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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tom Gorham's From the Trenches - Ethics are for Kids! - Automotive Professionals

From the Trenches - Ethics are for Kids! - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


From the Trenches - Ethics are for Kids!

Ethics: The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the conduct of the members of a profession.

"I read the news today, oh boy,
I saw my company got a bad review.
And though that news was rather bad,
Well, I just had to laugh…"

I'm always reticent when I speak about ethical behavior in the car business.  I know there are those who grew up in the hard-scrabble inner city who will say I'm a small-town naive schoolboy.  They live by the motto, "buyer beware."  They pride themselves on being "savvy".
On the other hand, I run the risk of being "holier-than-thou", self-righteous, or goody-goody.
But I've never been either one of those stereotypes.  I consider myself a pragmatist.  And I consider ethical behavior GOOD BUSINESS!

The Internet introduced the average consumer to unprecedented information.  It has empowered the consumer much to the chagrin of many an automotive salesperson, manager, or dealer.  It has introduced transparency in our business.

"A sucker is born every minute" belongs to the early 20th century. "Buyer beware" belongs to our past.  "The customer is always right" may not be true, but it is relevant. 

Great customer service equals success.

Do you obsess about your online customer reviews?  Stop it!  It is a symptom of misplaced priorities.  You should be obsessing about the very things that create great customer reviews organically.  Your future depends on it.

I've often talked about word-of-mouth advertising being the beginning and the end.  Before mass media, it was the main (and the best) kind of advertising.  We have circled around and come back to that with Social Media and Online Customer Reviews.  Consumers are judging your every move.  They are doing so very publicly.

The next decade will give those who act transparently and in their customers best interest the advantaqe over all others.  You can "push" advertising at them telling them how great you are, but if it doesn't meet reality, others will give them the true scoop on you.

This will manifest in how you treat your employees, how they treat your customers, and how they become advocates for your business.

It may not be Disney, as GM aspires to, but it just might be the future of your business.

Written by
 Tom Gorham
Editor, From The Trenches
Professional Community