Every Friday morning, Kinny Landrum records “The Kinny Landrum Show,” a weekly YouTube series in which the salesman at Toyota of Bowling Green in Kentucky answers questions from viewers in his market and across the country.
“My goal is to be a household name in Bowling Green,” Landrum said. “No matter what kind of vehicle customers are looking for, I want them to think of me.”
Auto salespeople increasingly are promoting themselves — apart from their dealerships — with personal websites, YouTube videos and social media pages as a way to sell vehicles now and down the road. It’s a trend akin to one in the real-estate world, in which salespeople promote themselves rather than their agencies.
For some auto dealers, the trend is unsettling. Although dealers see the value in sales staffers raising their profiles and building strong consumer relationships, there’s a concern that a dealership could lose customers if a popular salesperson leaves. Dealers also worry that they may have insufficient control of their salespeople’s websites and social media content.
Consumers consider product, price and place when buying a car, DealerRater CEO Gary Tucker said. “But now,” he said, “we’re seeing this fourth leg: Not only which dealership am I going to go to, but who am I going to ask for when I get there?”
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