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When have I seen 150 dealers and a dozen vendors in one room for 3 straight days so engaged?

Never.

Perhaps its Sean Bradley’s commitment to excellence and holding dealers accountable to walk away with action plans from a crowd of unusually focused [Internet Sales 20 Dallas] IS20 members.

Only a handful we’re checking cell phone messages while in session and when you attend the next IS20 you’ll know why; you’re captivated by the content where all the standard institutional auto conference rules and guidelines are smashed.

Instead you get a room full of all star experts and hungry to learn attendees who are captivated by their colleagues, speaking up when any one point or topic needed more explanation or would merit a rebut.

We can thank Sean for his highly conscious efforts to ringmaster a conference where the content was always relevant.  My opinion, IS20 attracts some of the most innovative in the biz, who crave the most up to date practical content that provides the highest return on money and time. 

IS20 is straight legit.

I spoke on a panel about the importance of online reputation. Based on the questions and comments I received from various dealerships, there are some looming problems in the area of managing internet reputation.

For example, Google says on their Conflict of interest page: reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased.  Dealers who are not focused on organically building reviews, and that means anything other than evoking a review from hot links in an email that leads that customer directly to 3rd party review sites may compromise their Google ranking, score and lead to endless hemorrhaging of removed or filtered reviews. Don’t get me wrong; there are all kinds of traditional ways to gently nudge a customer to leave a review soon after leaving the dealership, i.e., handing them a request flyer with where and how to find your dealership review sites and/or instructions for customers who have a gmail or dealerrater account as to how to post a review.

From what I see with our dealer clients, Google has been very kind to dealers that only allow reviews posted from the customer’s I.P.  Yelp, different story. I couldn’t believe how much disdain I heard about Yelp from IS20 members.  Same ol’ complaint I’ve heard from hundreds of business owners; “I accrue lots of positive reviews and when I don’t advertise upon their request, our positive reviews are removed overnight and negative is all that remains.”  My suggestion; endure the pain of filtered reviews and diversify your portfolio of listing sites and offer customers other review sites to post reviews. If you’re comfortable with paying the ransom they indirectly hold dealers hostage to buy, then look forward to 5 fat stars.  Some we’re saying at IS20 the believability of the star rating system on Yelp is disingenuous. Yelp is highly ranked; on the other hand, we know Yellow Pages are the second largest review site behind Google.

If your reputation management strategy and process is not organic, you’re short term gain, if any, will be weak at best. For example, posting reviews on a dealer owned web page may paint a picture of a dealer in more control of their reputation and no longer hostage to the Google and Yelp review removing sledgehammer.  Sounds reasonable, but here’s the problem.  3rd party review sites will rank higher, particularly on mobile, than the dealers review web pages where content is controlled and future buyers can sense manipulation or an inauthentic amount of positive reviews and stars. I still haven’t found a dealer owned customer review page with negative feedback, let alone a negative review with a manager’s response to remedy the complaint. Negative feedback that is managed, influences prospects to trust you and is fuel that can flip a sour customer to a raving advocate who tells everyone they know.  

I applaud dealers who leverage negative and respond on the dealer’s site, however responding to negative on the 3rd party review sites, specifically Google would help lift you’re Google score much more than reviews on the dealer site.  

To the point of short circuiting negative complaints; why would you not capitalize on the moment you follow up via email, offering hot links direct to review sites like Google, and also welcome complaints from customers submitted to the Dealer. This protects your CSI, amongst a hundred other great things.

News Flash! I’m yet to see a disgruntled customer who submits an unsatisfied complaint that will also post on 3rd party sites. Why? They’ve voiced concern to the dealer and will give the dealer a chance to remedy the problem.

What worries me most are the looming problems for dealers, especially those who encourage customers to post an invaluable review on a web page other than Google or other highly ranked 3rd party review sites.  I have found very few customer dealer review web pages that rank on the 1st page of Google when a “dealers name” with the keyword “reviews” is queried.

Every day I hear all the antics dealers use to capture feedback.  One review building tactic that makes me cringe is allowing an outside reputation agency to collect customer feedback who then posts the reviews on behalf of the dealer from an I.P far from the dealership. Even if the agency is in town, the methodology is manipulative and not organic. If you’re not organic then don’t expect Google algorithms to give you the top ranking when your future customers are hunting for the best dealer using local search.

p.s go claim your top review listings before your competition does

Jerry Hart
eReputationBUILDER
888-810-0441

 

 

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