Leverage the Truth in Your Marketing

Many of us remember the movie, A Few Good Men with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson.  Tom Cruise asks Jack Nicholson’s character for the truth to which he replies, “You Can’t Handle the Truth.” This oft quoted line has become part of our lexicon, and today in an age of Internet transparency the truth is something we look for and find, but that many still want to hide.

What many of us don’t understand is that the truth can be a powerful marketing tool.  Our industry has a black eye when it comes to the perception of the typical car dealer.  We know it’s not deserved most of the time but we as an industry haven’t done much to change that perception on a broad basis.   Yes individual stores will stand out for their policies and their customer handling but then we see a larger number of dealerships using solutions that hide, manipulate or kill the truth about their levels of service and the way they approach treatment of their employees and the customer experience.

It’s tough to come across as a good dealer when you use services that consumers know hide the truth. When an auto shopper goes to a dealer’s website in New York City area and sees 34 pages of customer reviews and every single one is either 4 or 5 stars (again this is in New York) they know the dealer is lying to them about their performance.  Common sense says there had to be at least a few unhappy customers at the dealership.   Bottom line, essentially the dealer has just told all their prospects that they cannot be trusted, and there is a likelihood they will be lied to when they get to the dealership.   NOT a good way to start a relationship.

In my mind any business that can please 90% of their customers is a darn good company.  Most dealerships from all my research easily exceed that number so why be afraid of a few bad reviews.  A good dealer wants to know when they have issues so they can correct them and learn from them to improve performance.   Dealers also need a way to publicly address those reviews in a timely fashion and let the public know they are taking steps to resolve the issue.

We all know that no one is perfect, but when there is an issue will your or your company work hard to correct the situation.  On the Carfolks platform we reward dealers for doing things right and allow them to leverage transparency and the truth to engage their customers and build long term customer loyalty.  It’s Reputation Marketing at its best.

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