You post all of your inventory to the web, but is it working as hard as it can to help you move cars off the lot? If you’re not paying attention to details in your sell copy, you may be leaving business on the table. Buyers will often pass by incomplete listings, moving on to those ads that tell them the car’s complete story.

We often see vehicles posted with little or no information about the vehicle, its unique features or its history. In the age of automation, we have a tendency to rely on the VIN exploder to give buyers the details, but there is so much more you can do to make your vehicles stand out from the pack and to encourage buyers to take the next step of contacting your dealership.

Look at it from the buyer’s perspective. If an ad provided you with little more than a phone number, would you call to find out more? Chances are, you’d move on to the next car in the listings.

Some dealers use this approach because they believe they have a greater chance of setting an appointment once they get the car buyer on the phone. While it may, in fact, be easier to get an appointment once you have the buyer on the line, you first must give them reason to call. If you have not given them any information to make your car unique from the others in the listings, why should they call you? Would you run a classified liner with nothing more than your phone number?

The beauty of online listings compared to print liners is that they give you the ability to provide all the vehicle’s details. It’s up to you to take advantage of the space to capture more buyers.

To demonstrate how critical a complete vehicle description is to attracting a buyer, and how frustrating a lack details can be, here are two very different, real-world examples of seller’s notes.

Good Seller’s Notes
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Bad Seller’s Notes

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Now, let’s take a closer look at why more information makes for good seller’s notes, and some tips to give you a better chance of selling your vehicle.

1. The More You Tell, the More You Sell
Increase the effectiveness of your online ad by describing in detail what makes the car special — everything from engine specifics to interior and exterior condition and styling. You can even use your seller’s notes to highlight unique features such as custom wheels, aftermarket accessories and warranty packages.

Still, many cars on the market could share these special features. To set your car apart, offer more details about the car’s history such as:

  • Ownership: Only one previous owner
  • Service history available
  • Driven by non-smoker

2. Give the Buyer a Reason to Do Business with Your Dealership
Beyond the car, share details about your dealership. Include information about your community involvement, service reputation, customer satisfaction ratings or other details that give the buyer a feeling of what it means to do business with your establishment.

3. Offer Incentives
As an incentive to buyers and to better track the effectiveness of your online advertising, you may want to include a special offer:

  • “Free oil change with a test drive”
  • “$200 off when you present this printed ad”

4. Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation Count
Time for a Spell Check:
When writing your seller’s notes, we recommend that you type your notes in a word processing program that can check for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation as you type, such as Microsoft Word. Keep in mind, these programs don’t catch all mistakes. You’ll want to be extra careful with words such as “here” and “hear” and “too” and “to.” Ideally, have a colleague proofread what you’ve written before you cut-and-paste the information into your online listing.

No Need to Shout: We recommend using standard capitalization in your ads as opposed to all capital letters. Many shoppers equate all capital letters with shouting. The same is true of exclamation points — use them where they count, unless the car is free to the first caller, one exclamation point should be enough to end any sentence and show excitement.

Why It’s Important: Spelling, grammar and punctuation matter because you’re trying both to sell a car and to create a favorable impression of your store. A car often represents the second-largest investment people make, and they want to do business with a high quality establishment. How you present yourself through language contributes to this impression.

5. Include Trackable Contact Details
While you may be tempted to add your main number to your seller’s notes, this can override your ability to effectively track your ad’s performance. Many third-party listing service providers include a toll-free phone number that you can use with your ads to encourage phone-ups. Including additional phone numbers in your ad may seem like you’re making it more convenient for car shoppers to reach you, but it can also confuse them. How will they know which number is the right one to dial?

At the same time, you eliminate the ability to properly track how much traffic each of your listing services drives to your store. If a car shopper looking at your Cars.com ad calls the phone number that you also use on your billboard or direct mail pieces, how will you decide which medium is the most effective?

Seller’s notes play an integral part of the sales process. Not only do they help the car buyer understand the value of the vehicle you’re selling, but they also help the shopper understand the value of buying from you. Follow these tips, and your seller’s notes will do a lot of the selling work for you. Customers will know more about the car before they call, and chances are good that they already will have fallen in love with it. Instead of answering routine questions about the car’s features and condition, you’ll be talking with a highly qualified buyer who just needs that little extra push — that you can provide — to schedule the appointment and close the deal.