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It's been a while since I bought a car. Six years. Yep, I'm one of those people. A lot has changed since then. I know that next time I buy one, I will definitely do something that I didn't do any time before. I'll check reviews.
It occurred to me this morning that I don't do anything at all without checking the reviews first. Before I watch a movie, eat at a restaurant, buy electronics, or get my hair cut, I read reviews. Heck, I usually won't watch a YouTube video if the ratings are too low. I don't think that I'm alone.
I've always known that reputation management was important for car dealers, but I suppose it never really hit home until I had my epiphany this morning that there must be other people out there who simply will not do anything at all without checking reviews. I have an insider's view, having a stake in a reputation management company, that makes me skeptical about them to some extent. I realize that positive reviews can be encouraged and negative reviews can be partially avoided. Even armed with this knowledge, I still read them and I usually trust them.
Those of us who read reviews often can tell the difference between sincere reviews and those that are less-than-trustworthy. There's something in the wording, something about the reviewers themselves that send off alarm bells. You can see how many reviews they've left in the past, whether or not they have real friends, and even something simple like whether or not they have a real profile picture.
I'm not telling you all of this because I think dealers need to know the importance of reviews. Most here on Driving Sales probably already consider their reputation to be an extremely important part of their marketing. I'm telling you this because right now, this morning, I finally get it. I have become part of the machine.
It's strange that it took me so long to realize just how important reviews really are.