“Jim, I can’t believe this dealer has a higher star rating than us! He operates out of a storage container, and he once pulled a gun on a customer!”
I was doing an online marketing assessment for Susan, a dealer from California. At the beginning of our meeting I said, “Susan, let’s walk a mile in Cathy Consumer’s shoes so you can see what your prospects are seeing.”
I then Googled “flooring” and the name of her town. Susan’s store came up number one at the top of the organic search, but Mr. Storage Container came in number two, right beneath her listing. I pointed out that Mr. Storage Container had five positive reviews on Google, but she had none.
“In other words, Susan,” I said, “While you have worked hard for over two decades to build a phenomenal offline reputation, this joker who operates out of a metal box and once pulled a gun on a customer has a better online reputation.”
“But this guy is absolutely the worst!” Susan said. “I’ll bet those reviews were posted by his friends.”
“Probably so, but that doesn’t matter,” I replied. “The only thing that matters is what Cathy Consumer sees when she’s looking online for a flooring dealer. You’ve got to assume that she doesn’t know any dealers or anything about flooring. That’s a big part of why she’s researching online. She’s going to choose which store to visit based on who has the best online reputation, and right now Mr. Storage Container is beating you.”
That kind of situation is very common.
Ask for reviews!
Recently I was meeting via video conference with a dealer from Nevada to assess her online marketing. She too has been in business for over twenty years. When I Googled “flooring” and the name of her town, she and a competitor came up near the top of the search. However, she had only one review, and her competitor had over a dozen.
“I can’t believe this!” she yelled. (I hear a lot of yelling when dealers see how their online reputations stack up against their competitors’.) “This guy has only been in business for a year, and he doesn’t do very good work. How does he have all these reviews and we only have one?”
“He’s doing a better job of asking for and getting reviews,” I replied. “So based on the strength of your online reputation alone, which dealer is Cathy Consumer more likely to visit? Your store or your competitor’s?”
“I see your point,” she said.
Get an online system in place!
I explained to her that very few people will review a dealership on their own. You’ve got to have a system in place which requests reviews and makes it very easy for your customers to leave one. The dealer that does the best job doing this will win the online reputation game, not the dealer with the best service.
Some dealers think, “Well, I’ve been in business for three decades, and we get lots of repeat and referred customers, our reputation is great. Why do we need to worry about online reviews?” If you think that, then you need to consider these statistics:
• 92% of consumers now read online reviews (Business 2 Community)
• 94% of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating (Business 2 Community)
• 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal)
• 85% of consumers begin their path-to-purchase online for big-ticket products. (Synchrony Financial)
The rules have changed.
In other words, the rules have changed. Just because you have a great offline reputation doesn’t mean it will be automatically reflected online. And since 85% of consumers are beginning their flooring path-to-purchase online, it’s now more critical than ever that you have a plan to generate an ongoing stream of positive reviews.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like me to evaluate your online marketing and give you tips on how to improve your online reputation, email me.
To Tons Of Customers!
Jim Augustus Armstrong is The “Coach”
Jim Augustus Armstrong is the President of Flooring Success Systems, a program that equips dealers to double their profits, cut their work hours in half and beat the boxes! Many dealers have totally transformed their businesses and their lives for the better after joining Flooring Success Systems.
See what real, live dealers are saying!
For a FREE copy of Jim’s latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes ONLINE,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.