How to Avoid the Reputation of a Car Salesman

Written by Renee Clare-Kovacs March 16, 2017

Don’t Be That Car Salesman

If you joined us for our webinar, Control Your Search Results, you heard me say that my work experience includes reputation management for automotive dealerships. That’s right, I was paid to make car salesman look good. I know that none of you in the beverage industry need to be concerned that you’ll earn the notoriety of car salesmen, but it did teach me some very important lessons that even you, with your store’s sterling reputation, can learn from.

Not All Car Salesmen are Bad

When a salesman earned a 1-star review, it was my job to research the problem. Sure, there are the ones who had every excuse in the book about why the reviewer was wrong, but more times than not the salesman was extremely apologetic. In fact, often it wasn’t even the salesman’s fault things went wrong. What started out as a wonderful experience working with someone who truly wanted to help the customer find the right vehicle and payment went bad when the trusted salesperson handed the customer over to a down-line department. In contrast with the great service the salesman provided, the end-of-day rush at checkout meant the cashier was rushed and the customer noticed.

Some are Actually Great

Each interaction with a salesman set the tone for the next interaction. I knew the salesmen who wouldn’t care much about what the customer said about them. I dreaded working with them.

I am a storyteller and the salesmen who were a pleasure to work with time and time again in the light of a seemingly bad situation made me want to share their stories. (Thank you Sellr for giving me the ability to do that!) You never want an unhappy customer, but it’s going to happen and when it did, I hoped to have one of my go-to guys to work it out with. And, yes, we’re talking about car salesmen.

Am I Selling Cars or Cocktails?

The truth here is that it doesn’t matter. As a beverage store retailer, you don’t have the reputation of car salesmen. That’s a double-edged sword. Your customer is coming in with little to no expectation of the service you provide so you have a powerful ability to impress.

I went to check out wine the other day. Being in the industry, I was interested to see how I would be treated. As I browsed the aisles, I purposely looked a bit lost. An employee came near me. I fully expected to be approached—but wasn’t. To add insult to injury, we made eye contact yet I was passed over.

Earning a Bad Reputation

I won’t say whether or not I wrote an online review, but the store owner should be nervous about the answer. In the past word-of-mouth reputation was an important part of marketing. In the age of the internet, online reviews have amplified word-of-mouth. When faced with what a business is telling you and the online review says, the online review probably has more value.

This makes how you treat your customers as important as how you market to them. How are you making sure your customers are getting the information they need? Seemingly obvious tidbits you and your employees know could be the difference between a customer finding what they came in for or leaving unhappy—and vocal. Certain customers my be overcoming their own bad experience from another liquor store. Be certain your employees know the weekly specials. Make sure they know where each category is in your store. And educate them on tasting notes for, at very least, your most popular bottles.

Your reputation could depend on it.

It’s Not You, It’s Them

The sad fact is that a few bad car salesmen have ruined the reputation of all salesmen who sell cars. It’s a hard first impression to get past, but rebuilding the trust and eventually winning the business depends on you and your employees using your experience to educate customers and provide a 5-star experience. Learn from the worst about how to be the best and you, too, can overcome even the most difficult blows to your reputation.

Learn about how to manage your online reputation in our next webinar, Reviews and Reputations, Thursday, March 23, 2018 at 1 pm EST. Register now:

Renee is the Digital Content Strategist at Sellr. She is passionate about helping businesses maximize their presence through digital marketing, employee and customer advocacy.

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