Also joining me today is Lauren Beaubien, a member of our Dealer Solutions team, who will be joining me for the Q&A after my prepared remarks.
I want you to walk away from this session today with four things and some actionable advice you can take back to your stores to drive more sales…
Before we get into how to build your review volume, I want to take a minute or two to provide a refresher on why it’s so important to incorporate reviews into the sales process. The following are just a few statistics explaining how crucial reviews have become in the car buying process.
Which dealer would you choose?Almost identical car, almost identical price, dealerships located minutes from each other… not much differentiation here.
No reviews – no information from my peers to help me make a decision.
Pretty impressive – 176 reviews with a 4.7-star rating on average.
So obviously Dealer B is likely to win the lead in this example because they’re using reviews to build confidence with their customers. We’ll talk about how they built their review volume in a moment, but first let’s take a look at one more example of why building that volume is so important. (cue next slide)
Joe Orr, general manager of Dick Hannah Honda, joined us earlier this year for our Reputation Management Lab Online Conference. In his presentation, Joe shared some interesting facts with us about the results he’s seen since putting his online reputation management strategy into place. As you can see, Joe not only saw his average review rating increase with volume; he also saw a corresponding jump in review-generated leads. According to Joe, the close rate for leads generated by online reviews was TWICE that of a typical lead.
Joe also made the great point that casting a wide net ensures that you’re managing your online reputation everywhere consumers are shopping for their next vehicle. Here are just a few of the most effective review sites consumers are consulting for advice on choosing their dealership.
OK. Let’s stop for a second and talk about Google. Google has stopped including third-party reviews in its search results. As you probably know, Google has changed the way they aggregate consumer reviews to only include user-generated reviews submitted through Google itself. However… you should know that Google still links to third-party review sites, and our SEO experts tell us that there’s no CURRENT “search” advantage to driving review volume on Google over other consumer review sites. That can change, of course, but at this time, building review volume on third-party sites helps your search engine optimization.I’m not going to tell you that building your review volume on Google isn’t important – it’s is. Let’s keep in mind, though, that Google doesn’t have vehicle listings, Google is not sending you leads and Google isn’t necessarily where consumers are researching their next vehicle purchase – you want to be where consumers are shopping for their next car. Focusing only on Google and not incorporating as many other dealer review sites into your reputation management strategy as possible gives a competitor who IS focusing on those sites an unnecessary advantage.
In many cases, it just boils down to making the ask. Customers are happy to provide feedback if you give them the platform and ask them to speak on your behalf. Mike Erdman Toyota now has more than 175 reviews and an average review rating of 4.7 stars, but I want to take a minute to share with you how it all started. After initially signing up for our beta period in March, Mike Erdman Toyota sent a simple email asking customers to respond, driving 34 reviews and a near 5 star rating – an excellent way to kick off their program that has obviously built some momentum.
While trying to build your reviews, leverage tools available from review sites from door stickers to postcards and in-store signage. It is a great reminder for shoppers, builds credibility that you are willing to have them rate their experience on a 3rd party site and showcases your commitment to service. Cars.com’s information is available on My Dealer Center or through your sales rep.
Use your thank you correspondence with recent sales and service customers to drive reviews, but avoid turning email requests for a review into a marketing message. Retailers often send a follow-up email to customers about three weeks after they make a purchase asking them to write a product review. Experts recommend that retailers keep the request simple because consumers are less willing to write a review if they think it will be used for marketing purposes.
Your sales staff plays a big role in driving reviews. Incent in different waysJeff Kershner highlights salespeople that lead in customer reviews on the store’s websiteOther stores use Spiff programsOthers succeed just by putting more emphasis on reviews through team meetings and daily communicationsYou have to make it a focus and keep it visible in the storeAs an individual sales rep – what is in it for you? You can build your personal brand and drive more sales
I want to stress the importance of truly building your net of advocacy. You can’t just go out and buy it or bribe shoppers to contribute. Consumers sense what is real and fake. On one dealer site, a consumer sensed the feedback was too good to be true and noticed patterns in the content that led them to believe the dealership was padding reviews. They contacted the local media.
A search for albany NY used cars found several paid listings and more than 2 million organic search results on Google. Building review volume can help you work your way up in search results because your name is in more places. The more reviews you have, the bigger contribution they make to your SEO efforts. Volume and quantity matter more than ever.Also use to improve conversion of paid search.
For registering today, you also receive complimentary admission to our Reputation Management Lab Online Conference On-demand insight from social media’s top experts, including Charlene Li, Andy Beal and Jared HamiltonTips from dealers that you can put into practice at your dealerships todayincluding Joe Orr, Andrew DiFeo, Jeff Kershner, Tom White Jr., and John D. Hill,
When Shoppers Speak, You WinHow to Get Your CustomersTalking Online 1
About MeJack Simmons • Dealer Training Manager, Cars.com • Over 35 years of automotive retail experienceConnect with Me: dealers.cars.com/facebook dealers.cars.com/twitter firstname.lastname@example.org 2
What We’ll Cover1. Why building review volume – and building it across all platforms (Cars.com, Google, Dealer Rater, Yelp, etc.) – is so important to reputation management success2. How to identify your brand advocates and get them talking on your behalf3. How to incorporate online tools into your sales process to drive more reviews4. How to leverage reviews in your sales, service and marketing processes• Q&A 3
Why Build Review Volume?• Increasingly important to shoppers• Differentiates your store online and builds trust/confidence in making a purchase• More reviews = higher average rating• Boosts SEO 4
Why Reviews are Important • 73% of car shoppers now consult online dealership reviews • 1 in 5 change their original dealership choice based on reviews they’ve read • Online reviews trump both dealer location and past dealer loyaltySources: Yahoo!/Cobalt Dealer E-Business Study 5
Volume Matters Which Dealer Would You Choose?A. B. 6
Volume Matters Which Dealer Would You Choose?A. B. 7
Volume Matters Which Dealer Would You Choose?A. B. 8
Volume Matters: Case Study • Jumped from 17 online reviews with mediocre rating (2.7/5 stars) to 2,000 + with 4.9/5 star rating • Went from five review- site-generated calls per month - to 150+ monthly in 2009 • Close rate for review-Joe Orr, General Manager generated lead 2x the Dick Hannah Honda average 10
Volume Matters Across Platforms Don’t leave leads on the table. 11
Question:How do you get customers to review your dealership? 13
You Just Have to Ask• Mine your customer database for review prospects Repeat buyers Loyal service customers• Conduct a customer satisfaction survey and target happy customers 14
Use Tools From Review Providers• Free Cars.com tools available to help you drive review volume: Customer leave-behinds Buttons, banners and e-mail templates Where do I find them? • http://inventoryeditor.cars.com/wps/ myportal/mdc • Contact your sales representative• Create your own campaign 15
Make it Part of Your Process• Integrating reviews into all aspects of your process helps to make it part of your culture Share ALL reviews at staff meetings Reward successes Find areas for improvement among sales & service 17
Incent Your Sales Staff• Spiff programs• Recognition internally and externally• Show them how reviews help them build their personal brand 18
Don’t Fake It• Don’t “buy” or “bribe” reviews You don’t want a review to include: “Writing this review seems like a lot of work for a free car wash.”• Shoppers evaluate authenticity 19
Responding to Online Reviews• Join me next week for an all-new webinar designed to educate dealers on what to do with reviews once you get them: Responding to Online Reviews: Building a Winning Reputation August 5, Noon EST 21
Access all sessions in the Reputation Management LabAccess additional content at theReputation Management Lab • Insight from social media’s top experts • Tips from dealers that you can put into practice at your dealerships today dealers.cars.com/reviews 22
Questions? Jack is joined by Lauren Beaubien, Associate Solutions Manager – Dealer Reviews, to answer your questions about Dealer Reviews. Jack Simmons Lauren Beaubien Dealer Training Manager Associate Solutions Manager Dealer ReviewsTo submit a question, send a message to “Host” in the Chat window of the WebEx environment with your question. 23