One of the greatest car salesmen in history was a Detroit native named Joe Girard, who made the Guinness Book of World Records for selling 1,425 cars in 1973.
The secret to Mr. Girard's success? He got people to like him. He would send out more than 13,000 cards every month to current and prospective customers, with the message "I like you" on the front and a holiday greeting (Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, etc.) on the inside.
It was an effective strategy in the pre-Internet era.
In the digital era, salesmen — and businesses — usually have to take a different approach, said Jim McKinley, the principal and co-founder of the digital marketing company (Un)Common Logic.
Mr. McKinley has been a digital marketer since 1999 and has worked with more than 100 companies over the last two decades.
He said winning companies typically have one of three things:
- A structural advantage (like being the only Honda dealership in a geographic area);
- An ability to monetize traffic at a higher rate than competitors (either because they have a great website or a strong brand such as Amazon);
- A willingness to do the "hard things" in digital marketing.
Mr. McKinley focused on the third aspect in his 30-minute presentation at this year's virtual SEMA Show. While specific tactics will vary from company to company, he gave three tangible ideas that every business can implement.
"To be clear — I'm not setting some sort of success recipe or list of secret digital tactics; that's not the purpose of today," Mr. McKinley said. "What I am doing is talking about three of the 'hard things' that winners are doing."