When you really stop and think about it, words are really powerfulactually, they're more powerful than you may think.
Consider the following: Words can make you laugh hysterically. You listen to comedians. Friends tell you jokes. They're just words. But they make you laugh.
On the other hand, when you receive bad news, they're just words, too. But those words could make you cry.
So what does this mean to your business?
You need to consider other people's words about you. What are they saying about you? Typically, those words are referred to as testimonials while, online, they're often called comments or reviews.
The fact of the matter is those comments and reviews have a far greater effect on your business than what you may think. It's actually claimed that other people's comments can be 10 times more powerful (and persuasive) than anything you could ever say about your business. After all, compared to a review, anything you say is really just a self-serving statement, right?
Consider Frank Rich. He was often referred to as the most powerful man on Broadway. But he wasn't even on Broadway. Nor was he a director, performer, producer or entertainer of any kind. He was a drama critic for the New York Times.
His reviews could skyrocket a show to incredible success or force the show to close down. And he did it all single-handedly from his typewriter.
Today, automotive service shop owners face similar issues from powerhouse websites like Angie's List and Yelp. But for the most part, business and shop owners are still divided when it comes to these sites.
Online, customers actually grade you and provide their comments about you and your services. The focus is about making the consumer better informed.
Like a lot of other things, the original intentions of these websites were good. It was a way for customers to provide comments about their experience with local businesses. You know, to help the good ones and weed out the bad guys. When businesses get high marks with unbiased testimonials, it can be a real selling tool.
But in reality, it can be like handing some strange person an open microphone in a crowded stadium.
Some shop owners have found these sites to be an incredible marketing tool. People describe their experiences and even reveal prices they've paid. Reviews like that can be a huge boost in business for your shop.
On the flip side, bad reviews can do real damage to the reputation of hard-working, well-intentioned business ownersincluding repair shop owners like you.
The point is that it's important you monitor what other people are saying about you. Yes, they are just words, but they are some of the most powerful bunch of words out there.
Good reviews should instantly become part of your marketing strategy. They are powerful. On the other hand, bad reviews have to be addressed. Like most other things in life, there is a right and wrong way to address them.
In a future column I'll share some tips about how to handle those bad reviews and how to use the good ones in your marketing so you get the best bang for your buck.
Matthew Lee is an automotive service marketing specialist and author of the book, The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing, which offers no-cost and low-cost marketing strategies for auto service businesses. For a free copy of the book, visit www.JustTheBestMarketing.com.