Are You One OF a Million or One IN a Million?


by Ryan Leslie

Oh, the dif­fer­ence two lit­tle let­ters can make in a phrase!

Being just one OF a mil­lion has a largely neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion. In retail auto­mo­tive it could mean that you are lit­tle more than an order taker to your con­sumers. They don’t expect any guid­ance from you, they don’t value your opin­ion, they really don’t WANT to inter­act with you at all; you are the nec­es­sary means to an end, and you are far from the ONLY per­son that can meet their needs. There are a mil­lion oth­ers just like you. What a hor­ri­ble thought!

Con­trast that with the con­no­ta­tion of being one IN a million…

When you are one IN a mil­lion you offer some­thing very mean­ing­ful and extremely valu­able to the con­sumer that they can’t get from any­one else. The con­no­ta­tion is that you are the ONLY one that pro­vides a par­tic­u­lar value or ser­vice to your con­sumers, the only one that can meet their needs.

I recently had the oppor­tu­nity to share a few moments with Nick San­tar­siero from Car­di­nale Way Mazda in Mesa, Ari­zona. Nick has been with Car­di­nale for eight years and is by far one of the most suc­cess­ful Ser­vice Advi­sors when it comes to col­lect­ing reviews on Deal­er­Rater. He has over 250 indi­vid­ual reviews!  Nick is one IN a mil­lion to his customers…

How do you become one IN a Mil­lion like Nick?

• Under­stand the impor­tance of con­sumer experience

Nick’s response to my ques­tion about why he is com­mit­ted to ask­ing his cus­tomers for reviews was; “Reviews are a reflec­tion of world class ser­vice… they give me an oppor­tu­nity to shine.” Nick clearly under­stands the impor­tance of being one in a mil­lion as a ser­vice advi­sor. He works hard to ensure that his ser­vice depart­ment stands out from the com­pe­ti­tion and adds to his dealership’s bot­tom line. Con­sumer Expe­ri­ence (CX) must be of para­mount impor­tance if you want to be one IN a mil­lion to your prospects. Nick knows that CX starts well before the con­sumer pulls on the lot. He often directs con­sumers to read his reviews online before he meets a client in the drive. He is eager for his poten­tial cus­tomers to know he is trust­wor­thy and that they don’t need to take his word for it.

Unfor­tu­nately con­sumer trust is still a huge issue. Car sales­peo­ple and auto mechan­ics rank at or near the bot­tom year after year in the annual Gallup Poll of Honesty/Ethics in Pro­fes­sions. Here is where deal­er­ship reviews and indi­vid­ual employee reviews can really help over­come this neg­a­tive con­sumer per­cep­tion and make you shine as that one IN a mil­lion.  The dig­i­tal inter­ac­tion with your deal­er­ship and employ­ees is almost always the begin­ning of their for­ma­tive opin­ion about you. As CX starts online, with search engines incor­po­rat­ing more social sig­nals into their algo­rithms, if you want your deal­er­ship to appear as that one IN a mil­lion for local­ized searches, then you will cer­tainly need to con­sider how your cus­tomers are able to leave reviews online for both sales and service.

• Adopt an atti­tude of unique cus­tomer ser­vice based on con­sumer experience

I asked Nick how he has been so con­sis­tent in request­ing reviews from his cus­tomers. His answer was sim­ply that; “Phil, my GM, doesn’t make it a sug­ges­tion, it’s a direc­tive.” The deal­er­ship has a cul­ture of cre­at­ing unique con­sumer expe­ri­ences, and they’ve made it a habit. From the top down and the bot­tom up, “5 star ser­vice” is more than a cute tagline. Nick is con­fi­dent in his abil­ity and his com­mit­ment to great con­sumer expe­ri­ences. Every day he con­sciously chooses to be one IN a million.

Con­sumers use reviews about you and your deal­er­ship to set an expec­ta­tion for their own expe­ri­ence. If you have only a few reviews that describe mostly neg­a­tive expe­ri­ences online, con­sumers will expect that their expe­ri­ence will also be neg­a­tive. You are just one of a mil­lion peo­ple try­ing to sell them a car. If you, like Nick, have hun­dreds of pos­i­tive con­sumer expe­ri­ences shared dig­i­tally with your prospec­tive con­sumers, you are eas­ily iden­ti­fied as the one IN a mil­lion pro­fes­sional that can truly help them with their auto­mo­tive needs.

I have some more great data from my inter­view with Nick and I’ll com­ment more on how Car­di­nale Way Mazda has cre­ated a cul­ture of con­sumer expe­ri­ence and offer some best prac­tices in a future arti­cle, so stay tuned….

Ryan Leslie, Direc­tor of Dealer Rep­u­ta­tion Strat­egy, Deal­er­Rater can be reached at