It’s always a good idea to do some research on a product before you buy it – especially big-ticket items like electronics, home entertainment, and vehicles. You wouldn’t purchase an HDTV without first finding out if it’s compatible with your Blu-ray player or buy a vehicle without first comparing fuel efficiency, would you? Of course not!
But in the case of buying a vehicle, the auto dealership selling the car is as important as the car itself; and buyers should perform due diligence in researching the local dealerships that sell the type of car they wish to purchase. Reputation, customer service, maintenance certifications, and overall satisfaction are all extremely important factors to be taken into consideration when deciding on a dealership. In choosing a dealership from which to buy, you are committing to a long-term relationship with that business. So you will want to be certain that you will have productive, efficient, and cordial experiences with the dealership and its representatives.
There are many different avenues buyers can take in researching local dealerships, including:
- Word of mouth
- Local business journals
- Online research, and
- Social media
Word-of-mouth is one of the easiest ways to find out information specifically about the dealership: hearing or reading the detailed experiences of other customers who have purchased a vehicle from a dealership. Talking with people you know and trust can help you get an initial impression of a particular dealership. Word of mouth may be the easiest form of research, but it may not be the most reliable because it is so opinion-based. So, be sure to continue your research.
Most cities have local business journals which provide reliable, unbiased information about local businesses operating within a metro area. They provide company profile information, business news for the area and ratings for several areas of consumerism. Local business journals are usually published in print on a monthly basis, and also have detailed archives available on their websites to aid tech-savvy researchers looking for more information.
Online research is another valuable tool for finding information about a local dealership. Much like word-of-mouth recommendations, this information may be slightly biased, but it may also provide a larger basis for comparison. Sites like Google, Yelp!, and Dealer Rater allow users to post reviews and to provide ratings based on their experience with a dealership.
Finally, Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are great resources to see what the dealership has to say about itself and the message that it is putting out to its consumer base. In addition, following a dealership on these platforms are great ways to find specials being offered exclusively to loyal customers, fans, and followers.
Any or all of these resources are great places to look to ensure that you are an informed consumer. However, we recommend that you look into as many of them as you need to in order to feel comfortable patronizing a specific dealership. Knowledge is power, and with the knowledge you gain from spending a little time doing research, you will have the power to make an informed purchase decision!
As always, we would love to hear your feedback on researching a dealership. Do you have another resource that you’ve used in the past? Let us know in the comments below!
*image courtesy of David Hilowitz on Flickr