Best PracticesDealership Marketing

What Sells More Cars; Being Found or Being Chosen?

There was a great post in the forum that got me thinking. The post was titled, “Google Review Success Tips.”

As I was rereading the original post, I began to suspect that the poster was at least as concerned with generating reviews to boost search engine ranking as generating reviews for the sake of the store’s reputation. I get that – I understand. Dealers have been told that their rank on search engines is going to mean the difference between success and failure in the digital age. They may have been told wrong.

I’d suggest that ranking high up on a simple Google search is important if you are selling small, inexpensive, unimportant items. It is much less important when you are selling big-ticket items that consumers spend some time researching. I could argue that we are only looking at this from our perspective; We want to be found. But is that what we need? I contend that what we really need is to be chosen.

Being ‘found’ is only very small piece of a much larger puzzle. The larger puzzle is getting ‘chosen.’ Google has laid out the questions most consumers need to have answered before they choose a dealer;

  1. Which car is best?
  2. Is it right for me?
  3. Can I afford it?
  4. Where should I buy it?
  5. Am I getting a deal?

Your customers are not searching for you; they are searching for the answers to those five questions. Being ‘found’ doesn’t move the metal, being the answer to all of these questions does. Being ‘chosen’ sells cars. Being found is only vital if you believe that there is only one path to selling a car; being found leads to a customer picking a car leads to determining the right price leads to deciding that they can afford to buy, etc.

The reality is that there is no one path; a customer can be shopping for the vehicle first, or they can be shopping for a payment, or they can be looking for a dealer that can help them with a credit challenge or… you get the picture.

Working within the context of being chosen and not simply found, when consumers start to consider the sales person they want to work with early in the process (something real estate embraced long ago), this gives the customer an added path to choosing you.

The Internet helps shoppers choose the right vehicle (Product). The Internet helps shoppers find the right deal (Price). The Internet helps shoppers find a store they can trust (Place). Now, the Internet can help shoppers find the right salesperson (Person). The really cool thing about this approach is that a shopper can enter this path at any point. They may choose to start with the salesperson first and everything falls into place from there.

Being Chosen sells cars.

There were two inspirations for this post; The post from the forum, “Google Review Success Tips” and this blog post from Moz, “Location Data + Reviews: The 1–2 Punch of Local SEO”

All opinions expressed are my own. I entered the automotive space almost 25 years ago, working in a declining sector of a decidedly old school indust...