Writing descriptions for vehicles at your dealership
Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, a thousand words can paint a picture. What picture are you painting with your descriptions of your vehicles?
Descriptions are just as important, if not more so than pictures. Yes pictures can show a lot about a car’s condition, but it doesn’t tell the story of the car. Price is rarely the most important feature of a car. If I was looking for a used 2005 Toyota Corolla, I’d be willing to bet that a vast majority of the vehicles I found would be within $500 of the others, and I could probably talk a dealer down by comparing to another car, so what about your car or dealer makes it special?
The first and most cardinal rule of writing a description is to do it! I’m always shocked by dealers that just don’t take the few minutes it takes to write a description, let me at very least know what options are on the car. There should at least be a few sentences for a description for every vehicle.
The second rule is to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. If those things are not your strong suit, have someone else do it, or at very least have someone else proofread your description. Having errors in your descriptions make you dealership look shoddy and unprofessional.
Good, now that we’ve got the don’t out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff: how to write a good description and look at a few examples.
While the above may not be the best example (he clearly doesn’t want to sell the car), it brings up a good point. Humor. There is no rule that says you can’t have a personality when writing ads. I’ve seen ads from Mohegan Lake Audi pop up all over the internet for years because they’re hilarious. Just read this one for this 2009 Toyota Corolla:
“I think this is the PERFECT CAR… You’re probably thinking, “who cares what you think, I’m paying for the car.” So can we compromise and agree on one thing? THIS IS THE PERFECT $12,995 CAR? Ok, so you’re thinking, “What makes you think I’m going to pay $12,995 for this car?” Well OK.. how ’bout we agree…THIS IS THE PERFECT $12,995 CAR FOR AROUND $12,995.” When you see this Corolla S with automatic, power sunroof, alloys, LEATHER…YES LEATHER, spoilers, and only 55,000 miles, you are going to agree. THIS IS THE PERFECT $12,995 CAR..BUT I’M NOT NECESSARILY PAYING THAT. So if you need the perfect first car..safe, reliable and affordable. If you want a sensational commuter car….if you want a terrific alternative car , or very simply if you want an incredibly clean reliable and affordable car…..can’t do better than this one! So about the price… we’ve got very very very very wiggle room. Quite frankly when you see this striking “S”…you are going to kick yourself in the “S” if you lose it for a few dollars.”
I would be willing to bet this dealers web traffic is through the roof. Even if humor isn’t your think personality is still great in a description, write about the car in a way you would naturally talk about it. There is not a strict need to be formal.
Talk about the options on the car. That doesn’t mean you have to list every option or feature. For example, it you’re writing a description for a 2012 BMW, you probably don’t need to mention it has power windows or door locks. Everyone knows a 4 year old luxury car is going to have power windows and door locks and keyless entry and power seats and all those things. Instead, list out and talk about features that are value ads. Does this one have a sunroof? Navigation? Talk about those things, the things that make this car stick out above the rest. Also, avoid using dealership shorthand. Sure every dealer knows what PW,PL etc. mean, but that doesn’t mean that every customer knows dealer shorthand, better to write it out.
Speaking of things that make buying your car better than buying another, talk about your dealership, in every description. What sets your dealership apart? Are you going out of your way to stay open on Sundays for your customers? Or stay open later then most dealers around you? Tell your customers that! Have you certified this vehicle? Tell your customer, and explain to them not just what that means, but what the benefit of it is to them. For example:”This vehicle has been through our 32-point inspection so you can drive with confidence.” The 32-point inspection is the what, but driving with confidence is what the customer gets from it. If you offer great financing options, let the customer know about them here as well.
Finally, tell the story of the car if it’s known. Was this the personal vehicle of your shops mechanic? That definitely bears mentioning. If it’s certified as a one owner car, let you customer know that right here. If the car has a clean CarFax/AutoCheck, let the customer know here as well. Have you recently decreased the price, that’s definitely worth letting people know.
Last but not least, end with a call to action. “Call today this vehicle won’t last long at this price.” “We’re willing to work with your credit so swing by and see this beauty today.” Tell your customer you want to see them because in reality, you do!
As a final word on this, a long description is never going to hurt you, worst case scenario it doesn’t get read. On the inverse of that, if there are two of the exact same cars for sale at 2 different dealerships, I’m going to the one with the descriptions. If it is long though, be sure to break it up into paragraphs so it’s not one giant block of text.