Following is an article co-written for Office Technology Magazine by Darrell Amy and Gary Lavin (CEO Juice).
You have built your dealership on a solid reputation for outstanding service. References are golden when it comes to growing your business. These days you need more than a good printed reference letter. You need to have great reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Today it’s a regular occurrence to find a dealer that only has a few online reviews. Unfortunately, many of these reviews were posted by a handful of unhappy clients who were looking for a place to air their grievances.
DOES YOUR DEALERSHIP HAVE NEGATIVE REVIEWS ONLINE?
You would never frame a complaint letter and hang it on the wall of your demo room. However, negative reviews hanging out on the internet could be sabotaging your business, costing you tens of thousands of dollars in lost sales. The damage goes even further. Negative reviews on Google may hurt your search engine placement. This could lead to even more lost leads.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE BAD REVIEWS
The first thing you need to do is find out if your dealership has any negative reviews. The way to do this is by searching for your dealership on Google. Simply go to Google and type in the name of your dealership. You should see a box on the right of the results with a map and some basic information about your business. (If you don’t see this, you need to set up a Google+ Business profile. To do this visit http://www.google.com/+/business.)
If you have a Google+ for the Business page set up, you’ll notice that there is a link for “Reviews.” Click this and you’ll be able to see your company’s reviews.
While you are on your Google+ page, you’ll also notice that you can customize your page with information about your company. You can add graphics to brand the page. You can also include links to your website along with photos and videos.
To modify your Google+ page you need to confirm that you are the owner of the company. You can do this by clicking on the “Manage This Page” link. This will walk you through the process of claiming your place on Google. You should go through this process for each of your geographic locations.
Next, go to your company’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Each of these platforms has a place where people can review your company. You can find these in the right sidebars of the site.
Finally, go to Yelp.com. This is a site where people review local businesses. It started as a restaurant review site but has now expanded to virtually all types of businesses. If your business is not listed in Yelp, take a minute to register it.
WHAT IF WE HAVE A BAD REVIEW?
If you have a bad review there is not a whole lot you can do about it. This is the online world we live in. The best thing you can do is get good reviews to offset the bad review. You should have at least 10 good reviews to offset one bad review. A smart dealership will be proactive and ask happy clients to give them reviews. That way if someone puts in a bad review, it’s just one of many positive ones.
HOW DO WE GET GOOD REVIEWS?
The best way to get good reviews is to ask your most satisfied clients to review you. One very popular system for tracking how happy your customers are is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) by Satmetrix. Just Google any major corporation’s name followed by Net Promoter and you will see that most major corporations are using this system. Perhaps also Google your main competitor’s name and see if they are. This system gives you a single number you can easily track, more at https://support.ceojuice.com/forums/20230391.
If tracking your Net Promoter Score then one of the best ways to get great reviews is to ask clients that have given you a high Net Promoter Score rating on a survey. To do this, make it simple for them. Send out an email with a brief introduction and a link to a page where they can review you. You might say something like this:
Thank you so much for giving us a good review of the client satisfaction survey. We really appreciate your feedback.
Our business has been built on referrals. Would you be kind enough to take a moment to share some of your kind thoughts on one of our social media pages? It would really mean a lot to us.
To give us a referral, simply click on one of the links below:
– Google Link
– Facebook Link
– Yelp Link
Thanks again—we really appreciate it!
WHERE ARE THE PLACES OUR DEALERSHIP NEEDS TO BE REVIEWED?
There are many places people can give reviews online. The most common ones are in the search and social pages. They include Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Yelp. Here are the instructions for each of the platforms:
To make it easy, send them the link to your Google+ Business page. They can click on the link “Write a Review.” To do this, they will need to log in with their Gmail account or create a free Google account. Then they will see a pop-up window asking them to write a review.
Whether you’ve decided to manage it or not, every company has a Facebook page. This is a great place to share updates about your company to build the personal brand of your business. In the right sidebar of a business page, you’ll notice a place where people can give you a review. Anyone with a Facebook account can give you a review. If one of your clients makes a comment on one of your Facebook posts you might send them a message and ask them to review your company.
LinkedIn connects business people. Your company should have a LinkedIn page that includes regular updates. Unfortunately, LinkedIn updated the company pages on April 14, 2014, and discontinued the references feature. Hopefully, LinkedIn will reinstate this feature. However, as of now, only individuals can get references on LinkedIn.
Yelp built its reputation for providing restaurant reviews. However, the service has expanded to review all kinds of service-based businesses. Setting up a Yelp profile for your business takes just a few minutes. That investment of time will provide another way for people to find your company in search engines. It also provides another place where people can give you reviews.
ON YOUR WEBSITE
Another way to make it easy for clients to give you Google reviews is to link to your review pages from your website. You might add a block that says “Give Us a Review” and put links to your Google+ Business, Facebook, and Yelp pages. Some sites also provide a form where clients can give you a review of your site. However, these days you are almost better off getting reviewed on these external sites.
WHY INVEST TIME IN GETTING REVIEWS
When you accumulate good reviews it helps you present a positive impression online. Google is very guarded about what criteria they use for search engine rankings. However, many people search experts believe that good reviews will help boost your placement in the search engine.
Getting reviews just takes a little effort. At your next sales meeting, show your sales team your Google + page. Give them the link and have each of them ask five of their best clients to give a reference. Offer a Starbucks gift card to the reps for each review they get posted. This will pay big dividends for your dealership and offset the potential damage from a negative review.
Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.