Lights, Camera, Sold: Drive More Sales With Video Demonstrations

From Joe Webb’s perspective, moving more metal with your online advertising begins with moving the metal. “If you’re not using video with your listings,” the president of DealerKnows Consulting says, “you’re not giving the full picture. Photos alone can’t capture the experience of what the vehicle will be like to own and operate or tell buyers why they should purchase from you.” For dealers who want to step up their merchandising with video, Webb offers three tips.   

1. Put Shoppers in the Car

An effective video allows your customers to take a virtual test drive and appeals to four of their five senses, Webb says. “While the vehicle’s taste isn’t a factor,” he quips, “you can describe for them the supple feel of the leather seating, the clean, smoke-free smell of the interior.”

For prospects’ eyes and ears, demonstrate the standard equipment, optional accessories, safety features, powertrain and condition – inside and out. Earn credibility by calling attention to any problem areas.

“Let them see the car’s exemplary features and show them working. If there’s a moon roof, open and close it so customers see it’s functioning,” Webb says. “Let them hear the engine, how quiet it is – or, if it’s a sports car, how loud it is. You really want to put them in the driver’s seat.”

2. Sell Your Value

With each video demonstration, Webb suggests including a brief personal introduction and an overview of the dealership. Discuss your experience and commitment to customer satisfaction. Emphasize the store’s strengths; for example, the wide selection or convenient location.

“The key thing is that the salesperson (or a manager) is included so you get a sense of the dealership from the video – more so than just the car,” Webb says. “Customers want to know there’s somebody who’s going to go above and beyond to please them and assist them. They want to know: Is that the right car for me and, more importantly, is that the right dealership for me?”

3. Set the Right Tone

When presenting vehicles, Webb recommends taking a friendly, straightforward route. While this approach limits your videos’ viral possibilities, it establishes your professionalism and eliminates the risk of trying to be clever or funny. 

“If you can’t do it, don’t push it,” he says. “Humor is very subjective, and you can turn off just as many customers as you can turn on with it.”

At Conklin Cars, marketing director Brad Dinwiddie added video to the central Kansas dealer group’s online advertising arsenal last fall. In addition to using the clips on the stores’ websites, he also includes them on his YouTube channel. He believes the videos set his dealerships apart from competitors who haven’t yet adopted it and engage shoppers at a deeper level.

“Videos allow us to give a complete demonstration of our vehicles and put our managers in front of the customer via the web,” Dinwiddie said. “We find that potential customers will call and ask directly for the manager shown in the video.”

To control costs, Dinwiddie recruited the inventory manager at each of Conklin’s three facilities to record a walk-around demonstration by the used-car or –truck manager and uses an in-house production team. He purchased the equipment – camera, tripod and wireless microphone – from a nearby big-box department store for $300 per location. Start to finish, each video takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

“You don’t need to break the bank to achieve professional results or take your sales staff away from working deals,” Dinwiddie said. “This started as a limited experiment, but we were pleased enough with the results to justify expanding it to every used car we offer.”

Additional Resources

Looking for additional tips you can implement in your store today to drive more traffic with your online advertising and desk more deals with your internet sales processes? Check out Cars.com’s DealerCenter. Here, you can access our DealerADvantage blog or archived recordings from our DealerADvantage LIVE webinar series. 

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