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From the Trenches - A New Path to the Sale



The traditional PATH TO THE SALE is so ingrained in the auto business, I was hesitant to even write the words A NEW PATH TO THE SALE.  I debated whether to make it a statement or a question.  Eventually, my unwavering belief in the future overcame my attachment to the past.


This is or should be old news folks.  "70% consult reviews or ratings before purchasing!" (BusinessWeek, Oct. 2008)


Please note the antiquity of that statistic.  If you are still operating out of 2008 statistics, you are an antique.


I have been known to promote the idea that our employees are THE brand within our brand.  And so I was pleased when one of our sales staff came to me excited to tell me a story told to him by one of his recent customers.


There's 10 million stories in the Naked City folks.  This is just one of them. 


This is a true story that foretells the future of automotive sales - pay attention. (The use of #DealerRater is circumstantial. Although I am a fan of their site, my company is not a paid member.)


A customer called the dealership and asked for this specific salesperson.  He picked up the call and spoke to the customer about a vehicle the customer desired. They made an appointment and on that day, the customer came in and purchased the car.


The salesman involved was curious.  He receives a lot of referrals and wondered how the customer came to ask for him specifically.  He asks and is told the following sequence of events.


You may be inclined to believe this is a one-off unique experience.  Then again, you may be in denial.  If 70% of consumers were relying on reviews FIVE years ago, how many are doing that now?


In fact, I ask you, do you check reviews before making an expensive purchase.  And if you are a dinosaur, do the people around you check reviews?


This is but a precursor of what's to come.  Call it a good (or bad) omen or call it inevitable. 


Be there and be square!


Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 480

Tags: Branding, Customer, Loyalty, Management, Media, Referrals, Reputation, Retention, Reviews, Service, More…Social


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Comment by Tom Gorham on October 12, 2013 at 4:18pm

Alan, I'm amazed and delighted to see your comment here.  I just finished reading and commenting on one of your articles, "Sales: The 3 Levels of Customer Loyalty" in LinkedIn before coming here.  I highly recommend it to anyone reading this.

I'm a big fan and customer on Amazon because I love reading ratings before I buy.  And I make great use of the one-click purchase.  That is the key, isn't it?  To instill trust along with a simple, fast and efficient purchase.  Thank you for commenting!

Comment by Al Mosher on October 12, 2013 at 5:40am

Excellent article, Tom. Anybody who doubts the validity of the story you relate just needs to look at how they buy. As I thought back on my last few major and minor purchases, my process is slightly different than the customer in the story but not drastically so. I always check customer ratings and, where applicable, look at About Us and staff info on websites prior to deciding where to purchase.

We must recognize the vast amount of information available to potential customers today and how that has changed their buying process. Then we must adjust how we try to sell to match how the customer wants to buy.

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 11, 2013 at 2:39pm

Mark, thank you for commenting.  I don't want to turn this into an advertisement but I love the phrase, "maximize un-coached customer reviews".  There is something inherently wrong in coaching people about what to say in a review.  But there is nothing wrong in utilizing and maximizing the heartfelt sentiments of your customers for your company as long as they have given permission or said so publicly. THAT is called Reputation Management!

Comment by Mark Dubis on October 11, 2013 at 1:13pm

Tom you are right on the money.  People do business with people and why it's so critical for sales and service professionals to build their own brand online. was the first review platform to create individual sales pages and offer true transparency by providing an integrated solution to maximize un-coached customer reviews.  Our professional pages are also transportable so employees can maintain the benefit of reviews if they move to a new dealership.  Dealerships win by retaining their employees, and customers benefit by having a stellar customer buying experience. 

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