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From: Jared Hamilton
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Dave Erickson

Dave Erickson Internet Sales Director

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I'll take the Reputation! 

Why?

The more negative reviews a dealer has the worse their closing and conversion ratios resulting in an even higher the cost per sale which even further drives up the need for more profit than their competitors.

Some dealers will attempt to fix their sales issues by tossing more salespersons into the mix adding even more fuel to the fire. A highly charged and ‘get the sale at any cost’ mentality for survival will result in an increased amount of negative customer reviews as well as an increased lack of positive reviews. Lastly, this sales solution also creates a higher rate of turn over resulting in more “innocent” mistakes which result in yet even more negative reviews.

This cycle drives up positive reviews of competing dealers resulting in lower cost per sales for them, which results in more competitive pricing for them, which results in more sales for them, and additional volume incentive bonuses from the manufacturer for them, as well as more sales of F&I, Service, and Parts for them.

And that's not for you.

Just keep in mind that Reputation is not all that different than credit. You can live off credit for awhile and you can live off sacrificing your reputation for sales for awhile too. However, sooner or later every debt has to be paid back and the debt you accumulated against your reputation can't.

Gary May
Spot on Dave! But where hiring salespeople and getting rid of the ones that finally damaged a dealership is part of the fabric of how automotive retailers work, reputation management is not. Don't get me wrong, it has always been a component of how businesses survive (and some thrive) but it's never been more needed than today. Ask the average salesperson to do it and most won't want to add anything to their already daunting list of to do's to complete a sale. Ask most GMs and GSMs, and they don't have the time to ensure it happens. Ask the same people to eat at a restaurant with a poor reputation....you get the point. Your word and reputation are everything today. Whether "in social media" or not, it's about doing and being what you say. Yelp, DealerRater, MyDealerReport, Merchant Circle, Google Places/Maps and the rest are there for a reason. Ignoring or not having a process to address your online reputation is akin to not being compliant. One day, it's going to bite you in the backside...hard! Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is ignorance. Not engaging clients is a risk, no different than crossing the road. But the benefit of crossing the road is that it only gets you to the other side. Crossing the reputation bridge gets you customers on the other side. Regards, Gary May IM@CS

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