By Ted Dupuy, National Accounts at Flick Fusion Video Marketing.
Attention all auto dealers: If you are looking to increase your bottom line in 2017 by saving your way into a profit…stop offering test drives. The costs associated with customer’s test driving your inventory can be astronomical, from the fuel to the insurance.
Understanding that a test drive is the No. 1 way to create psychological ownership with your customer when they are in your dealership, it in fact costs money that you can save.
For the franchise dealers, with regards to your new inventory (which I am sure that your OEM gives you money to fill with fuel) I would encourage you to test drive those vehicles until that fuel is used up and then just park it on the back lot. After all, you have a lot of inventory, so when you have a customer who is interested in a specific vehicle, just have them test drive the next closest model choice that has the most gas in it. Your sales staff is good; they should be able to sell the differences without having the customer actually “test drive it.”
Independent dealers and those franchised used car departments who are still insistent on offering test drives, have the previous owner trade it in with a full tank of gas. It is the same business model that car rental places employ. Sales may go down initially but you will save a lot of money and you will be able to offer the next customer an almost full tank of gas with purchase.
If you think that my above rationale is ridiculous, you would be right — it is. Keep test driving your inventory.
When it comes to the cost of implementing inventory and value proposition videos — the No. 1 way to create psychological ownership with your customer when they are on your Website, your “virtual dealership” — it should be viewed no differently than you do the cost of fuel for a test drive.
Technological advances have made implementing video on your Website ridiculously inexpensive. Whether you have an in-house process when it comes to merchandizing your inventory or you utilize the expertise of a lot service, adding video with either in most cases is less than what it costs your dealership to provide coffee in your waiting room on a monthly basis. Yes, it costs less than coffee —now that is ridiculous.
Wondering where to start? Here is a proven strategy:
Again, having a customer take a test drive is the most opportune time for the customer to take psychological ownership of the vehicle you have to offer. Keep doing them. According to a November 2015 study by Google, 69 percent of customers rely on video to influence their purchasing decision — having great video content on your Website and your VDP is imperative. Implementing a video strategy results in more walk-ins, more phone calls, more test drives and more sales.
If you truly believe your dealership is saving money by not implementing a video strategy, then be fully committed to saving money — stop doing test drives.