The auto dealership industry has a trust problem. Consumers are wary of the stereotypical car salesman and the difficulty of the buying process. In the past, consumers and resellers engaged in a painful dance, where they negotiated back and forth before finally arriving at a selling price. Often, the painfully long process left consumers exhausted and frustrated with the outcome.
Consumers are so wary of the traditional car buying experience that as early as 1994 they were demanding more transparency and simplicity from the industry. In fact, the employee email database now defunct Saturn became the 3rd best-selling car model in 1994, largely due to its streamlined (i.e., no price negotiation) retail experience. Today's savvy consumers are following in the footsteps of those early Saturn fans. They have information long before they even set foot in your dealership. They have done their research, know their price and are not interested in negotiating. And most of their research happens (you guessed it) online. But how can you win the trust challenge if consumers don't engage with you before entering your dealership? Well, customers interact with you before they walk into your dealership - thanks to your online reputation. They will seek reviews, seek recommendations from their personal networks, and make their own dealer comparisons. Trust is earned and it starts online.
It is also essential to encourage customers to visit your dealership. Your business landscape is very competitive: resellers are selling very similar products at very similar prices, all in a crowded marketplace. Your ability to build trust online will boost your reputation and can be the key differentiator that will help you win over your competitors. With any challenge comes an opportunity and the matter of confidence is no different. Here are some steps you can take to improve your dealership's online reputation and build your brand. Manage your brand, amplify your notoriety Encourage customers to leave and respond to reviews, even (especially) negative reviews. Remember, these are opportunities for you to thank your customers, improve your processes, and move your business forward. Sites like the BBB and Yelp offer your dealership a great way to boost its online reputation, increase brand recognition and build trust.