Humans are by their very nature social. We’ve lost a lot of that over the past few years during the pandemic. Zoom and other services became integral to continuing business through remote working and collaboration. Because of that, people have grown accustomed to live video calling for collaboration and communication. Many companies are implementing or have already implemented remote working as an option. These workers are your customers. They may be wearing shorts under their desk while on a live call with co-workers, but they are still spending money… and want to.
Live communication as a preference is not going to change. People want to talk to people… in real-time. Videos on VDPs are a great way to move people down the sales funnel, but live video walkarounds and conversations build rapport and motivate potential buyers to choose your dealership over your competition.
Think about how popular Facetime has become. It began as a novelty and has exploded into normality for many people who use it for almost every call. Using a service that offers the features and capabilities of Facetime, especially if it doesn’t require any downloads on the shopper’s end, is invaluable. Not just for the ease of access and being able to have a video call with anyone, no matter if they are “Apple” or “Android,” but because of the data you can get. Those conversations are preserved. Important metrics can be monitored. Interactions can be tracked. And your dealership can follow up with consumers who raised their hands in a relevant manner.
Shopping online is, for the most part, very impersonal. Consumers can research products, read reviews and, perhaps, communicate through emails or social media messages. Buying a car, however, is very different from buying a new toaster. It is the second-largest expense – outside of buying a home – that the average consumer will make in their lives. So, you should not be selling cars online like you would sell a toaster.
Most automotive sales professionals that I know are GREAT at selling in person. They are extremely skilled at reading their customer’s body language and non-verbal cues. Their interpersonal communication skills are incredible, and in-person (face-to-face) sales are where they are at their best and how they prefer to “sell” versus emails, text messages, or phone calls. Interpersonal communication is what builds relationships and transfers information (and emotion) between humans, and it consists of both verbal and non-verbal cues. If you only have pictures and text on a screen, you aren’t going to transfer information, build relationships and inspire emotion as effectively as if you send a video message or share a live video call with someone.
According to an article in Entrepreneur, the live streaming market could expand to over $248 million by 2027. That’s not too far off. Getting a butt in the seat and getting a customer to take emotional ownership of a car is at the core of the basic steps to a sale. Well, it gets much more difficult if that customer is not on your lot. They still want to kick tires, experience that new car smell, and drive it… but you have to get them to that point first. Digital retailing is great and all, but it only takes customers down the buying journey until they are no longer comfortable.
With live video, customers can be put at ease even more so than talking on the phone. They are communicating in a way that is much more familiar to them, where they can see your face and pick up on those verbal and nonverbal cues. On top of that, there is a quicker and more thorough transfer of information: they can see the car, ask questions on the spot live, and get acquainted with the salesperson all at the same time.
For those dealerships who aren’t using live video in some way, I can tell you that many others are. Don’t lose sales because your dealership can’t communicate with customers in the way they have been communicating with EVERYONE else for the past few years (and for who knows how many more to come.)
If you need to sell a car, sell it how you would sell a car. Not how you’d sell a toaster.