I wish that this was going to be a story about baseball. I really do. Unfortunately, it's a story about education and the art of the sales pitch as it pertains to vendors on the various automotive networks.
It is important to understand that every vendor in our industry has a responsibility. This is a tough business. Those of us who have been on the other side at the dealership level receiving pitches from vendors know that they come hard and they come often. It's part of the game. This is one of the most competitive industries out there from both perspectives - dealers competing against other dealers and vendors competiting to earn their business.
The internet in general and these networks, blogs, and webinars in particular are the tools we need to succeed at both levels. For dealers, it's an opportunity to learn ways to improve business, harness best practices, and bounce ideas against others in the industry. For vendors, it's a chance to hear what dealers think about certain topics, what they want out of products, and to what degree they want assistance versus direct help.
These venues are for mutual education. They're for dialogue. They're for ideas. They're not the place to pitch your products.
Some would say that education is worthless if it doesn't yield increased business at the vendor level. That's a different argument altogether, but I can tell you this much with a certainty...
If you help dealers by giving them tips, techniques, strategies, and advice that helps them with their business, they will be more inclined to look to you when they need your services.
It works. I see it every day. I don't have to pitch my social product to get calls and emails from dealers wanting to know how I can help. I simply post information as it comes to me that can help dealers succeed with or without my help. Some will do nothing with the information. Some will take it and apply it themselves. Some will take it and inquire about ways I can make it easier or do it for them.
As I said, it's the responsibility of every vendor in this industry to take the knowledge that they gain from their bird's eye view of things and translate it into ways that can help in the trenches at the dealership. The market is too questionable and the competition level is too high for anyone to hold their cards too close to the vest. It doesn't help the industry. It doesn't help dealers.
It doesn't help you.
Amen, JD. Blatant sales pitches on sites like these will do a vendor far more harm than good. The secret is to provide value. Providing value and helping dealers without expectation will lead dealers to want to do business with your company far more than any "pitch".