Monday, April 11, 2011

RM: A Great Reputation Earned Must Also be Heard

As a business, you always want the great reputation that comes with great sales and service experiences for your buyers, and that always begins at your dealership with great customer service before, during, and after the sale.  However, before they get to a business,  82% of consumers say they have been influenced by online reviews.  And those reviews—and your dealership—have to be found online in search engines for the shoppers to see.  The Internet search engines reward high “find-ability” to dealerships that have customers tell people about their great experience!
These days, the Internet's answer to the old philosophical riddle “If a tree falls in the forest with no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a resounding “NO”—there is no great reputation if no one's there to hear it!  And any bad customer experiences can take on a life of their own to be heard and lead sales downward.  You need to get on top of your reputation for the best sales, 24 x 7 x Internet.  How is that done?

Start with great customer service, and then ask your customers to review you (and tell them how to do that), which is all part of Reputation Management (RM).  And when is it best to ask for a review?  I personally believe that it’s best in this order:  at your dealership, later on their cell phone/smartphone, then lastly back at their home—but, regardless of where, get the review every time as soon as you can.  If you ask for it at the dealership, using reputation portal tools like PrestoReviews, the sizzle taste of the steak you sold is still in their mouths.  For Google Reviews and other review tools like DealerRater, you can give your buyers QR cards or review URL cards to take home, and/or collect their emails for review reminders, etc.  And don’t forget to ask about Facebook!

Besides the “sizzle” factor, however, why should you first ask for reviews while the buyer is at the dealership?  Because the benefits are huge!  Buyers will likely give happier reviews closer to purchase time rather than several hours later—and having a “review request” spot within the timeline of your sales process is a GREAT moment to hear about and defuse any negative issues with your buyers.  Which is much better than getting a bad review online later that you didn’t expect.

With RM as described here, you’ll not only get great reviews, as a fantastic by-product you’ll also get the great SEO advantages of all that well-placed and easily-found information about your dealership!  And be sure to claim your Google Places to further enhance your reviews and dealership SEO.

So, don’t be quiet about your reputation!  Earn those great reviews with great customer service and then use smart on-property and off-property RM tools and processes to get them online and visible—and also get your dealership more find-able online, where all your buyers really start their shopping.

Because, remember, in the Giant Forest of the Internet, your great reputation is not just earned.  It must also be heard!

By Keith Shetterly, keithshetterly@gmail.com
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
www.keithshetterly.com
 P.S. I took that picture in Montana!  :)

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