|Author George MacDonald once said, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” Truer words have never been spoken. The relationship between your dealership and your customers should be one of trust. Don’t focus on making customers love you by using over-the-top antics and unbelievable promises. Instead, build trust and be honest. Those are the true keys to the customer’s heart.|
There are a number of ways to build trust and many more ways to break it. Let’s look at some easy ways you can avoid trust-breaking pitfalls and build trust with your Web site.
Make sure you offer only one or two accurate phone numbers on your Web site. Nothing says, “Amateur,” like a phone number that goes nowhere. All numbers you display should not only work, but also direct the caller to the correct department. Give existing and potential customers a clear direction and let them know who they are calling (i.e. for more information, call Joe Smith today at 1-800-CALL-JOES).
Another way to build trust with your customers is having a “Meet the Team” page including profiles and pictures. Let your Internet prospects get to know you and your dealership before they come in. When your customers see your dealership as a collection of friendly faces, they will feel comfortable. It’s much easier to trust an individual you know something about than it is to trust a dealership. Regardless of reason, people do not tend to trust car dealers. Don’t be a car dealer, be Joe Smith, whose favorite activities include taking his family ice skating and walking his 4-year-old yellow lab. Now we’re talking trustworthy.
You have an “About Us” section of your Web site for a reason. Include information about your dealership on your Web site. For example, how it started, your dealership’s philosophy and the culture of your company. If you don’t have one, you should. According to J.D. Power & Associates, almost 50 percent of consumers say the Internet influences their choice in sellers (2006 Used Autoshopper.com). Customers should have the option to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of your dealership.
Inventory should always be accurate and include many pictures. Don’t leave customers guessing about the shape of used cars on your lot. Include comments about the car’s history (past maintenance, bodywork, etc.). The more detail you can add, the better the car’s story. Let customers get to know your cars. This encourages emotional buy-in; you want Internet prospects to connect to both your cars and your dealership.
It’s not your main goal to make customers love you, but if you are trustworthy, honest and dependable, they will.
Brian Reed will depart F&I Express, the company he co-founded in 2008, four months following its acquisition by Cox Automotive.