Your Reputation Matters

More consumers are looking online to find quality products and services.  With the advent of reviews on just about every site, with product comparisons and with search engines posting user generated content, online shoppers have a wealth of insights and information at their fingertips.

If a customer called you today, and said, “I want to buy a car  from the best <insert your make(s) here> dealer in the area.  Are you the best?  And if you tell me you are,  where can I go on the Internet other than your own website or the OEMs website to see proof that you out perform the competition?”

The typical responses I got when I asked that question on my mystery shopping calls were . . .

  • We have won the Presidents Award,
  • Earned the Mark of Excellence,
  • We are an Elite Dealer
  • We post testimonials right here on our website
  • You can view videos of our happy customer  on our “Testimonials” page

98% of the time the dealer had no “objective” third party evidence that they really “walked the talk.”  When I asked where I could see what criteria they met to earn their OEM recognition they had no customer friendly answer.  Just some mumbo jumbo about superior performance.

If the consumer can’t validate and measure accolades from the Factory, then it doesn’t count.  And if you think a Presidents Award makes you special, just Google, “dealership presidents  award” and you will see there are about 350,000 results.  Nothing unique here.

Think about any product you bought or researched online within the last two years.  Before you made the purchase did you check out reviews of the product, service or the vendor offering the product?  Betcha the answer is yes.

AFTER 10+ YEARS OF ONLINE AUTO SHOPPING, AUTO BUYERS KNOW ANY DEALER CAN MEET OR BEAT ANY LEGITIMATE PRICE.

So if that is the case, what will determine where the consumer will shop and buy the product?   Most likely the influencing factors will be, location, inventory and reputation.

Which of those is easiest to influence and help you stand apart from the competition?  Your dealership needs to be proactive and have a process that insures every customer leaves happy or at the least satisfied with the experience at your dealership.  Provide a feedback mechanism where it is easy for your customers to praise or pound you. And if you get pounded contact the customer and find a way to resolve the issue.

We would also like to invite you to check out www.carfolks.com and see how we are helping to improve the professionalism of sales people in our industry and present a more accurate picture of how dealerships treat their customers.

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