Change happens at an ever-escalating pace. Think about how you are currently reading this blog; on your computer or a smartphone that you purchased just a couple of years ago, that is likely already three models outdated. It can be hard to stay on top of these updates and changes and to know when the best time is to catch up.
The same goes for technology and consumer behavior in the auto business. Car shopper behavior has changed in the last decade. When the world of dealer inventory became visible to every person on the planet via online listings, things fundamentally changed. As new “layers” are added, consumers and dealers are naturally attracted to the next shiny object. The things that make life… easier. We’ve moved on from a sales process that was essentially 100% in person at the dealership to a process where the car is delivered to their home. However, when it comes to purchasing a car, most people still prefer to see, touch, and feel a vehicle BEFORE buying it.
Technology is great if used properly, to help (note the word “help”) sell a car. However, ultimately, the customer still needs to develop an emotional connection to your dealership and a certain vehicle. With a zillion Honda Civics for sale, how is YOURS going to make enough of an impression that the potential buyer becomes attached? Add to that the number of dealerships (franchise and independent) and the question becomes ‘how you can make YOURS the one they want to do business with?’ If you can succeed in making both of those connections successfully, you have probably earned yourself at least one sale if not repeat sales, service revenue, referrals, etc.
So exactly how do you connect with an anonymous car buyer looking at your website –when you don’t even know exactly who they are? Through video.
Look, it’s not rocket science. I would say that we are straying too far away from the “basics” and forgetting why we have “steps to the sale” in the first place. Because they work! While a lot of steps to the sale are now online, the ones that absolutely cannot be replaced are developing a relationship (meet/greet, build rapport, etc.) and getting a customer HOT on a car (showing them a vehicle that fits their needs and wants. Doing a walkaround. Getting their butt in the seat and doing a test drive.) THOSE are the things that some dealers are missing in their online presence. Through video, you can do all of the aforementioned things and still maintain the rest of the steps to the sale by using other digital tools. Utilize video/360s to replicate the ability to view a vehicle parked on your lot. Provide new model test drive videos so shoppers can get that exciting feeling of driving a new car they are interested in. Utilize video email and texting in your lead follow-ups so you get that face-to-face connection when answering their questions. The list goes on and on, but the answer to bridging the gap between online sales and on-the-lot sales is video.
Think of it like this: What if you see a customer on your lot and nobody steps out to help them? Say they browse around, look at some cars then leave? Or you see a customer and go and say “hi,” but never land them on a vehicle or get them to do a test drive? We all know the importance of the “on the lot” sales process. How important it is to “sell the dealership”, “sell yourself”, and then “sell the car”. We all know the emotional attachment that takes place during the test drive. We also all know that consumer buying habits have changed as technology has made it easier for them to shop and experience products via the internet in much the same ways as they previously did in person. The science of emotional attachment didn’t change because of technology, it simply moved from requiring “in-person experience” to “online experience”.
The tools are there for you to satisfy the consumer’s quest for information while simultaneously duplicating that emotional connection to the vehicle, salesperson, and your dealership —video!!. No matter how many people want to shop online, you will always need to use tools to make those connections and the best, easiest, most affordable way to accomplish that is through video.
It is a well-known fact that video marketing is the most desired and powerful way to engage customers. There are many ways to use video to engage customers including explainer videos, video walkarounds of vehicles, live interactions, and more. Most of these are either customer-initiated engagements via a submitted form or an inquiry to dealers. A good best practice is to send all leads video introductions. But… what happens if they don’t respond to your video introduction? If you aren’t working with a technology provider that allows you to have real-time alerts when someone views your delivered videos, then you won’t know if or when the consumer opened it, and you won’t know when the best time to follow up with each individual is.
A friend of mine had an interesting experience recently that truly shows the power of video. They had purchased a Buick from a dealer that was one hundred miles away. The salesperson delivered the car to his house, it was after dark when it arrived and the salesperson did a poor job of explaining the features. Six months go by and the weather starts to get colder. The friend decided to tweet that he had just discovered (by accident) that the Buick had a heated steering wheel and he was excited! A local dealership replied to his tweet with a message along the lines of, “Isn’t that cool! Here is a video walkaround explaining all of the features you may not know your Buick has.” Even though he didn’t buy the car from them, eventually it will need to be serviced. Out of all of the competing dealerships that he COULD take his vehicle to for service, which one do you think will be top-of-mind? Now fast forward a few years when it is time to purchase another Buick. Who do you think my friend “likes” and “trusts” more, the Buick dealership 100 miles away, or the local dealership that went out of its way to assist him, even though he didn’t purchase from them?
According to this article, 96 percent of consumers have watched explainer videos with 7 out of 10 stating that the explainer video convinced them to buy that product or service.
How do you think this one dealership, out of the many in the United States, found this local person asking a question (or discovering a new feature in this case) and knew he was someone with whom they should interact? Everyone can access social platforms regardless of geography. All platforms use hashtags (in this case #Buick) to read and listen to conversations about those topics. Some can also filter hashtag conversations geographically. In this specific example, going above and beyond and simply replying to my friend’s posting with a video earned this dealership brownie points, and awareness and started a conversation that can lead to brand loyalty.
Imagine using the same hashtag and discovering a post on social media about a horrible experience a customer had at your competition? You could then respond with a personalized video to them, sympathizing with them about the experience and inviting them to your dealership, informing them that they will not have a repeat of that experience with you – that you will take care of them.
Video introductions result in increased response rates and additional engagement, and you start building a relationship between the salesperson and the customer that a text-only email cannot accomplish.
Being “aggressive” isn’t bad if you do it right – with the intent to “help” and not “sell.” The conversation should start around questions asked and include solutions to their problems. Not “buy from me,” but rather explainer videos that you’ve already made that can then be personalized for that person. Listening, caring, and helping are great. Combine that with video and you’ll hit a grand slam.
Posting videos on social media is a great way to have fun and get attention. But posting videos with a purpose will make you money.
Have you ever been frustrated because a customer turned down a service recommendation? Perhaps they hand you the excuse that they need to consult with a spouse, friend, or family member before they accept. The problem is most consumers are pre-conditioned to say “no” to the additional service recommendations. They all know the additional service recommendation is coming, and have already prepared themselves to say no, without knowing the additional services you plan to recommend. But how do you convince that customer who lacks trust that the additional services are truly needed?
Most consumers say “no” to the additional service because they don’t fully understand what the service is, or why it is necessary. They think you are trying to sell them something they don’t need. It is much easier for people to believe something when they can see it. And while sending photos is better than just sending words on a screen, a video personalized for a customer which explains the service and why their vehicle needs it is a much more powerful tool to add to your service department. A technician (or service advisor) who takes the time to show a customer what needs to be fixed on their vehicle via video – whether it is recorded or streamed live – will make your service department more transparent, create trust, increase CSI, and upsells. And, if hosted on the right platform, can capture invaluable data to make your service marketing more effective.
These types of explanation videos are already incredibly valuable. BUT they become even more valuable when you can get data from them. With the right platform hosting your videos, you can get data on who is watching your videos, whether it is a personalized video for a current customer or a general video on your website. And with real-time alerts, you’ll know exactly when someone watches your video so you can ensure that you are getting the right message to them at the right time… when they are the most interested. Hosting your website/marketing videos on YouTube just cannot provide this level of insight or data.
Humanizing your dealership in the eyes of your customer is also important. Video builds personal engagement with your dealership as well as the service advisor or technician that made and sent the video. And the best part? Your service advisors and technicians can do it. using their very own smartphone.
Create a process for recording the multi-point inspection so it can reinforce what you tell the customer. “Hey, Mr./Ms. Customer, we’ve completed your multi-point inspection and found a couple of things we think you should address to keep your vehicle healthy and have a longer life. Let me show you what those are and explain why they should be fixed.”
If you let the customer leave when they decline a service recommendation, they will forget what you told them, and you will have to remember to remind them over and over again(assuming they return). Or perhaps they just go to another dealership that is already using the technology and strategies we are discussing, who wins their trust a little better.
According to statistics, service acceptance rates increase by 25-35% when customers receive their MPIs via video. And Dollars per RO increase by 35-60% with a 25-35% increase in CSI! Is that worth the effort to integrate video into your service department’s process? If you don’t think so, I’ll come out and do it and you can give me the increase in revenue! That’s how confident I am in the results video will bring to your dealership’s service department.
A lot of technology out there promises more revenue. The bottom line is that video is the most preferred method of content in EVERY area of a consumer’s life. From entertainment to shopping to sales and yes, even servicing a car (plus more). I am not sure a more powerful medium exists to engage a customer and create an emotional impact to sell… well… anything.
Why does everyone like Super Bowl commercials? Heck, some people watch the Super Bowl just to see them! Companies spend millions of dollars for a 30-second slot both during and leading up to the Super Bowl. And why do consumers like them? Because they are entertaining and use video to tell help companies tell stories. Emotion sells, but so does information. Especially when you can transfer your information in a more emotional manner, and that is exactly what utilizing videos does. They also make those companies memorable and help gain brand exposure as people continue to discuss them around the office and over social media the next day.
I’m not asking you to spend millions of dollars on a Super Bowl commercial. What I am saying is that companies find value in this marketing medium because those commercials transfer information in a highly emotional manner, which builds brand exposure and makes them more memorable. The good news is that You don’t need to spend millions of dollars to use video to make an impact in your business. All you need is a phone, a strategy, and a way to distribute your videos.
Customers take the time to look for and research who they want to do business with. Video helps in the process as it engages customers emotionally and helps them become attached to your business and inventory. The next time that customer is in the market and needs to select which product to buy, they already know you, like you, remember you, and choose you, before they’ve ever even decided which vehicle they want to purchase.
With the advent of the VR universe – or Metaverse – the time may come when these commercials speak directly to an individual consumer. Facebook is pretty much the most dominant social platform in the world with billions of users. Now, they have changed their name to Meta, focusing on bringing their community online through, at the moment, their Oculus product.
They are not quite there yet. But using video for branding and personalization certainly is. And it doesn’t cost a million dollars. In fact, all you need is a smartphone, the right hosting platform, a strategy, and buy-in from employees.
An article on Martech shares some key points about video from a study by Wistia. Brands are currently spending more on video marketing and 72% plan to incorporate video into their marketing this year. One of the largest reasons is because it is the type of content consumers prefer. 1.4 BILLION minutes of video were watched by consumers in 2021! That’s a lot of video! Videos are an essential part of any marketing strategy and a mandatory marketing tool for successful businesses today. If you are not already using an aggressive video strategy, you need to grab your phone and get to work. You might just find that with video, word-of-mouth spreads faster than you think, brand exposure increases and sales do as well.
A very interesting article published by Entrepreneur shares an analogy about how marketing is a lot like dating. The article explains that marketing is essentially about building relationships with your consumer audience. Most people would agree that it is aggravating on a first date, or when meeting someone at a social gathering for the first time if the other party simply talks about themselves the entire time. This illustrates they only have an interest in themselves and none for you or anyone else in the group.
The same philosophy can be applied to marketing. A lot of marketing revolves around concepts such as “This is what makes my product great!” or “Buy My Product!” and many consumers tend to lose interest fast – exactly like you would on a date or in a group at a party. The key isn’t to start by giving shoppers a long list of all of your product’s features, but rather to have a benefits-focused message that gets them engaged and yearning to learn more.
While in today’s Covid-stricken world people are seeking interaction, we still want to buy the things we need or want. Wouldn’t your dealership want to satisfy both of those needs? In doing so, you create a bond between the consumer and your dealership that can last far beyond the pandemic. Consumers will absolutely remember those that take the time to recognize them as individuals and not just random wallets.
How can you do this? Video email/texting and live video communication and by using your past customers to “sell” your dealership to current shoppers with video testimonials.
Cell phones are pretty much stapled to everyone’s bodies. They are the first things many people look at when they wake up, checking them constantly for all communications. Emails are fine. Text messages are better. But video messages – including personalized videos; live-streaming videos; and other forms of communication that involve targeted one on one communication with another; trump everything. Can these types of communication be combined? Sure! You can send an email or text with a video message. You can live-stream with a consumer regardless of whether you can both see each other, or they can only see you.
Additionally, one of the best ways to sell your dealership’s value to your customers is through customer testimonial videos. These videos use customers that have already purchased from your store. They explain their great experience working with your dealership. Placing these on your website is an amazing way to let potential shoppers know that they can trust you.
Using personalized videos and live streaming to communicate with the consumer more ABOUT their needs than about yourself is gold right now. Don’t just talk to them about a vehicle, inspire trust in yourself and your dealership by taking the time to truly get to know each shopper. It should also remain gold post-pandemic as this is what consumers want. Canned and templated messages are no longer very productive (not that they ever really were.)
Find tools that can assist your dealership in easily creating personalized video messages and communications. By providing your salespeople and service advisors with tools that are easy to use employees will sell more cars and service advisors will find that service recommendations are accepted more easily.
Stop being “that guy” on that date who only talks about himself. You will get much more attention, interest, and interaction by being more interested in the other person.
Most dealerships understand the importance of effective marketing. Heck, you’ve been doing it for years. Every medium, every day and go big on Friday! As online content has grown, so has consumer preference for video. In fact, according to an article on Search Engine Journal, 78% of companies that use video in their marketing strategies said it helped increase sales; 83% stated that it increased consumers’ time on their website, and 86% saw it increase overall website traffic.
Most dealerships know they should create video content to effectively market their dealership, sales team, and inventory. Those dealerships who have experimented with different types of video content rave about the impact that it has on their sales. But even those dealerships often stop creating new video content even though they have experienced the positive impact firsthand.
So, what’s the problem then? Why isn’t every dealership using video?
A recent article on Inc.com has a phrase that I love – Perfection Paralysis. Essentially, it shares how many marketers are so worried about making video content perfect that they end up not making any at all. Striving for perfection is great. However, major league baseball players, NFL stars, and musicians don’t become great overnight. Do you know what they do? They go out and do it! Whatever “it” is. They don’t expect it to be perfect. But what they do know is that the more they practice, the better they get.
If your dealership isn’t utilizing video, a great place to start is with automated inventory videos and 360 spins. These videos and 360s are fast and easy to create, as they utilize your existing inventory feed and then are automatically pushed to your website and online marketing partners. From there, you can continue to build on your video marketing strategy to add in full motion inventory videos and 360s, new model test drive videos, live video streaming, monthly promotional videos, lead follow-up video communications, etc.
You’re never going to improve unless you start. And you can’t expect to go from crawling to running a 5K overnight. Your customers aren’t going to expect your videos to be commercial grade by a professional videographer. I would even argue that, if they did look like they are professional quality, customers may doubt your sincerity.
Many salespeople have made an excellent career for themselves by utilizing video with their customers. They didn’t start as professional videographers and many of them still aren’t. What they did do, however, is recognize video’s potential and, most importantly… STARTED.
Don’t let writer’s (or in this case) video block stop you from actually creating video content. As you start to use it, you will see how customers react to the effort you made to create a video just for them! You will see how much easier it is to engage them when they get a video response instead of a text template email. And the most important part, you will sell more cars!
The majority of consumers prefer video content which is why social media and streaming services thrive (and prefer) this form of media.
I remember when it was revolutionary for an inventory syndication company to take still photos and convert them into stitched photos videos
Then we evolved to video walkarounds where an actual video of the vehicle is used (rather than still pictures put together) which increases engagement because the consumer can see the vehicle almost as if they are on the lot This also enables the dealership to produce their own custom voice-overs whereby a salesperson describes the features and benefits just as they would if they were doing it in real-life.
And then we moved on to taking personalized videos of vehicles for a specific customer, answering their questions then emailing the video to them. Take it up a notch and we are now able to use individual shopper data to change the viewing experience for each individual shopper based on their viewing habits and report each viewing experience back to your CRM in real-time.
Then we graduated to real-time Livestream video to communicate with customers on mobile devices, whether that be for purchasing questions or simply to let the customer guide the salesperson while doing a virtual walkaround (or virtual test-drive) to show them what they want to see. Imagine a salesperson being able to communicate with a customer just as if the salesperson were standing in the room with them!.
Now we get into the Star Trek zone…
The Cirque de Soleil show, Michael Jackson One, in Las Vegas, has an awe-inspiring feature — Michael Jackson himself appears as a hologram. And the recent Digital Dealer Conference featured an ENTIRE CONCERT with a hologram of Whitney Houston. Let me tell you, it looks like these departed celebrities are really there. They’re dancing next to real-life dancers and singing their songs. It is certainly very engaging.
The point is that video – as well as technology in general – continues to evolve. The technology to bring people in various locations together so they can engage with each other in meaningful ways will only continue to progress. What is the thread that drives all of this? It’s video. And that is how important it is for engaging others.
What’s the next step? Perhaps we’ll be able to just transport a salesperson and a vehicle into the customer’s living room (with their permission, of course.) Now, beam me up, Scotty!
Most automotive sales professionals are familiar with the road to the sale. Steps vary in details from dealer to dealer, but everyone agrees on the importance of the meet and greet, the vehicle presentation, and selling the dealership. The purpose of the “sell the dealership” step is to build trust and rapport with the customer.
Considering the large number of commercials that are being aired by the online retailers attempting to convince the consumer that they will have a terrible experience if they shop with you, these steps have never been more important than they are now. Selling your dealership lets the customer know that they are at a dealership that they can trust – one that respects their time and has a knowledgeable and informed staff that the shopper believes are there to help, without pressuring them into decisions that they aren’t ready to make. Selling your dealership starts with breaking down barriers to inspire trust between the customer and whoever they will come in contact with at your dealership throughout their buying process.
On the lot, sales professionals are trained to sell the dealership first, then sell yourself, and then sell the car. Unfortunately, most online dealerships only focus on selling the car, forgetting that building a trust relationship with your shoppers by selling your dealership is still just as important in the online marketplace. Most consumers still need to learn more about the dealership and the sales professionals before engaging with their initial contact. In fact, Google tells us that “Where Should I Buy It” is even one of the most important micro-moments in the online buying cycle. So, how can you ensure that you are still selling your dealership when engaging with a customer online early enough in the buying cycle for it to have the largest impact?
The key is to implement an online video marketing strategy that duplicates your physical strategy and assures you are getting the right video content in front of your shoppers at the right time of the buying cycle. This can be easily accomplished by adding a landing page to your website that provides a complete Video Experience, containing all of the Why Buy videos that your shoppers will seek throughout the entire buying cycle. Displaying all of these videos in the same place on your landing page via itemized menu tabs, and making that landing page accessible from every drop down on your site’s main navigation, allows you to seamlessly guide shoppers down the buying cycle.
Here’s an example of what this tabbed video experience on your landing page might look like:
From your site’s main navigation, include links to a specific tab on the above menu that displays the most relevant information when they land on the page. The good news is that you already have all of the video content that will be on the landing page, you are simply offering it to your shoppers in a different manner.
Here are some examples of videos that can display on every menu item on your landing page, according to the main menu navigation dropdown that they should be found in:
New Inventory Dropdown: Pointing shoppers to New Model Test Drive Videos from the Research Pages dropdown in your site’s main navigation will boost consumer engagement and dealership trust dramatically. Without videos on these pages, you are forcing your shoppers to either find new model information OFF of your website, or forcing them to read text descriptions while browsing a handful of photos. Adding New Model Test Drive videos will not only drive more organic SEO to your website and keep shoppers on your site longer, but will also prevent them from leaving your site to find information on new models (and possibly ending up back in the marketplace as they look for that information).
Now that the shopper is on your website and researching your various brands, include your dealership Value Proposition and Testimonial video content as additional video content on those same pages. This helps to transition consumers from top-funnel video content to mid-funnel video content, where you are now selling the dealership just like you do when a customer physically walks onto your lot. Adding a New Model Test Drive Videos option in your New Inventory dropdown is also recommended.
Pre Owned Inventory Dropdown: Every dealership should have inventory videos for their used inventory, on both SRPs and VDPs. However, on the Pre Owned dropdown of your site’s main navigation, you should also include a link directing shoppers to the Pre Owned Inventory Standards section of your video experience landing page.
Pre Owned Inventory Standards videos build trust by informing shoppers that you care about the quality of the vehicle that they are purchasing from your dealership, and that you are committed to giving them the best experience possible. These videos outline the process that you take to clean and inspect every vehicle, from engine degreasing to deep carpet cleaning. They also give the perfect opportunity to promote returning for service whenever the buyer may need detailing or something on their car looked at. Build trust with your shoppers by showing them that your dealership cares about the quality of your inventory, and put your reliable vehicles and service at the forefront of your shopper’s mind. Then be certain to include these same video, along with your dealership value proposition and testimonial videos, alongside the VIN specific inventory videos on your SRP and VDP displays. This puts them in front of your shoppers at a stage of the buying cycle when they will have the biggest impact, selling your dealership at the same time you are selling the car.
Finance Department Dropdown: Many consumers enter the automotive shopping process with several concerns regarding finances, such as: the impact that their financial condition will have on their ability to purchase, the final price of their purchase, and how they will purchase. Make it easy for your online shoppers to get their questions answered long before they contact you by having various Finance FAQ videos on your Video Experience Landing Page. With these videos on your landing page, customers can find them both by seeing them while watching other videos on your page, as well as by having that specific section linked to in your sites Finance Department Dropdown.
These videos can vary anywhere from “Can I get a loan after bankruptcy?” to “How can I get the lowest car payment?”. The goal and end result with having these videos readily accessible and linked to from your main dropdown is to display that your dealership is transparent and is there to guide your shoppers through this process – while giving them valuable financing information.
Service Department Dropdown: To continue efforts on getting buyers to come back for servicing their vehicles, you should also feature a Service FAQ tab in your Video Experience Landing Page. These videos should answer the most common questions asked when it comes to your dealership’s service department, doing it in a much more engaging way than text on a screen and giving your shoppers the chance to navigate to the other tabs and videos on your landing page. These videos can include how to make a service appointment, current service offers you have, etc.
About Us Dropdown: On the About Us portion of your site’s main navigation, linking to dealership specific videos on your Video Experience Landing Page is a great way to humanize your store to your shoppers. When a customer clicks on this link and is directed to videos in your About Us page tab, they are specifically looking to find out if your dealership and your staff are people that they can trust with their purchase. Your goal with videos in this section should be to inspire emotion and guide shoppers toward contacting your sales team. Let the consumer know that they will gave a great experience doing business with you, contrary to the message being presented to them by the online retailers. These videos can include topics such as your mission statement, your community involvement, staff biographies, customer testimonials, etc. – anything that shows what makes your dealership different and trustworthy.
In the online marketplace, many dealerships forget about selling anything more than just the car. The fact is, shoppers still need to be sold on your dealership and your online strategy should not be all that different from your in-store strategy. The best way to accomplish this is to provide your shoppers with a Video Experience Landing Page – a place that contains all of your Why Buy videos and is linked to from your sites main navigation menu. Having these videos consolidated allows you to build trust and guide customers through the buying cycle all on one page, while giving them a one-stop-shop for all of the information they could need regarding why they should buy from you over your competition.
Video has taken over as the preferred form of content for consumers. According to an infographic on The Drum, in 2017 only 63% of businesses used videos in their marketing. Fast forward to 2021 and that statistic has exploded to 86%. In addition, 85% of consumers stated that they would like to see even more video content from businesses. But forget about these statistics for a moment and just think about yourself and your habits. Would you prefer to read a bunch of words about a product you are researching, or watch an informative video on it?
In my past blogs I have shared various ways you can use video to engage your customers — but here is another idea:
Most dealerships hold new car-owner clinics designed to welcome shoppers who just purchased a new car to the dealership’s family, introduce them to service, and answer any questions they may have after owning their vehicle. These clinics handle a variety of things from how to set the seat memory function, to how to pair their iPhone with the vehicle’s entertainment system. The clinics are designed to invest the customer in your dealership while encouraging them to continue to do business with you as well as refer their friends and family.
If run well, the clinics show the customer that you care and that they are important to your dealership. This sort of service builds tremendous trust with your dealership’s new customers. The problem is, especially now with Covid, many new car owners don’t show up. Whether that’s because of a scheduling issue, or a feeling that it is not important, varies from customer to customer. What if you could offer a similar experience to your customers through video? It’s quite simple!
Think of an interactive video similar to a choose-your-own adventure-type experience. Do you remember those books? You read a page and then, at the end of the page, decide what you want to do next. How about creating a similar experience for your customers, but with video? As vehicles become increasingly more sophisticated and technology-infused, these questions will become more frequent, and your customers will go online to find the answers to their questions rather than come to you. Why don’t YOU become their go-to resource?
Start with what you want them to see and learn, along with the people you want them to meet, and make videos of those things. Typically, at these events, salespeople answer the customer’s vehicle-specific questions such as how the memory seats work, or how rain-sending wipers are set up.
Then, you need to put these videos where your customers will see them. The best way to get these videos seen is to use video email/text to follow up with your new customers. First, create a video introducing how your process works. Put this video on a landing page that includes videos covering the car-specific topics that you think the customer should see, whether it is features of their vehicle’s infotainment system or unique settings on their seat adjustments. This allows customers to guide themselves through your educational process at their own pace, using the power of video to retain more information and come back to watch whenever they need to.
Finally, offer each consumer the opportunity to Live Stream with you on the fly. I know that we all have become familiar with many live streaming services like ZOOM or Facetime. The problem is that not all live streaming services work on all devices (Apple, Android, Desktop, Mobile, etc.) and scheduling set times to live stream often leads to consumers ditching because something came up at that time. Utilize the new “one-click” live streaming technology that places a “Video Call” button on your landing pages (or any designated page) that the consumer can engage anytime at their convenience. This button will call into your dealership’s system and ring any designated team member who is online at that time. When the call is answered by a dealership employee, the consumer and employee are instantly placed in a live streaming call, and it all happens at the consumer’s convenience. Now your employee can walk through the various features with the consumer, just as if they were at a live event.
Interactive, personalized video engages your customers. It also makes you their go-to resource, helps the customer gain more familiarity with your dealership and staff, and starts the process of building brand loyalty which, hopefully, culminates with a brand advocate. And there is no better, or more profitable, customer than that!
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, there are many uses for video in marketing. One thing I haven’t yet discussed is using video internally in your dealership. At many dealerships, training is not always a strong focus and new employees are introduced to the dealership and company culture through piles of paperwork, manuals, and other tedious tasks that, for the most part, get skimmed through – rather like all of those “Terms and Agreements” we are all subjected to continuously. For the most part, these just go unread, and we simply scroll down until we reach the “Agree” button.
Well, similar to how you can use video to great success to engage your potential and existing customers, you can also use video to engage new employees and make it simpler and more enjoyable for them to learn about their new career as well as your dealership’s culture, branding, and messaging. Incorporating training videos into your onboarding process will be more engaging and will also be remembered over piles of paper.
Here are four ways to incorporate video into your training:
Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Policies – These are pretty standard in almost every business. Typically, however, there are manuals that have to be read. Then, at the end, the employee just needs to sign the last page and turn it in. These are very important for company culture and legal compliance. Consider having your corporate office or Human Resources department create a video outlining the dealership’s policies THEN have the employee watch the video and sign the form stating they understand them. It would be much more engaging, and, with the right platform, you can have a data record of what has been watched.
Company Culture Overview – Dealerships market the experience consumers should expect and employees are on the front line of this. Employees can either reinforce that promise or detract from it. Consider creating a video for employees that illustrates the company culture and the importance of complying while also explaining expectations. You can then get a head start on the new employee’s indoctrination into the organization.
Meet the Team – All too often, a new hire completes all of the paperwork and gets thrust into their new role without knowing who else exists in the dealership outside of the few they work with directly. Just as it is a good idea to make videos introducing yourself to customers, why not have department managers – front, back office, and service – create a short video introducing themselves to a new employee? This will help the new employee start their career with a sense of who everyone is and what they do and add a sense of the “team” they are joining.
Social Media Policies – Most dealerships have policies in place for employees’ use of social media platforms. Whatever your policies happen to be, the new employee should be informed of them right from the beginning. There have been lawsuits whereby employees were terminated because of social media use and, when the employee sued the dealership, the dealership lost due to lack of a policy.
When you make these videos, you would be wise to use a video platform that provides data. Then you can allow these employees to watch these videos in the comfort of their own home –rather than sticking them in a closet with a bunch of paperwork.
Employees will feel more comfortable, will pay more attention, and should, ultimately be ready to roll from the first day they step into the dealership.