Are You Marketing Your Difference Inside Your Dealership?


marketing strategy street signs

I have been talking a lot with dealerslately about how they are marketing their customer reviews at their dealership. It seemed like a strange question for a few of them,but I wanted to get them to understand that once someone gets to your dealership, they need to be reassured that they are in the same place they saw online or in print.

Over the past year or so dealers have been bombarded by writers, like myself, about the importance of getting customer reviews online. The statistics are pretty clear from an article last fall on Fortune3.com (www.fortune3.com/blog/2011/08/statistics-on-ecommerce-and-customer-reviews-online/):

Website magazine reports, ‘The study, taken by Cone Inc., found that 89 percent of consumers trust online reviews, and while 80 percent of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on negative information that they found online, 87 percent claim that positive reviews reinforce their purchasing decisions.

Manydealers have come to embrace this need and are beginning to implement a strategy to obtain reviews. What I want to discuss is how to leverage the reviews inside your dealership to increase your business.

Before we begin I need to ask, can I find the reviews easily on your website? Businesses becomecomfortable knowing that reviews are on third-party sites and think that is enough. Can I find these “Rave Reviews” easilyon your home page? Is it clear on the main navigation with a tab that says, “reviews,”“customer testimonials,”or “see what our customers are saying”? If I,as a consumer,have to dig to find them in the fourthdrop down menu on a navigation tab I will notgo looking and so they don’t exist.

The reason why I wanted to address this first is that if you are not willing to show reviews front and center on your “online” dealership, you most likely are not doing it onsite.
So now your customers have read how great the experience will be doing business with you, so they make the trip and show up. What do you have on site that shows you are the same place they read about? Can they see signs of happy customers? Do they see things that show your staff as people just like themselves? Let’s look at a few ideas that I have seen in dealerships and other places as well.



I was struck by the simplicity of a sign in a hospital cafeteria the other day that said, “You asked, we listened, here are changes to our menu based on the spring survey. Keep your feedback coming.” I love that. Think of how impactful it would be if you had a sign in your service area that said, “Based on customer feedback we are opening up our service drive 30 minutes earlier.” That shows you want to make the experience of doing business with you easy and convenient for your customers.

I also saw a sign in the St. Louis Airport with a group photo of the airport staff saying, “Catch us giving great customer service.” This showed me that they are willing to put themselves out to the public wanting feedback. Think what an impression that would make for your business if you had a huge photo showing your staff putting out that same message. I saw a “Wall of Fame” in a dealership where they had a column titled “Community Involvement.” It showed Little League teams they sponsored, charity events, letters they received from other businesses, newspaper articles. This shows people that you give back to the community, which is important to customers.

They also had a column titled “Customer Satisfaction Awards.” Most of these were from the OEM but the smart thing they did was to tell customers what the awards were for. Many awards you receive from the industry are not that recognizable to customers so tell them what they were for.

They had a column of written notes or emails with photos of new drivers in their cars. Many dealers ask me what to do with these so putting them on the wall is great. Just make sure they are current and not a year old. That can backfire and make it seem like there have not been happy customers for a while.

From buttons to banner stands find simple ways to show your customers, both current and future that you want to improve your service and how you are involved in your community. Remember all businesses are customer businesses and if you do not include them in the discussion of how to deliver your service to them, you will be wondering why your business is not growing.

Ask and you shall receive.

Glenn Pasch is the current COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well asa writer,national speaker and trainer.

Cody Larson

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