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Guiding the customer while they’re in research mode

Are you fully utilizing the online tools available to you for selling inventory? Ninety-four percent of consumers will conduct research online before making a purchase (Source:, 2010). Providing your visitors with a positive online experience will help you make the sale.

Promote the inventory available at your dealership by listing it online. Start by adding your inventory to your website and to classified sites frequented by your customer base. Remember that your customers are in research mode when they’re shopping online. Communicate the knowledge and expertise of your dealership by including complete spec information on the inventory you’ve posted. Further demonstrate your knowledge and experience by adding a blog to your site. Use your blog to post helpful maintenance tips and useful vehicle information.

Include multiple images with each inventory listing. With preowned inventory, refrain from using stock images. Show your customers what they will be getting. Honesty helps to develop trust in your dealership.

Showcase your inventory. Take the time to remove units from the showroom floor to an area in the dealership with proper lighting and a simple backdrop before you begin taking pictures.

Video sells. Fifty-two percent of consumers take action after viewing a video ad (Source: eMarketing Group). If you haven’t tried video on your website yet, consider purchasing an inexpensive, web-friendly video camera, such as the Flip, and a microphone and incorporate video as part of your marketing strategy. You don’t have to be Spielberg to create a video for your unit. Consider filming an unscripted walk around of a featured unit. Publish the video on your website and on video sharing sites such as YouTube to take advantage of the viral nature of social sharing sites.

Promote inventory specials in multiple sections of your website including the home page and on a dedicated specials page. Spread the word through e-newsletters and on your social networking sites. Also consider paid search campaigns to drive traffic to a dedicated landing page on your site promoting your inventory specials.

Finally, after your potential customers have had an opportunity to take an online look at your inventory, make it easy for them to contact you. Your phone number should be prominently displayed on your website. An online request form should be distinctly positioned on inventory-related pages.

When consumers are online looking for vehicles, position your dealership for more sales by providing informational, eye-appealing listings of your inventory. Promote inventory specials and sales and provide interested buyers with prominently displayed options to contact you.

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