dealership representative and my team. Now, you are gonna have to believe me on this next point: I do not feel like I need to flirt or be flattering to be successful in this male-dominated world. I am an expert at what I do, and if you will allow me the latitude, I can demonstrate exactly how we can help your dealership increase revenue and have that top-of-mind awareness that all dealerships need to have.
I am not on a rant here. I just think that we need to move forward in the evolution of women in this industry, and I am saying this because of some of the many experiences that I had during this convention. Maybe this still happens at all conventions, not just the automotive industry. Maybe I am singling out a group that is just behaving as all others are at conventions, and MAYBE women aren’t helping this matter. Maybe there is some flirty behavior going on that is unnecessary, and if so, STOP IT!
We are all professionals in our everyday lives. Why would we be any different when we are away at a PROFESSIONAL convention, a convention that costs you or your company thousands of dollars?
Okay, I have chastised enough. I swear that I am done.
NOW FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT NETWORKING
So let’s talk about what networking looks like. First off, I love learning about new businesses, and I love sharing mine. I realize that we will not be a perfect fit for all businesses out there, just as there are some vendors that have great products that just do not fit in with my business plan. But I still want to hear about them. There may be a time when I become a great referral partner for you, and if you can articulate how your product or service solves a problem or enhances revenue, I am all ears.
Sometimes, I really don’t understand that there is a problem in the auto industry until I see that someone has created a product or service that addresses that need, and that happened quite a bit this convention.
I was very interested in several of the vendor offerings and was truly engaged as they described what their companies offered. I had questions when I didn’t understand and was polite if they had to search for some of the answers from someone on their team who maybe had more experience than they did. I took their cards and their information, and then I offered mine.
To me, networking is relationship building. It is the information that is shared back and forth that creates this wonderful, symbiotic relationship that has the ability to be mutually beneficial. Whether I ever do business with you or not, do not remove me from the list of people to network with and please, at some point, stop the sales pitch. Just talk and listen. We all have our hurdles in business, and solving them is what makes us unique entrepreneurs. Maybe a mastermind group could be formed from a group of people who meet at one of these networking events and a bigger, better product or process could be born from that. If we are open to listening and truly engage with the other people in our industry, how could we not add value to each other, even if we never use the others services, even if we just absorb the knowledge of the product or service and then retain that for a future time when we are dealing with a business that is struggling with the EXACT problem that your company helps to solve?HUGE, right?
This is what networking looks like.
There is no need to be the convention freak.
There is no need to discount me just because you think that I will never be your customer.
There IS a need to learn. Every day of your life, you should be learning, and maybe a conversation with me about struggles and successes in this industry will cause you to think of something that had never crossed your mind. Or maybe you have heard of similar dealerships that were struggling with this same problem that I shared with you and had just happened to have met someone that offered a solution to my dilemma, AND YOU HAD THEIR CONTACT INFO!
This is what super-successful networking looks like to me.
What does it look like to you?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the subject line, type “NETWORKING.”
Then, let me know what an ideal referral to you would look like, and if I have one for you, you can bet that I will surely pass it along.
An ideal referral to Social Climber Pro Auto looks like this:
- Dealership – Truck, car, semi, RV
- Must understand the power of social media
- Should be looking for a way to outsource to get tasks done right or be looking for training for current staff
Now, see? That wasn’t hard, and I am sure that there are some referrals that you know NEED our help, but they must realize the power of social media. Even if they don’t understand, they should at least know that it is important. I may not k
now how an engine works, but I realize that it is important and know that I must have one if I am to leave my driveway.
So if you know of someone who could benefit from our services, drop me an email at email@example.com, message me on Facebook at Facebook.com/socialclimberpro, find me on LinkedIn (Robin Wilson), or even hit me up on Twitter @socialclimberpr.
Okay, it looks like we are getting ready to land, so cheers for now!
Social Media Guru/Super Duper Craps Player