emotion

Don’t Be So Serious!

by Brian Cox

A little over a month ago, a couple of employees at a car dealership in Illinois published a music video on YouTube titled “Keys In A Box,” which parodied a sketch from Saturday Night Live. These two individuals proceeded to have a great time and showcased their dealership in a creative and fun way. Their reward? Over 67,000 views in just one month, as well as compliments from Jalopnik, Edmunds and AdWeek. I wouldn’t be surprised if this helps place the dealership top-of-mind when a local customer is ready to buy their next vehicle.

 

 

Having fun with your branding and being creative with any videos can help you stay top-of-mind with your customer base. Think of the Volkswagen commercial that debuted a few Super Bowls ago – the one where the little kid dressed as Darth Vader and ran around trying to use the “Force.” It was a huge hit and created a lot of media interest and created quite a firestorm on social media.

But why do videos like these stay in our minds while other types don’t?

The answer is simple. They tell YOUR story. The buzz this fun and creative dealership video created is very likely worth more than any print or television ad they could have purchased. And my guess is that all it cost was a little time investment.

Videos are a powerful way to connect with customers. They allow you to share your unique personality. Whether you develop inventory videos for your website, or personalized videos destined for a specific person, take advantage of this opportunity to connect with your customers online. Create a lasting and memorable impression.

Think about perhaps finding the fun, creative people in your dealership and let them do a little outside-the-box thinking. Yeah you’ll probably have to nix a few of the crazier ideas. But I bet you get some great stuff out of it. Consider stepping outside the box a bit and share what is unique and different about your dealership. I am willing to bet you will notice the difference in customer response.

Building Rapport Before the Lead Is the Way to Win the Sale

By Tim James

In my last blog article, I discussed the importance of building rapport with leads through the use of “Why Buy From Me” and “Lead Response” videos personalized for each customer. Now I would like to take this one step further — Building rapport should in fact start much earlier than simply upon the receipt of a lead.

Think about the first contact a customer has with your dealership. Chances are good that they either went to your website, or found a vehicle that matched their interest on a third party site. At this point, detailed descriptions, images and video walkarounds can certainly make your vehicle stand out from the others. But how about further increasing the probability that the customer chooses to deal with you over any competition? How about building trust and rapport at this first entry point instead of waiting for them to put in their personal information and enter your CRM as a lead?

Just as you can integrate video walkarounds of the vehicle on VDP pages, you can also integrate your “Why Buy From Us” or “Why Buy From Me” videos into your vehicle display pages, as well as your most visited page on your website – your homepage. Sell The Dealership, Sell Yourself, Sell The Car…This simple rule can have a significant impact on the number of shoppers who see your online advertisements and ultimately trust you enough to reach out to you and inquire about a vehicle. And a HUGE impact on your sales once the customer arrives on your lot.

These actions help to build rapport and establish trust prior to receiving a lead, making the process of contacting the customer and engaging them that much easier when you do receive a lead. The fact is that you can build so much likeability and trust with a shopper that they decide that “you” are the dealership or sales person that they want to do business with, even before they have landed on a specific vehicle. You will even have shoppers who call you, email you, or even just show up at your dealership, without having settled on an exact vehicle, simply because they like and trust your dealership, or one of your salespeople. They thus reach out to you to help them find the right vehicle. Combine the above actions with walkaround videos and personalized video e-mails and you’ll find it much easier to win over a customer, leaving your competition in the dust.

Start creating rapport at the first touch-point, otherwise you could find yourself competing with four other dealers for the potential customer’s attention. A successful sales career is all about building relationships. The earlier in the car buying process that you can accomplish this, the easier it will be to engage a customer, more customers will show up for test drives, and you will haggle significantly less over price. You will get more sales and higher gross, because you are the good guys and the shopper wants to do business with YOU!

Can Anybody Find Me Somebody To Love?

By Tim James

That classic line from the song “Somebody to Love” by legendary band, Queen epitomizes the destination for consumers and the goal of all salespeople. There’s not a doubt in my mind that you’ve heard the phrase “People buy from people they like.” In the past, a consumer had to come into a dealership to start the car shopping process. This is where the important skill of “building rapport” came into play for salespeople. Great salespeople learned quickly how to find common interests and develop relationships with their clients, while assisting them to find the right vehicle.

Fast forward to today. Consumers now have the option of car shopping anonymously. Dealership Internet and BDC departments are inundated with leads arriving from countless sources. Consumers chose to share some or all of their information after narrowing down their online research. They’ve engaged with you to some degree and have given you the opportunity to earn their business. You must remember, however, that to the consumer, you are only a car dealership. Chances are also good that you are not the only car dealership who they (or a third party) has given this opportunity to. All dealerships have auto-responders and the standard “Why Buy From Us” email templates are sent to leads pretty quickly. Because the consumer is inundated with these templates, they are meaningless.

The fact is that people buy from people they like. So, how do you make that emotional connection with a lead? It’s certainly not through e-mail templates.

Consumers like to be treated as if they are special. They can smell an e-mail template before it even hits their in-box. While it’s fine to tell your dealership’s story, don’t forget the importance of building rapport — it will go a long way towards winning the sale.

Highly successful dealers have started sending out individualized “Why Buy From Me” type videos in their e-mails. These videos are personalized to each and every customer. These are not just a homogenized blanket “one size fits all” type of message. The reason this works is because of a very simple concept known to salespeople. By saying someone’s name, you recognize them as a person… and individual. No longer is your video message “My name is Tim. And I would like to earn your business… Mr. Blank.”

Instead the message is directed to the individual as … “My name is Tim and I want to earn YOUR business, Mr. Smith.” — That’s a very different message.

What do you do if you see someone you know walking nearby, but out of reach? You yell out their name! Why? Because it gets their attention! And that’s exactly what personalized video responses accomplish.

The bottom line is that the possible touch points on the consumer’s online car shopping path are increasing at an incredibly rapid pace, almost daily. It is becoming more and more difficult to stand out and claim a customer’s attention. This very simple technique can make your interactions more personal and help to gain the customer’s attention. I am sure you will find that more people appreciate, respond and give you the opportunity to earn their business.

After all, we all simply want to find somebody to love. Make sure that somebody is you.

Sell the Car, Not the Price

by Tim James

Ever since the first car dealership opened, dealers have understood the emotional impact of “the walkaround.” As consumers move through the buying cycle, they get to a point where they don’t just want, but need to experience a vehicle that they are interested in. In the past, most consumers would visit the dealership in the evenings, when the lot was closed to avoid “being sold.” But driven by their need to experience the vehicle in person, they still came, day and night.

Well, believe it not, nothing has changed! Consumers still have an uncontrollable need to experience a vehicle first hand as they move through the buying cycle. The only difference is that the initial experience takes place online via a Vehicle’s Detail Pages (VDP Pages). Imagine, however, if a dealer could put one of their vehicles (or their entire inventory) in every mall, venue and every other busy consumer traffic area in their PMA, at no additional cost. Now image if they could have a salesperson at each and every location to talk to customers 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

While placing a vehicle and a salesperson everywhere in the physical world isn’t practical for dealers, it’s absolutely possible in the digital world. In this age of online shopping, one of the most important assets that any dealer has is their inventory’s VDP. Chances are very good that car buyers who land on a dealer’s vehicle display page are very close to buying. Every vehicle in their inventory should thus be displayed to its best advantage, and on as many potential touch-points that a car buyer is likely to visit as possible.

Let’s face it. Most of your in-stock vehicles are competing for consumer interest. Many dealers choose to attract consumers via low prices, sacrificing profit for the sale. Smart dealers understand that high quality, visually appealing inventory marketing will get a shopper emotionally attached to a vehicle. It will motivate that shopper to want to visit their store to test drive “their” car long before any “price” motivation will. The fact is, once a shopper begins forming an emotional attachment to a vehicle, you no longer have to be the lowest price to motivate the shopper to visit your store.

Nothing can generate a higher level of emotional attachment than a quality video presentation of your inventory, nothing. The best part of the equation is that your shoppers actually want to see videos of the vehicles they are considering. In fact, video content is quickly becoming the media of choice for consumers. 85% of automotive shoppers stated that they watched a video of a vehicle during their car buying experience, and half of them (49%) take action immediately after watching. While dealers are sure to have nice websites, great pictures of vehicles, attractive newspaper ads with calls-to-action, many neglect the fastest growing type of marketing (and the type of marketing that will have the biggest emotional impact) – video.

Think about it like this, your online advertising should be focused on motivating a shopper to “visit your dealership”, not “buy a vehicle”. Price based motivation is asking the shopper to commit to a purchase before they’ve ever even visited your store or test driven the vehicle. Meanwhile, a video’s power is inherent in its ability to involve multiple senses when displaying the vehicle to an online car shopper. Having high-quality videos will allow shoppers to experience your inventory at the highest level possible online, making it more likely for a shopper to become emotionally attached to a vehicle and have an uncontrollable need to visit your dealership to take a test drive.

Having the ability to then place that video on multiple touch-points throughout the buying cycle increases the odds that the consumer finds, views and chooses your vehicle over your competitor’s, regardless of whether it’s the lowest price.

Improve the quality of your inventory marketing to potential customers and you will see more interest, higher conversion, more profit per sale and a faster turn rate. Sell the car, not the price.

Paint Your Way to Increased Profits

by Tim James

As a sales and marketing professional, you probably learned a long time ago that the best way to present your products is by using words that paint a picture. Not just any picture, a picture that puts each shopper in the picture; helps them visualize owning your product; and then mentally experience the emotional pleasure that results from that ownership.

Painting the right picture is crucial for any type of sales. At dealerships, effective salespeople utilize this technique to help the customer visualize driving that new car on a road trip; how comfortable they’ll feel during the trip; how safe they’ll feel on the road and the peace of mind they’ll have knowing that their car will function properly the whole way.

Painting pictures is even more important when dealing with customers you can’t engage with physically, such as online shoppers. Your vehicles are competing with thousands of others for the attention of the shopper. Over the years, inventory marketing has progressed as dealers have increasingly made efforts to better stand out. There was a time when many dealers didn’t even have pictures of their vehicles online. However, it has now become standard as over time, dealers have realized that including pictures increases sales and inquiries. Once everyone started doing this, progressive dealers realized that having MORE pictures made their vehicles stand out from their competition even more. Many dealerships consistently now average 30+ photos of a single vehicle in their marketing. Well-written descriptions have also become important selling points as they personalize the vehicle for the customer. These descriptions can also paint a fairly decent picture to get the reader emotionally committed to the story.

As powerful as good photos and a well-written description are, they pale in comparison to the informational and emotional power of video.

In fact, according to a recent article in TechJournal, Forrester Research reported that one minute of video was worth 1.8 million words. Imagine the emotional commitment you can generate for your inventory! Here are some other statistics shared in that article:

  • Video in email marketing can increase click-through rates by over 96%
  • Opt outs from subscribers were reduced by 75% due to video content in email marketing.
  • Video appears in around 70% of the top Google listings.
  • People who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy.

Customers don’t have the time to visit every dealer that has a 2012 Honda Civic in stock. If your vehicle doesn’t paint a picture that gets a shopper emotionally committed, chances are your vehicles are simply caught in a price or distance filter. Painting pictures, on the other hand, personalizes the vehicle and makes it stand out. Customers want to hear the story of a vehicle. Why do you think vehicle history reports are increasingly popular for consumers? They tell a vehicle’s story.

People process stories in a different way than facts and figures. Successful salespeople avoid catering solely to the analytical side of people, as that’s the part that will tell them that they should buy the least expensive vehicle. You want the customer to involve their emotions in their decision-making. That’s the part that will convince them that they should do it now. That’s when they visualize themselves as owners, not shoppers. Not just owners of ANY car, owners of THIS car…THEIR car.

By utilizing videos for your inventory, you’ll create a better experience for your shoppers resulting in more shoppers taking mental ownership of your inventory, and will hold more gross in the process. Everybody wins.