Used Car Dealerships – You’re Familiar With Yelp Right?

Business Insider wrote an article about the importance of Yelp and how they drive up purchases and sales for a local business. Yelp is indispensable to local searchers, especially those inclined to make a purchase. Ninety-three percent of U.S. Yelp users in a recent Nielsen study said they at least occasionally make a purchase from a local business after using Yelp.

Yelp thus far has 132 million monthly visitors to their site and have had over 57 million reviews written for local businesses. Over 2/3 of Yelp users have a college degree and over 2/3 of Yelp users make more than 60K/year. That alone should be music to any used car dealerships ears. If you have a customer walk onto your lot and say they found you on Yelp you should automatically be thinking in your head that this customer is a “qualified buyer”.

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So how can you as a used car dealership owner take advantage of a Yelp user and convert them not only into a paid customer but a word-of-mouth vehicle that could potentially contribute to more sales and reputation management?  Let’s walk through these steps in order to make and manage your Yelp listing: the 21st century face for your business.

1. Are you familiar with Yelp?

Yelp is a local business search directory. Think of it as the modern day Yellow Pages. Any business can create a Yelp listing for themselves or if a customer had a experience at your business  if they don’t see one for your business to write a review about their experience. We will discuss the importance of a good and bad Yelp review later. If you are a new dealership we recommend you go to to create a business listing and take charge of your business listing right from the beginning.

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2. There’s no such thing as bad exposure.

The internet has changed how we connect with people today. Word of mouth before the internet was only heard and not seen. Sites like Yelp make a customer’s word of mouth seen and heard on a multiplied scale. A positive yelp review could potentially help your business make more money. A negative yelp review could potentially help your business make more money. Reputation management is crucial for car dealerships. The key for a successful Yelp listing starts at the dealership. If there were no local businesses there would be no Yelp. From the owner to the manager to the sales rep – everyone on your staff needs to be accountable for their presentation and actions when interacting with potential customers. Always act like anyone and everyone is listening, and thanking a customer for deciding to spend their money with your dealership goes a long way.

3. What do you do when a review is written on Yelp?

Let’s start by saying there is no such thing as the perfect business. There just isn’t. As a business owner you cannot assume that the customer is in a good state of mind before they arrived to your business. That customer could have been sitting in a two-hour traffic jam before showing up on your lot – we just don’t know. All you can do as a business owner is control what you can control, which is a consistent positive customer experience for every person that pulls onto your lot. Yelp provides a business owners account where you are to check out the traffic stats for your business listing, and respond either publicly or privately to reviews. This is important – respond to ALL reviews whether positive or negative. There are times where a customer has given a business a 1-star review, a business owner publicly replies to the review asking for the customer to come back for a second chance, and then the customer updates their 1-star to a 5-star review after their second experience. When potential customers look at your Yelp listing and see that you are involved with each response whether positive or negative, they are more likely to come to your dealership to spend money with you. Again, there is no such thing as the perfect business and seeing a car dealership with all 5-star reviews could potentially come off as misleading.

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4. Should you ask your current customers to write reviews?

We highly recommend you do NOT ask current or previous customers to go onto your Yelp listing to write reviews. Do not worry if you are a new used car dealership about not having reviews right away. There are other ways to get exposure for people to find you on Yelp, and soliciting reviews is not the way. Yelp has it’s own section discussing their policy on businesses soliciting reviews.

5. How can my Yelp listing get more traffic?

Yelp offers your business listing targeted ads concentrating on the people specifically looking for a car dealership to spend money with in your area. Not only are their targeted ads focused on those looking to spend money with a business like yours, they have budgets for all businesses and all sizes. Remember, as a car dealership owner one client walking on the lot is potentially thousands of dollars to you.

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Yelp has become a staple for the customer experience and reputation management for every local business in America. Make sure if you don’t have a Yelp listing to create one. If your business currently has a Yelp listing make sure you get involved with a Yelp Business Owners Account. For more information on marketing your used car dealership online go to


May 19, 2014 - Written by

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