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Many dealers rely on lot services and/or in-house employees to crank out hundreds of photos of new vehicle acquisitions. Of course, the larger your inventory and acquisition pace, the harder it is to keep up with.
Technology does make it easier today. However, there can be challenges as follows:
1. Your lot service probably comes once, or maybe twice a week, depending on your intake volume. This could mean as many as seven days in between visits. This leaves vehicles in inventory for an entire week with no images on your website or third-party sites.
2. If you’re doing it in-house, and you’re a small dealership with a dedicated person, you may be okay if you ensure that your process starts with at least one photo and ends with multiple photos and video. However, the larger you get, the harder it is to keep that chain of events going.
No matter which scenario fits your situation, the length of time between vehicle acquisition and images posted online absolutely affects your average turn rate. Consumers shopping for vehicles have many choices, no matter which vehicle you’re selling (unless it’s unique or hard-to-get). And, most consumers want visuals of a vehicle before contacting your dealership or coming to see the vehicle in person.
If your dealership is having trouble keeping up with vehicle merchandising imagery, this tip may be something to consider: Incentivize your salespeople to help.
OK, I can see the wheels turning and you’re are probably thinking something like, “Whoa, wait. Why would I want to pay my salespeople to take pictures and videos of vehicles?”
If you haven’t noticed, there are many salespeople already taking pictures and videos in the name of self-branding. They’re taking those video walk-arounds, posting them to social media sites and sharing to create interest. While I’m not suggesting paying additional wages, what if you offer any salespeople who opt-in the opportunity to promote themselves in those videos?
For example: “Hi, I’m Mike from XYZ Motors and I’d like to show you this vehicle… (does walk-around) … If you’re interested in this vehicle, please contact me at (phone number/email) and I’d be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.” This creates exposure for not only the vehicles and your dealership, but also gives your salespeople a chance to promote themselves and begin creating relationships with potential customers. Shoppers will be able to relate your brand and dealership with a friendly face when they walk through your doors.
I bet most of your sales people hate cold-calling and following up with 6-month old leads and end up watching the lot for potential customers most of the day. Well, try offering them a chance to take pictures and video of a vehicle in exchange for personally branding these videos. In effect, they can use these videos to ask the customer to personally come and see them. This practice increases the likelihood that the interested VDP viewer asks for that salesperson and, hopefully, they then earn a commission through a sale.
This practice could easily get your salespeople scrambling for a turn at taking pictures and videos. After they take the images and video, you simply upload them to your inventory feed service and voila! -- you have imagery available faster, the salespeople have an increased opportunity to sell vehicles, and your turn rate increases. Sounds like a win-win to me!