Social Media, Does the Bad Outweigh the Good?

No matter the day of the week or time of the month, there was always one thing that stood above all else, certain to give you a dose of reality in the dealership, and that was “The Sales Board.” It’s what my GM looked at hourly and what our owner went to first upon entering the store. It’s how you knew who was really making money and how good someone really was.

Since its inception it has always been the best motivator in the business, never talked smack, never complained, never gossiped and never told tales of the past (it was wiped clean the 1st of each month). It simply told the truth. And the ONLY people who were aware of it were the employees of the dealership. It was usually tucked away in dark dingy conference room or the lunchroom, then it slowly graduated to BDC or sales office. The sales board was an “internal” tool used to track the staff’s results progress, while the managers would secretly also hope a little friendly competition would result from it.

So, my question is, what’s changed? Why is it now acceptable to post them on social media? Some “think” customers want to deal with a successful salesperson, but the reality is customers don’t care and nobody likes a braggard. It used to be my “go to” when arguing with a fellow sales associate to ask for most recent paystubs but, again, that was friendly competition and NEVER in front of a customer or on social media for the world to see. I even now see people posting stacks of cash (some real and some movie money) and an overwhelming amount of chest pounding “look at me” and how well I’m doing. BUT is it how well someone is doing or how well someone wants you to believe they’re doing? The two aren’t the same….

I’ve been around the business long enough to remember when we’d make fun of the person taking a picture of their Rolex in front of their steering wheel and 9 out of 10 times it was their demo. Then it was “how is your sock game” and everyone took pics of multi-colored funny socks. Now in 2021 we have turned our people into “this” and whatever “this” is, it’s foolish and obnoxious. Lest not forget all stereotypes we worked so hard to have people forget and all the ridiculousness we worked to remove from the industry yet here we are, right back with what is appalling to the masses. Almost to the point we should be wearing the plaid jackets, pinky rings and sunglasses again (oh, maybe we are, with ill-fitting blazers, pants that are too short and, yes, sunglasses).

Which leads me to my final observation, what happens when all this free money runs out, when society is back to normal and we have to go back to actually “selling” and not taking orders? Will everyone still be the “best?” Will we brag about breaking records and all the money we’re making? I know we heard none of this back in 2009 with cash for clunkers, and that was specifically to get our industry out of trouble! We had companies going bankrupt, dealers losing their franchises and our brothers in arms out on the streets out of work! How quickly we forget! What changed this time around with the pandemic?  The only thing I can think of is wanting to be seen on social media and having egos stroked. Did our business really become so superficial, that we want to be trending or see how many “likes and views” we get?

Never did I think certain people in our industry would turn in to the Kardashins? I had the pleasure of working for some of the best managers, GM’s and owners in the business and have been inside some of the best run dealer groups across the country and you know what? I never once saw a picture of their backyard, swimming pools, their watches in front of their steering wheel, or their stupid socks! It’s almost like we are turning our industry into a reality show. And King of Cars was cancelled because civilians HATE it! So, I’ll be anxiously waiting to see what happens when our business gets back to reality, when dealers are sitting on 100’s of units slowly aging with more hitting that floor plan account. Maybe then salespeople will actually start using social media for selling instead of bragging/lying.

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