Trust Marketing: Essential for Car Dealerships to Influence In-Market Buyers.

Trust Marketing: Building Trust with Car Shoppers Through Reviews and Endorsements.
20-Mar-2024 - 20-Mar-2024

The reputation of your dealership hinges not only on the vehicles you sell and the services you provide but also on a foundation of trust.

This trust encompasses the confidence that your dealership will stand by its promises, maintain high standards of quality, and deliver on after-sales services as committed.

Understanding Trust Marketing and Its Importance.

Yet, the reliance on institutional trust has seen a marked decline over the last twenty years.

Gone are the days when brand statements were accepted without question for their trustworthiness and credibility.

In today's landscape, consumers place their trust in the experiences and opinions shared by others—your customer reviews!

Understanding Trust Marketing and Its Importance.

With a general decline in institutional trust and the rise of online communities, marketplaces, and platforms, a peer-to-peer information exchange culture has flourished, significantly influencing the modern car-buying journey.

This peer-to-peer information exchange exemplifies the power of social proof across various stages of the buying process.

From customer reviews on Google, Trustpilot, and JudgeService to social media sites, and even expert video reviews on YouTube, the value of reviews has never been more pronounced.

Today, your customers are bombarded with so much information that they seek opinions from sources beyond your dealership's claims.

Car shoppers are looking for simple and dependable methods to make informed decisions swiftly.

Reviews serve as this shortcut, proving to be highly beneficial for consumers.

They help remove biases from the equation, paving the way for trust, clarity, and decisive action.

The decision to trust a car dealership is increasingly based on peer reviews rather than the dealership's own promotional messages.

As a modern-day dealership, it's critical to understand the new trust influencer: your past customers.

Why? Buyers trust your past customers more!

Strategies for Implementing Trust Marketing in Your Dealership.

1 - Capture: Begin by gathering as much customer feedback as possible in various formats, such as text reviews, audio, and video testimonials.

Encourage every customer to share their experience, making the review submission process easy and convenient.

Positive feedback tends to dominate when customers are actively solicited for their opinions.

2 - Distribute: Recognise that every potential buyer's journey to your dealership is unique.

By spreading a wealth of customer feedback across every potential touchpoint in the buying process, you guarantee a positive first impression of your brand, regardless of whether prospects are at the start or the conclusion of their journey.

3 - Shape the Narrative: With a flood of positive customer feedback, you can start to shape the narrative around your dealership.

Utilise this feedback on your website, social media, and paid advertisements to reinforce the positive image of your dealership, as communicated by your customers.

These steps are crucial for securing a position in the rapidly growing 'trust economy.'

Together, they craft a compelling image of your dealership, as shared by customers who have either purchased or serviced a vehicle at your location, no matter which channel potential car buyers are exploring.

This strategy enhances visibility in local searches and optimises conversion rates, both online and offline, thanks to compelling testimonials from customers.

The fundamental advantage of a trust marketing approach is its core value: it builds greater trust.

Kantar conducted an insightful study into consumer trust, revealing findings particularly relevant for car dealerships:

The study found that an overwhelming 93% of consumers place their highest trust in recommendations from friends and family, with 91% also trusting online review sites.

These statistics are not just numbers, but a clear indication of the power reviews hold in the car buying journey.

Utilising customer feedback as a key strategy in communicating your dealership's value propositions has proven to be almost three times more effective than traditional brand messaging through advertising.

Reflecting on this, it's crucial for car dealerships to re-evaluate their advertising expenditures.

In an industry where the majority of a dealership's budget might be funnelled into advertisements, these findings suggest a pivot towards a more review-focused approach could significantly enhance the effectiveness of reaching and convincing potential car buyers.

This strategy not only aligns with the shifting trust dynamics among consumers but also optimises the car buying journey by leveraging the authentic experiences shared by previous customers.

Kickstart your Trust Marketing approach in two straightforward phases:

1 - Actively Seek Customer Feedback Across Various Channels Execution Tips:

  • Automate and manually request text reviews through email or SMS, encouraging your customers to share their experiences.
  • Make it a practice to request feedback from all customers, spacing out follow-up requests by at least 60 days.
  • Guide your customers towards leaving reviews on major platforms like Google and Trustpilot, as well as specialised automotive review sites like JudgeService.
  • Gather video and audio testimonials for your marketing initiatives on your website, social media, and in your advertising efforts.

Expected Benefits:

  • Instil Trust.
  • Authentically represent the satisfaction levels of your customers.
  • Improve your dealership's visibility in local search results.
  • Optimise conversion rates through the power of social proof.
  • Communicate your dealership's key selling points more effectively.

2 - Respond to Reviews quickly and on all review sites

Execution Tips:

  • Aim to monitor and reply to reviews and social media mentions within 24 hours.
  • Personalise your responses with your brand’s voice and relevant keywords.
  • Provide support to dissatisfied customers to improve their perceptions and outcomes.

Struggling with prompt and effective responses?

Subscribe to BFN-AI, the review response assistant tailored for car dealerships.

Read this case study how it transformed operations for a dealership using AI-review responses

Expected Benefits:

  • Strengthen trust with both existing and potential customers.
  • Boost your visibility in local searches.
  • Enhance customer retention.
  • Increase the likelihood of conversions.


Trust Marketing represents a pivotal shift in how car dealerships approach their reputation and customer relationships.

In an era where consumers rely heavily on peer reviews and testimonials, leveraging authentic customer feedback becomes indispensable.

By implementing a trust marketing strategy, dealerships can significantly enhance their visibility, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately, drive more sales.

It's not just about selling cars; it's about building lasting relationships based on trust and transparency.

For car dealerships aiming to thrive in today's competitive market, adopting trust marketing is not just beneficial—it's essential.

By actively engaging with customers and utilising their reputation management technologies, alongside emerging AI tools such as BFN-AI for scalable review responses, dealerships can not only meet but surpass customer expectations.

This proactive approach ensures that every customer interaction is an opportunity to solidify trust and demonstrate a commitment to exceptional service.

In doing so, they solidify their place in the trust economy, turning happy customers into powerful advocates and driving growth through genuine, trusted connections.

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