Cari Heinz is the Digital Media Specialist at Heyward Allen Toyota, and she was instrumental in the process of taking their dealership digital. She says video email was one of the first things they adopted to get their store marketable and increase sales in a “new digital age” of selling.
Cari’s job is to not only ensure everyone is taking advantage of video, but using it in a way that will sell more cars and reach more people. In our interview, Cari offers behind-the-scenes strategies and anecdotes that will add a spark to your video marketing process!
How do you get your team on board with video?
We basically tell everyone there's a need for video with every customer that comes in, whether it’s through the front door or through the internet department. We try to explain it as being more available to customers. You’re more than just a car salesman, you’re a face, you're a person, you're someone they can relate to. They may be unsure in the beginning, but once they see the success, they’re on board.
Video also creates an opportunity to stay in touch with a customer, whether they buy or don't buy. If they didn’t buy, we always suggest sending a walkaround as a way to remind the customer why they came in and what they were interested in. If they did buy, video is a way for us to say “Happy Purchase Anniversary” or “Happy Birthday”. It’s just a way to reach back out and stay relevant to the customer.
How does video affect salesmen “skating deals” at your dealership?
If a customer doesn’t know your name or what you look like, the managers just want to get them with a salesperson right away. It's not about finding you, it's about getting that customer’s needs met. But if they have a video, they're able to describe you or even pull up the video. Here at Heyward Allen, if you're not available and you made contact with video, that's going to be half of your lead because you put the effort in, introduced yourself, and got them the information they needed before coming in.
How has video changed sales and customer interaction?
We're in Athens, GA, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Atlanta. The Atlanta market tends to dominate, however our PMA actually touches almost all the way into the city. Toyota sees us as having to target and reach almost all the way into Atlanta, which has been a struggle, but video has completely changed the game.
We've had customers even say, “I was shopping the market and video is what brought me an hour and fifteen minutes away. You guys took the extra time to not just send me numbers with a generic-based email, but you went out to the car within minutes of me inquiring, addressed me by name, answered all of my questions, and showed a video example of the car.”
Video especially helps with used cars. A couple weeks ago, we sent out a walkaround on a Toyota Tacoma and the customers ended up flying from Texas, purchased the vehicle, and drove it back within twenty four hours. They were so happy with the service! It really helps the used car department because we can show customers things like dents and dings, we’ll even put it up on a lift and have them look at the undercarriage. It helps them feel even more secure in making the drive to visit us.
"We basically tell everyone there's a need for video with every customer that comes in."
- Cari Heinz
Has your service department seen success with video?
Video has been really important for the repair side of things at both of our dealerships. We are able to send videos not only telling them their tires are at maximum wear, but showing them. They even drop a penny in the tread as an example for the customer.
One of our customer’s brought his mother’s car in with a problem. We ended up pulling the dash apart and it turns out her little boy had poured Coca Cola inside the front of her vehicle, it was a sticky nightmare. Well, it's not safe to take customers back into the bays and show them their car, so the service guys did a complete video showing what was happening and the work needed to repair it. It’s the perfect way to say here's the underneath of your car, here's the mud here's a scratch, this belt snapped, etc. It's a way to say I'm showing you what I see. There's no way to get around that complete open honesty - I don't want to just take your money, I want to fix your car.
What would you say to dealerships that are on the fence about incorporating video?
If you're not doing it, you’re getting left behind in the dust.
We were a “slow to get on board” dealership and now it's something that we preach time and time again. At various meetings, when our GSM is asked what we’re doing to stay ahead, the two practices he mentions is social media and video. Customers don't always care about price, they want the service that comes with it. Being open and honest from the beginning about who you are and what you're showing starts with video. It leads to reviews and a good experience - this will ultimately help you sell more cars.
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