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5.31.17.

At Dealer World, part of our overall strategy is to help a dealer, or any business, SELL MORE NOW. In order to achieve this, we look at the business’ reviews and ratings. We often speak to businesses about their online presence and ratings and how they connect to the efficiency of all their advertising. It strikes me as funny that sometimes that connection does not really “click.”

In this day and age, if I am hungry for breakfast, I may turn to Google and search “restaurants near me.” Once I see the results, I guarantee you that if there is a 3.5 star restaurant really close to me, I will drive a mile past it to get to the place with a 4.8 star rating. Even if the business with 3.5 stars had an ad that was so good I could smell the bagel, I would still visit the store with 4.8 stars.

Here is the chain of events in this scenario:

  • I google what I want
  • I see an ad or a business listing
  • I see the reviews or, if I am shown an ad that does not have reviews, I check the business for reviews prior to stepping into my car at all.
  • If the rating starts with a 3 — a 3-point-anything — I will keep looking until I find a place that inspires me to get in my car and head that way, even if it is for a $4.00 breakfast bagel.

The fact that some major businesses think anything less than this is happening for their business is insane. Let’s say you are shopping for a car that costs $25,000 or more. Would you drive ten miles past a dealership to get to one with a rating that’s one whole star higher? If all other things were equal, and they normally are in franchised businesses such as the automotive business, where would you rather go: 3.5-star Charlie’s or 4.8-star Bob’s?

That said, if you show your customer an inspiring ad that makes them want to shop for the deal, the service, the personality of the store, and then serve them up 4.8 stars, that is where the magic happens.

Now let’s suppose you have gotten the customer’s attention with a great ad and they’re considering visiting your store. Before they do, however, they go into trust and verify mode. If they have to say to their spouse, “Ummm, well honey the deal sounds good, and I know Jack and Diane got a good deal there, but they only have 3.3-star rating and a bunch of 1 stars,” there is a great chance this customer moves on.

The moral of the story is this: great ads with great reviews go together like milk and Cheerios. If you want to get the best ROI from your ads, or if you think they are not working as well as they used to, maybe it is time to check your reviews before you just ditch the ads.

Take a look at all your reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook etc. and ask yourself the bagel question: If I sold bagels, would people eat here for $4.00 or drive past me? If they are shopping for a product that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can expect the same answer.

Reviews matter and affect the performance of your overall marketing strategy and spend. Let’s face it: they are not going away, so working on the quantity and quality of your reviews has to be a part of your business plan from now on.

Troy Spring, CEO of Dealer World

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