February 25, 2008
By John Avery
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We get asked a lot about how to sell more pre-owned vehicles on the Internet. The best way is to make sure that you are doing all you can do to market your vehicles the right way.
There are a several ways that you can accomplish this, and here are a few basic things that you can do.
One of the most basic practices that will help you is to make sure that you have good quality photos on each vehicle.
Prospective customers like to see the details on the vehicle and the condition of the vehicle before they come in. Having photos on your pre-owned vehicles really helps build the trust with your customer and builds value into the vehicle.
The only thing that is worse than not having pictures on the vehicles is having poor photos on your vehicles. Here are a few tips that you can use to improve your online photos:
—Be mindful of your background. I would suggest using the same background for all of your pictures. It doesn’t take that much more effort to pull the vehicles to a common point to take pictures of it. Some dealerships have actually set up a “studio” to take their pictures.
This is as simple as hanging a curtain in the background so the focus is on the vehicle. You can also take the pictures that will be positioned so that your dealership name is in the background. This will help them remember your dealership name and will keep another dealer from trying to sell your vehicle to their customer.
—I tried to make sure that the pictures were in the same basic order for each vehicle as well. This will give the customer consistency and will give them a sense that you genuinely care about earning their business.
—Take your exterior pictures from the corners of the vehicle. Taking these angles gets two sides of the vehicle and shows the customer more than pictures straight on from the back and the front.
—Take a picture of the odometer, this verifies the information that you have listed with the vehicle. Customers do not like it when they come in and the mileage is a misprint on the Web.
—Make sure that you have pictures of the seat condition, especially the driver’s seat. This is one of the first things that customers look at because comfort is so important.
The other big factor is something that most dealerships don’t take the time to bother with. Take the time to write a description for your pre-owned vehicles. It doesn’t need to very elaborate, but having a paragraph about the vehicle does build value into the vehicle and shows the customer that you don’t have anything to hide.
Here are a few tips that will help you with your descriptions:
—Make sure that whoever is writing them knows how to write with good grammar and that the spelling is checked and double-checked.
—The best way to write a description is to write what you think that you would tell a customer if they were in front of you. What qualities of the vehicle would you most want to deliver to your customer?
Here are a few items that you will want to include in your description:
—Let them know if the vehicle was a trade-in or not. Also include anything that you learned from the previous owners (i.e., one owner, mostly highway miles, traded for a newer model, needed a larger vehicle, etc.).
—Let them know about any certifications the vehicle has gone through in your service department.
—Let them know if there is still a manufacturer’s warranty left on the vehicle or if your dealership has put a warranty on it.
—Mention any equipment the vehicle has that will add value to the vehicle.
—I also added a sentence letting them know that we had checked the Carfax history and that they would be eligible for the Carfax money-back guarantee.
These ideas seem very simple, but many dealerships do not pay attention to these details and will give the customer a reason to eliminate you from their search.