The economic downturn is forcing more people to sell their cars privately instead of trading them in with car dealers. Most of us only sell a handful of vehicles in our lifetime, so there are new skills to learn now that most vehicle sales begin on the Internet.
When I teach private owners how to sell their vehicles online, I introduce them to the video walk-around as a tool that will not only set them apart from other sellers, but it helps build a rapport with potential buyers before they ever talk to them or see them in person. However, the main purpose of the video walk-around is to help buyers determine—from a distance—if this is the car for them.
The video walk-around is easy to do. No expensive equipment is needed. I use a simple point-and-shoot, pocket digital camera with built-in microphone. After I clean the car inside and out, I pick a quiet corner of a large parking lot or a secluded street where there’s ample room, and record my video walk-around.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Selling a car, truck, or SUV online is hard work. You have to take pictures, create your ad, and post it online. When potential buyers make contact, you’ll be answering questions, setting appointments, showing the car, going on test drives, and answering more questions in the hopes of someone saying, “Yes, I’ll take the car.”
Too often, you go through the entire process with a buyer and they’ll say the opposite: “I know you told me over the phone that it had a big dent on the driver’s door, but I didn’t think it would be as big as it is. Sorry, but this isn’t the car for me.”
The video walk-around can help a buyer determine if this is the car for them—or not—without meeting you or seeing the car in person. However, in order to achieve this benefit, you need to show what’s wrong with the car, as well as highlighting the primary selling features. This can include showing dented bumpers, scratches along the side door where a shopping cart went wild, stains on the seat from the kids eating ice cream, and a damaged dash that spent too much time in direct sunlight.
Tell the World
The first step to telling the world you have a video walk-around is to upload it to a major video hosting website. There are many available. I use the most popular: YouTube.com. Once you have it available for public consumption, how do you let potential buyers know that you have a video available for viewing? When possible, I include a link to the video walk-around in my online ad. And knowing the frailty of technology as I do, I also mention in the ad that if there are problems with the link, the reader should email me and I’ll reply with a fresh link to the video.
You can also sell your vehicle through social media. Include the link in a tweet on Twitter, or a post on Facebook. Be sure to ask your friends to pass the link onto anyone they know who may be interested. This allows the viral aspect of having a video on YouTube to kick-in with your friends sending your video link to their friends. Their friends turn around and pass it on to people they know, and so on. You would be amazed at how many people can end up viewing your video walk-around after it is shared by friends on social media websites.
View Sample Videos
A picture is worth a thousand words. There are sample video walk-arounds on my website at http://bayareacarguy.com/video-2/.
L. James Johnson is the guy who wrote the book on how to sell your vehicle online. HELP! I Gotta Sell My Car NOW! New Rules for Selling Your Vehicle Online! is available on Amazon.com.