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ReputationDon't you hate it when you lose a sale?  It could be a poor inventory, not clicking with a customer, or a conflict in trade difference that causes a lost sale.  Luckily, all of these are easily fixed - we all know how to handle those.

Sometimes, a lost sale starts from your website where the chance is missed to convert a visitor into a lead.  This, too, is easily fixed with a better website.

We can look at our salespeople or check the statistics on our websites and identify problems with these forms of lost sales, but there is another lost sale that affects many dealers and most don't even know they are losing them

Search for your dealership by name.  You should (we hope) see your dealer website at the top.  Now scan down on the page.  Anything out of place?  There should be the vendors who are vying for your business - nothing you can do about those.  No, what you're looking for is something bad.

For example, a search for Rountree Ford shows something very interesting.  Ouch.  Scan down.  Do you see more?

Negative reviews are often the most annoying occurrences that a car dealer can face on the search engines.  They often rank exceptionally well and can prevent people from even clicking on your website at all.  When terms like "Ripoff" or "Lawsuit" or "Scam" appear in listings close to the top, there is no telling how much business is being lost.

There are ways to prevent this.  There are ways to fight it.  The key is in having properties that can rank above these listings, thus pushing them down "below the fold" of the search engine result page and hopefully on to page 2.  Once on page 2, the likelihood of anyone seeing it is dramatically lower.

Blogs, social media, social networks, branded microsites -- all have have a beneficial impact on your search results.  The best potential customers are the ones looking for you by name.  Why not make sure your name is defended online?

I can't think of a good reason not to.

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Read more automotive search marketing advice on this blog or email me if you have any questions: jrucker@tkcarsites.com.

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