At a dealership, it’s important to establish customer trust on two different levels; trust in your dealership brand and trust in your individual employees, because they are the front-line representation of your brand.
Videos are an ideal medium for building that trust. Videos bring your dealership brand and your employees to life, making it easy to convey your values, expertise, and professionalism.
To build customer trust, create four types of videos and post them on your website, social media platforms, and use them in your email marketing.
Inventory and Walkaround Videos
Credibility builds trust, and the key to being credible as a salesperson is product knowledge.
Most Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) I see on dealer websites are pretty standard. They include photos and a basic description. They’re great for displaying your products, but they do little to display your product knowledge.
Take your inventory videos up a notch by creating walkaround videos with personalized voiceovers. Use these voiceovers as an opportunity to display your product knowledge.
Most salespeople have a good sense of what car shoppers like about a particular make or model. Don’t just explain what features a vehicle has; explain why those features are so important.
Value Proposition Video
Value proposition videos help to build trust because they share your dealership’s story without trying to sell the customer. I recommend creating several value proposition videos, including:
Sales: how you treat your customers, the experience they can expect
Service: expertise matters, the importance of vehicle care
Your dealership’s story and history
Highlight your community involvement
Dealership mission statement and core values
The reason why you should make more than one is because each video should be approximately one to three minutes in length and you want a chance to go in-depth with each one.
Staff Introduction Videos
Think about the managers and sales team in your dealership. You hired them for a reason. Most dealership employees I meet are likeable, professional, and well spoken. Videos can make all these qualities shine, much more so that a static photo and description.
Take the time to create staff introduction videos for your sales and service teams, including managers. Have your employees follow this format:
Introduce themselves with their name and position
Give a 30-second summary of their career experience
List credentials or certifications (especially service techs), and any awards they have won
Explain why they’re passionate about what they do and/or working at your dealership
Share a personal anecdote; this could be a favorite sports team or hobby or a statement about how important their family is to them
These videos don’t have to be perfect; in fact, imperfection can be endearing. However, your employees must appear professional and energetic, so schedule the video shoots accordingly. The ideal time may be in the morning right after a cup of coffee.
Nothing builds credibility like having someone else sing your praises. You can never have too many customer testimonials, so build “the ask” into your sales and service processes.
Whenever you make a sale or complete a service appointment, ask your customers if they’re willing to give a quick testimonial—assuming they had a positive experience, of course. Have your camera equipment set up and ready to go.
To make it as easy as possible for your customers, ask specific questions such as “Would you recommend us to your friends and why?” and “What did you like most about your experience today?”
Not everyone will want to go on camera, but you’d be surprised how many customers will do it if they are asked.
Building customer trust is essential to creating loyal customers and repeat customers, so it’s worth a little extra effort. Try using these four types of videos to build instant trust and credibility with your sales and service prospects.
The popularity of inventory walkaround videos has grown, and I love seeing it. What I don’t understand is this—why aren’t those same videos on your website, AutoTrader, Cars.com—all the other touchpoints that you are paying money to market your inventory, and where “in-market” shoppers are looking?
The reason you are taking the time to walk out to the car, complete your walkaround, and upload your video to Facebook is that you know people on Facebook will love the video and want to come down to your store and see the car for themselves. Isn’t that your goal with your website and ALL your online marketing touchpoints? That is called Merchandising. But your Merchandising strategy should be to have the BEST, most emotional presentation for your inventory…on every touchpoint where you show it.
Many dealerships are attempting to evolve their business model to compete with online disruptors such as Carvana. Did you know that Carvana attributes much of its success to how it merchandises its cars?
A great quote that resonates with me and covers this subject well is from Ernie Garcia… the CEO of Carvana. He stated, “The number one reason always given why cars couldn’t be sold online was that people needed a test drive. We said is there a way to use technology to let a customer take themselves through the whole experience? Is there a way we can merchandize the car where they can experience it online and get as good a feel for what the car is about as if they would have got it in person?”
Right from the beginning, Carvana knew that if they were going to get a shopper to purchase a vehicle without test driving it, they had to merchandise at a strong enough level that the shopper would get emotionally attached to the vehicle online…and want to buy it…without test driving. Shouldn’t that be your goal as well, not just on Facebook, but on your website and all of your online touchpoints?
The good news is that today’s technology will let you shoot one walkaround video, post that video to your website and numerous online marketing partners, create an interactive 360 spin, and post the video to Facebook…all with one video and one-click to upload.
You can even extract your still images from that video and re-use that video over and over to send personalized walkarounds to your leads, all from the comfort of your office, so you don’t have to worry about it raining, snowing, being crazy hot, etc.
So, what are you waiting for?. It’s time to jump on the inventory video bandwagon and offer your customer a better experience on your website and all of your other online marketing touchpoints too (not just Facebook). Do this before the disruptors and other forward-thinking dealers eat your customers for lunch!
I’m presenting at Digital Dealer Tampa 2022 and hope that you’ll join me for my session, “Increase Service Revenue by Bringing Video to Your Service Department.” This session will give you best practices and actionable insights to utilize a video strategy in your service department to create a transparent customer experience and increase sales.
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.
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.
With all the worry and concern out there regarding the Coronavirus and the impact it will have on public health and business, this is a great time to talk about video communication. It has always been the perfect tool for connecting with consumers without having to be fact-to-face.
To be really effective your video communication platform should integrate New Model Test Drive videos, Inventory Videos, Video Calling, and Real-Time Notifications.
Google estimates that approximately 70% of all automotive shoppers are searching for New Model Review Videos early in the buying cycle. Stand out from the competition by offering shoppers video content, rather than the standard pictures found on common dealership websites. Using the right platform, it is easy to add New Model Review Videos to your website and deliver information in an emotional video presentation for those customers that prefer not to visit a showroom, and still effectively move them through the buying funnel.
Automated Inventory Videos are also proven to transfer more information and inspire more emotion from your VDP Pages than pictures or words alone. They are a great addition to internet and phone lead follow up.
Another critical tool that can win over car shoppers is New Model Test Drive Videos and Full Motion Walkaround Videos. These types of videos are great for car shoppers early in the shopping journey. Inventory videos are then the next logical touchpoint.
During a time when fewer people will chose to visit the showroom, wouldn’t it be nice to know if your leads are still shopping or not? They may not be coming into the dealership, or returning your calls, but what are these folks stuck at home actually doing?
Our platform offers real-time notifications and sends an alert every time one of your prospects is live and watches one of your inventory videos – whether on your website, AutoTrader,Cars.com, or other third-party marketplaces. You then know exactly when you should attempt to contact them. Even if you cannot reach them at that moment, you can see exactly how active that prospect still is.
Speaking of lead management, one of the easiest ways to increase shopper interaction and convert more website traffic into on-the-lot shoppers is to enable your shoppers to talk to one of your professionals “live” from the comfort and safety of their own home. Live Video Communication is quickly becoming the preferred means of communication.
You can increase the humanization and personalization of your communication touchpoints dramatically in both sales and service by utilizing live video and texting. Live communications make it easy right from that start, and you can scale your video calling strategy throughout your entire dealership, regardless of size. Encourage your customers to video call you and get that face-to-face interaction without actually being face-to-face – something that would certainly appeal to car shoppers nervous about coming into the dealership.
If customers are spending more time at home, they probably have more time to shop online. Provide stimulating and emotional product information to keep your dealership top-of-mind not just now – but in the future once life returns to normal.
In this period of social distancing, video can help your dealership continue to respond to and communicate with car shoppers while moving them down the sales funnel while your competition is waiting.
As more dealers turn to fixed ops to grow profits, it’s important not to overlook the power of video. Video is a great tool for building customer trust because it allows you to address the perception that dealerships charge too much or try to sell customers unnecessary repairs.
An effective video marketing strategy for your service department includes the following five videos:
1) Value Proposition. This video answers the “why trust us?” question. Many customers are afraid if they bring their vehicle into a dealership service department, the repair will be expensive or they will be taken advantage of.
In this video, address your customers’ fears by featuring friendly service personnel, focus on how your technicians are trained, the quality of your repair work and most of all, emphasize your trustworthiness. Be certain to mention any awards you’ve won and your positive BBB Rating.
2) Service Department Testimonials. Identify several of your most loyal service customers and offer them an extra perk like a free loaner car or free oil change if they agree to make a customer testimonial video.
Before shooting the video, prompt your customer to talk about how long they’ve been servicing with you, what they like about your service department and to comment on the quality of the repair work.
3) Service Personnel Introduction. Similar in tone to a value proposition video, this video introduces the service manager, service advisors and technicians to customers. People choose to do business with people they like, so create videos that display the likeability of your manager, advisers and technicians. Don’t be afraid to brag about their years of experience and awards they’ve won.
4) Service Department “How To.” Select a dozen of your most common and profitable services. Create videos that talk about why these services are important for the health of the vehicle and customer safety. Show a quick tutorial of the work involved with the repair. Discuss the costs of parts and the estimated amount of time it takes to complete the service. The purpose of these videos is to educate customers so they feel more confident they are making the right decision to get the repair work done.
5) Recommended Repairs. When customers drop their cars off for a scheduled repair, one of their biggest fears is an unnecessary upsell. Unfortunately this fear can create resistance to any repair recommendations. A short video created by the service adviser can help to alleviate this fear and provide visual proof that a repair is really needed.
Videos are far more effective at doing this than photos because the service adviser can explain how the old part is worn and compare it to the new part, along with an explanation of how important it is to get the repair done now.
Additionally, advisers can mention the potential impact and cost of related problems that could be caused by not completing the service now.
Recommended repair videos don’t have to be professional. Just use your smartphone with an app that allows you to text the video to the customer. Another option is to have a live streaming video call where the service advisor can show the worn part and explain the repair while talking to the customer live on their smartphone.
All service department videos (with the exception of recommended repair videos) should be featured on your dealership’s website. Additionally, these videos can be used in email campaigns, uploaded to your YouTube channel, featured on your social media profiles and used in digital advertising campaigns.
To get started, find a reputable video marketing host and hire a professional video crew (or find one among your employees). Service department videos are an inexpensive and highly effective way to build customer trust and give your dealerships a competitive edge.