So, you’ve been assigned the responsibility to write the vehicle comments on behalf of your store. While this may be Internet Sales 101, it is more than apparent that dealers can use a refresher course now and again. As I research dealership after dealership and do comparison studies between my own clients and their competition, I find it disheartening that so many dealers overlook the basics.
It is not that dealerships today don’t recognize the importance of unique vehicle comments on each inventory listing. It is that there is a time investment that some don’t feel willing to give for a basic best practice. Or maybe it is that no one spelled out for them how to write quality vehicle comments in the first place.
While some use the valuable, time-saving technology that auto-generates unique comments on their behalf from the vAutos, VinSolutions, and Homenets of the world, others have to do it the old-fashioned way — by actually writing it themselves.
Unfortunately, even when dealership staff takes it upon themselves to write this ad copy for their inventory, it usually turns out limp. The majority of dealer-written descriptions include the customary smattering of lines such as:
Looking for a family sedan?
This vehicle is still under factory warranty.
This is a nice one!
Traction control. Front wheel drive.
Must ask for Internet sales manager if you want Internet price.
As with all pre-owned vehicles normal wear and tear should be expected.
All of our pre-owned vehicles are sold “as-is.”
Now I ask you, are those statements important to some customers? Absolutely, yes. However these exact statements are far too often jam-packed together in the same description. We need to connect with people searching for our inventory on a personal level, not just educate them.
There are several keys to writing engaging inventory description. Below, I’ve broken down the more important aspects.
1) Paint a picture. Create a visual by exploring the five senses. Put them in the driver’s seat. “When you sit back comfortably in your…” “As you drive, you won’t hear any engine/road noise…” “Within a second of putting your head inside this sparkling clean…. you will realize that no smoker has ever lit up anywhere near it.” And always remember to write words like “You” and “Your family.”
2) Appeal to their competitiveness. “Your neighbors/coworkers will be envious when you drive home in…” “Your family will flip head over heels…” And then, if you have the ability to research, discuss other awards/recognition the vehicle may have received. For instance, if there is a MotorTrend truck/car of the year in your inventory, make sure you mention it.
3) Descriptive words. Go buy a thesaurus (or go to thesaurus.com). It is not a black car with leather interior. It is a jet-black/black onyx/diamond black clear coat flawless paint exterior filled to the brim with soft buttery tan cream leather throughout. It doesn’t have AC. It has nip-at-your-nose ice cold air conditioning. It doesn’t have am/fm/CD; it has a “crystal clear sound thumping out of its premium sound system.” Get creative. Oversell it. The more fun, the better.
4) Only talk options. There is no need to mention the standard features of a vehicle in the unique description. Power, maybe, but most customers researching a vehicle don’t care about intermittent windshield wipers, power steering, rear defrost, vanity mirror, etc. Only talk about what makes the vehicle exceptional. (You’ll never see anything with a sunroof that has hand-crank windows). So only mention things such as chrome alloys like looking in a mirror, sunroof that lets you feel the cool breeze, soft as skin leather, etc…
5) Get creative. Speak to the consumer. Call them out. “You cannot miss the opportunity to see this one-of-a-kind, well-cared-for beast of a mud-flinging 4×4 pick-up. And as you can tell, our dealership is the home of hyphenated words.” As I mentioned, have fun.
Don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as writing a story, telling a tale, or singing a song. Make it sound different than the rest. Overemphasize. It will help tremendously. Learning how to write descriptions will make you that much stronger when you have to verbally describe the vehicle to a customer over the phone as well, so the benefits of this skill do not just stop at more eyeballs on your merchandised inventory.
From someone with a journalistic background who fashions himself a storyteller, allow me to say that it does take practice and quite a bit of creativity. So get inventive and try to truly create some unique comments. By including the variables above, you too can be a master of automotive storytelling.