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‘A review never sold a car’

Digital advertising specialist Paul Potratz says dealers should stop fretting about their online reviews and take the money they spend there and spend it in the store “where it really matters.”

“Dealers talk a lot these days about Google reviews. ‘How many do I need? How do I get good them?’ Why not think differently?” Potratz says in one of his Think Tank Tuesday presentations.

Potratz is the COO of Potratz Advertising. The agency specializes in digital marketing for car dealers.

He argues that if you’re a restaurant or a hotel, good reviews are crucial. If you’re a service provider, say a plumber, they’re crucial. And, yes, he says that means dealers need good service department reviews. But he says people don’t pay any attention to those reviews when they shop for a vehicle.

“If you’re going to buy a boat, do you read the reviews about the boat or where you’re going to buy the boat?”

He insists it’s the former. Customers go to the dealership website to see if there’s a good selection and they might check to see where they can get a good price.

But their prime concerns are dependability, resale value, attractiveness, etc. They won’t look for that information in dealership reviews. They’re interested in online boat reviews, not the reputation of the dealerships where the boats are sold.

“People are interested in the boat, not the place where they’re going to buy it,” he says.

The same reasoning applies to vehicle shoppers, he says. There may be exceptions.

“A small percentage might read the dealership reviews. They are the 67 and older. They grew up with the Better Business Bureau. But how many vehicles will they purchase?”

He says there is too much time and energy being spent worrying about how to get good reviews on different

“I have a different strategy … Worry about the customer. Is your furniture comfortable and modern? Are the carpets clean? Do you have WiFi and a children’s play area? Do your sales people greet customers and offer them a beverage?

“The amount you spend getting reviews isn’t well spent. Take it and put it into your dealership to make sure the customers coming onto the lot have the best amenities so when they leave after buying a car, they’re going to tell 10 people – 20 people – and so on.”

Those are the best reviews, he insists.

Despite what some people say, people don’t read about a dealership’s reviews when they shop for a car, he says.

“Start surveying your customers and find out the facts,” Potratz says.