The buying experience has completely changed in the automotive industry. Customers want more - more information, more personality, more value. With so much competition, dealerships have to find a new way to deliver more than just a vehicle to their customers. But, before closing those deals, there are many other factors that need to be met in order to achieve that goal.
According to an Autotrader study about the future of automotive marketing trends, 88% of prospective buyers use the Internet for their research, searching for content on which car would suit their needs most, the best deals available for their budget, or to read customer reviews; all to narrow down where they go to buy their next vehicle and when.
Video is a great way to communicate with, and engage, prospects and leads. When compared to text-based communication, video is a much more compelling and engaging way to communicate with customers. In most cases, responding to a lead is the first opportunity to make an impact. Knowing that every fourth customer would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, puts the customer-salesperson relationship into another perspective. So, how does communication via video towards potential clients look like?
Sending an introduction video to leads increases the chances of that lead walking into your store and purchasing a vehicle from you. To clarify, these videos are not a result of massive production. On the contrary, these are very easy, one-off videos that anybody can create. All that is needed is a web camera or a mobile phone. When recording an introduction video for a particular customer, always start with the customer’s name. This way, you add a personal touch to your message and, let’s not forget, people buy from people they trust.
An introduction video should stay under 45 seconds. Say their name, thank them for their interest, and give them the information they need. Also, compliment the customer for choosing your dealership, their vehicle selection or even the timing of their contact. Invite them to come over and see the vehicles in person and let them know you are here if they need any assistance. With this type of video, your leads will be able to put a face to your name and start to feel like they know you. This is the first crucial step for many dealerships in increasing their sales results.
Vehicle walkaround video
Another example of how dealerships can respond to new leads with video is a vehicle walkaround. It is much more personal, engaging and informative to receive such a video as opposed to the typical response dealerships send to their potential buyers. The vehicle walkaround video can be recorded with a smartphone and easily sent to customers. Vehicle walkaround videos help in showing, instead of telling or writing, why that particular vehicle is the best choice for the customer.
When selling cars, the most important thing is a good presentation of the vehicle, especially if it is pre-owned. Save customer’s time by sending a video instead of waiting for them to show up to your store and spend hours walking around to find the perfect fit for them. If you’ve already set up the appointment with your customer in the previous video, this one should be 30 – 60 seconds long. However, when a customer is interested in buying his car online, the video should be a little longer (1 – 3 minutes) and contain a lot of condition details to help the customer decide.
‘Set up an appointment’ video
When setting up an appointment with the potential buyer via video, follow the simple rule: Less is more. In other words, the video needs to be shorter than all the previous ones. Why? Things are getting pretty serious now, and the customer needs specific information in order to purchase the vehicle. Once again, greet them by their name and mention this particular vehicle they are interested in. Hold up the keys next to the vehicle and tell the customer everything is ready for that last step.
After giving them the vehicle information, remind them of the appointment time and assume in the video that they are going to show up. Let them know you are looking forward to meeting them and that you are here to help if they still have any questions. This video should be the same length as the introduction video (under 45 seconds) because you don’t want to bother customers too much in this phase. They already have most of the information that will help them make their purchase decision. With this video, customers should feel welcome to come to your dealership and let them know you’re waiting for them. Video increases true appointment sets and decreases appointment no-show because potential buyers feel more comfortable knowing who to look for.
Customer’s perspective on video
According to Think with Google, the top types of videos car buyers watch include test drives, specs and features videos, as well as vehicle interior and exterior walkthroughs. To create a good video message, the focus has to be on the customer’s needs and wishes. Customers want a sales representative who will guide them through the whole sales process and turn that process into a great customer experience.
A survey by Millward Brown Digital showed that shoppers are taking action after watching a video. In other words, after watching a video, people used a computer to find more information (61%), visited a dealer (49%), searched dealer inventory (37%) and talked to their friends and family (33%). These numbers will only be higher in the future. One thing is certain, video is transforming the automotive industry, as well as the car buying experience.
Personalized communication adds quality to the customer-salesperson relationship and unquestionably increases the chances of selling vehicles. After all, today’s customers are researchers seeking information before stepping foot into the dealership. Make sure you’re showing them what they need instead of telling them.
About the author:
Katie Folz is the Automotive Account Manager at Covideo, a company that provides video solutions for businesses worldwide. She is in charge of helping dealerships learn about video and how they can implement Covideo to sell more cars and deliver a better customer experience. Up until now, she has worked with hundreds of dealerships across the country who are now passionate video users.