Embrace digital or risk disruption, says Vaynerchuk

Entrepreneur and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk encouraged Toronto DealerTalkx delegates in Toronto to fundamentally change their mindsets regarding technology and where it is headed.  

“You may believe it, but you don’t act on it. You may believe it, but you don’t spend your money on it,” Vaynerchuk said during his keynote presentation. “Please do not bet against what’s happening.”

Vaynerchuk, an energetic and dynamic speaker paced the stage and challenged dealers to rethink their approach to capturing the attention of their customers and prospects. And he didn’t pull any punches.

“Attention is being fragmented like we’ve never seen it before,” he said. And tools available today are just the start. “The fact that where technology sits today is going to look archaic in 10 years is scary.”

Vaynerchuk is one of the industry’s most sought after speakers, is a “serial entrepreneur” and four-time New York Times bestselling author. He was named to Crain and Fortune’s 40 under 40 lists.

“Whether you think this is awesome or you think this is terrible, we’re living in the most interesting time,” he said. “This is not about tradition versus digital — this is about attention.”

To attract the attention of consumers, dealers need to engage with them where they really live, shop and interact which is in digital channels and social media environments. “Before you tell me something, you need my attention,” said Vaynerchuk, adding that creative content is key.  

It’s also key to have the right approach for social which is: “Give, give, give and then ask. And it’s not take. It’s ask.”

It’s vital for dealers to stay close to their customers and social media allows them to build these relationships. “The person or organization that is closest to the actual customer always wins,” said Vaynerchuk.

While spending is important, he noted the ROI is nonexistent if you don’t know how to use social media. He encouraged dealers to take things into their own hands and spend the time to learning how to use social media channels and buy and manage digital advertising. “You can’t read about doing pushups, you have to actually do them,” said Vaynerchuk.

While Vaynerchuk said this is important for selling cars today, more importantly it will ready dealers for what’s to come: “running a hardcore, technology marathon.”

Vaynerchuk says dealers need to take a longer-term view of their business and the steps they need to take today to be successful tomorrow. “Every day I could care less about what made me successful yesterday,” says Vaynerchuk, adding that he thinks it's early days yet for virtual reality technology, but that he’s betting that more people will be “talking to the speakers” in their homes and ordering things online with technology like Alexa, and Google Home.

Organized by Kijiji, Canada’s largest online classifieds site, the theme of DealerTalkx 2017 is “Dealership of the future.”