In last year’s Gallup poll, ranking the honesty and ethics in different professions, “Car Salespeople” tied for second to last along with members of Congress and Telemarketers. Lobbyists took the top (or bottom) spot as least credible.

gallup pole_2015_car salespeson

Let that reality sink in. Even after all the effort dealerships have made to be transparent with their customers, as recent as December 2015, auto dealers are still viewed as some of least credible people in business.

That’s quite the hill to traverse. It’s no wonder that car buyers are only going into one, maybe two stores when looking for a new vehicle. They want to avoid the sales experience. And with the Internet being what it is, it’s pretty easy to make a decision without standing in front of someone on the sales floor.

But all is not lost. The most valuable asset a dealer has is something almost guaranteed to get viewed – their website. However, not all websites are created equal. This article is pretty spot on in listing out 9 credibility killers that can tank your website, but we’ll highlight the top killers specific to auto dealers. Why? Because we don’t want you to blow it and drive potential customers into the arms of another dealership.

  1. Bad Web Design

This is the top reason and one that a lot of dealers fall into. Blinking banners (BUY NOW!), super bright colors, autoplay animation, and lots of ineffective pop-ups are all examples that can hurt your customers’ perception and willingness to stay on your site.

You need to figure out the story you really want to tell, and tell that story without all the flashiness. Keep it clean and don’t try to pack everything you’re trying to sell onto the home page. If the page passes your customer’s test to stick around, (which only takes 50 milliseconds to form) then they’ll find what they want with quality design.

  1. Bad Grammar/Typos

This goes without saying, but it continues to be a rampant problem – and not just for auto dealers. Bad grammar and typos greatly undermine your credibility, and if creditability is something that’s typically lacking in your industry, don’t give potential customers an easy reason to pick another dealer. Make sure your web provider proofs every piece of content on your site.

  1. Superlatives and Other Vague Language

Family owned, best selection, lowest prices, #1 Ford dealer in a 6-block radius. All those things sound great to you, but your customer doesn’t care. You being family owned doesn’t mean you’ll have the car they want at the price they hope. Keep that info on your “about us” page and be specific about what you’re offering. Being up-front and transparent is what your customer wants, so deliver that instead.

  1. Lack of Photos

Would you buy a TV from Best Buy without a picture? Probably not. How many of your vehicles, new or used, have the OEM image attached to the VDP? If you’re pushing a 2013 Accord (used), what are the chances you’ll get any hits if the image isn’t of the actual car? If it’s on your lot, it should be on your website. Remember, buyers are only going into a store when they think they’ve found what they’re looking for. If the inventory isn’t on your website, how will they know you have it?

  1. Technical and Usability Problems

Fast load speeds, easy to navigate, forms/calculators that work, and bright, clean images on your VDPs should be your standard. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load on mobile, people move on. It doesn’t matter what kind of amazing inventory you have, if your site is filled with dead links and non-functional forms, your creditability will get shot and your potential buyer is already on to the next best website.


All of the above seem like no-brainers, but in reality, many dealers suffer from more than just one of these killer problems.

When you get home tonight, take a tour of your website. Come up with a vehicle that you know you sell/is on the lot, then start at your homepage. Navigate like a potential buyer might, taking note of everything mentioned. How quick could you find what you’re looking for? Was the vehicle actually there? How was the experience? Did you come off as credible?

If you weren’t happy with it, maybe we can improve your credibility, increase your leads and help you sell more cars.

If you’re interested in reading the rest of the article, click here.