I knew a guy once who could spin back an Odo on a vehicle while he was driving it. Having been in the car business my whole life, it’s safe to say I’ve known a few of these interesting characters. He used to say, “My customers want clean, low-mileage vehicles and dammit, that’s what I’m gonna give ’em!”
When a large Used Car Retailer first started in 1993, they hired “Buyers” to help them build their inventory. Buyers were paid a “buy fee” for every car they bought. Unfortunately, the new Retailer put very few restrictions on the pedigree of cars they bought. The result? An inventory of vehicles whose mileage was TMU (True Miles Unknown). When the Retailer woke up from this nightmare, they found that their “buyers” had been wanted by Federal and State authorities for Odometer Tampering. Oops, they did it again!
With today’s superior technology, heavy safeguards and stricter penalties, it’s nearly impossible to find a car whose miles have been altered. Those days are gone forever. Unfortunately, changing the consumer’s perception and gaining their trust has taken much longer.
With the emergence of social media, we now have a fantastic way to not only contest the stereotype but show how dealers really do care about their customers’ experience. We’re at the beginning of a new paradigm in reputation management. The opportunity for transparency is here and there’s never been a better time for building trust. Dealers now have a chance to reach their potential customer through new marketing channels online. Dealers who do a great job at selling and servicing, and also have close ties to local charities and associations, can take their message to their online fans.
When those fans recommend the Dealer to people they know, there’s no better way to secure a great reputation and build trust with the buying public.