What’s your favorite Joe Webb video? There’s the one of Webb with buck teeth and an outrageous mullet wig telling car sales jokes. Or the video of “waiters” vs. farmers. Or him playing a car salesman that can’t figure out how to start the hybrid car. If you’ve seen any of these videos, you’re likely smiling – because you remembered them.

Which is exactly what Webb hopes to accomplish. They actually are, at least to a degree, training videos, ones that pack a strong, humorous message to his intended audience – car salespeople.

Webb operates his company, DealerKnows, as one of the leading car sales consulting companies in the nation. Webb capitalizes on his experience as a stand-up comedian performing improv and sketch in Chicago clubs to deliver convincing, memorable points. He is serious about improving sales for his clients, and often finds the core problems surround the use of data, or the lack thereof.

“Acceptance of data varies completely by store and by the roles within the store,” Webb said. “Many larger groups have a good focus on analytics and KPIs. There is another group that understands data analytics, but they’re not leveraging it. Then there is a third group that just doesn’t use it at all.”

Capitalizing on Big Data

He said big data should be used to create a strategy, but it is not widely practiced yet. Many dealers, if they are involved with data, are using outside vendors and third-parties to accomplish this.

“Dealers monitor and measure better than before, but they still overlook a lot of critical, useful information. They need the right metrics and tracking.”

An example is credit applications. Webb said most dealers never look at the demographic information that is contained in those.

“There is a ton of useful data in credit apps, as they provide a unique picture to see where shoppers are coming from. Another example is life cycle ownership data – that often doesn’t get utilized. It is a chance to identify equity opportunities. When using data for a digital strategy, you must market to consumers differently, definitely more frequently.”

He stated that the CRM is the most important tool any dealer possesses. But dealers usually are not looking at the correct KPIs to gain value. Part of the problem is there are no benchmarks so they can see how they fit in, meaning they can only compare their data to themselves.

“Dealers need to leverage data and find opportunities. Often, they don’t look at the granular side to find nuggets, or they don’t look at their service drive for opportunities. They also need to be looking at engagement data to discover prospects.”

Collecting Data for Process Mapping

As part of his consulting program, Webb recommends doing process mapping for the retail side. The goal is to become much more efficient at all steps of the buying process.

Customers may take a short time to make a purchasing decision, but then comes the avalanche of paperwork that can last for hours, and greatly diminish the buying experience.

“There is no measuring of time when it comes to the retail side and that’s a problem,” Webb said. “Dealers need to ask, ‘How can we become more efficient?’” These process questions include:

  • How long should a test drive take?
  • How long should F&I paperwork take?
  • How long should a trade-in appraisal take?
  • How long should detail/delivery prep take?
  • How long should it take to get a car posted online?

“How do we expedite efficiency? Every customer would appreciate it, but dealers don’t even consider it,” Webb said.

Too often, dealers focus only on data that Webb calls the “end-of-the-story data.” This includes total leads, total walk-ins, gross sales, gross profit, etc.

“That only tells the end of the story, but they miss the middle of the story – data that can show efficiency levels – and that’s a key to improving performance.”

Comedy as a Communications Tool

Anyone who is familiar with Webb knows about his humorous videos that he creates to communicate with his audience. He has scores of them on YouTube and his website (www.dealerknows.com), and many have gone viral. Today, Webb has gone from making videos solely to please himself to being hired to create them for brands, which has been a rewarding transition.

“I’ve always developed comedic videos in an effort to drill home a point, but now I realized it is more about simple storytelling. That is what pleases a viewer the most. Anyone can make themselves laugh – it’s something else to create something that hits a nail on the head in a comedic fashion.”

He said it is vital to understand both the heart of comedy and the workings of a dealership. Webb spent years working the retail side at car dealerships, so the material is authentic. The videos often exploit the stereotypes of car sales – an admittedly easy target.

“Comedy is supposed to both emphasize the ordinary as well as push the boundaries. I’m sure I’ve upset people with some of my videos. Not everyone is meant to get every joke, and few even catch the nuances. I know my audience well enough that they give me a lot of undeserved credit. I never try to be offensive, but I am not worried in the least if I am.”

He said his videos are responsible for propelling him into the limelight of auto sales consulting.

“I owe a lot of my career to the medium. I would not be anywhere near where I am today without videos. My dealer team and I were responding to customers’ emails with video responses back in 2006, and video chatting customers to close deals in 2007. We started making comedic vids promoting our dealership around the same time. That was the beginning. Here we are, over 10 years later, and most dealers haven’t yet caught on to the power of video.”

Not surprisingly, Webb encourages dealerships to make full use of video channels to build marketing, relationships, and brand. “More videos are watched than emails are opened,” Webb said. “So I highly encourage it – and it isn’t that hard to do.”

He said dealerships should hire an in-house video person, or find someone already on staff that has a strong knack for it, and provide plenty of time for them to work at it.

“Look, it costs almost nothing to get involved in videos. You’re already carrying a camera in your pocket right now – it’s called a smart phone. It is not hard to find someone who is video-savvy, and editing software comes on most desktop computers nowadays. Maybe you need some lighting, a green screen perhaps, and a really good mic. Good audio is vital to gaining an audience. It’s a minimal investment for a maximum return.”

Using Video to Promote Sales, Branding

Webb has no problem rattling off a long list of ways dealers can effectively use video to boost sales and communicate with their customer base:

  • Make videos from the service drive to demonstrate service expertise and sell more parts.
  • Create video messages or replies to prospects through email and text.
  • Make test-drive videos.
  • Get authentic, spontaneous testimonials from customers.
  • Develop videos on the value proposition of the dealership.
  • Answer FAQs.
  • Post short employee bios, letting their personality show through.
  • Use drones to y over the lot to show both volume and activity.
  • Do video walk-arounds of interesting inventory.
  • Highlight specials or sales events.
  • Show employees active in community involvement (e.g., charity events, etc.).

Boosting Sales Through Consulting

Although Webb loves to create videos and humor, consulting and writing for the automotive dealership industry is his full-time business. He and his team of experts have worked with nearly 150 dealers in the U.S. and Canada to capture more sales.

He said his team starts o with the “low hanging fruit,” which is often a CRM refresh – getting more mileage out of a dealer’s existing database by improving processes and templates. They also focus on how the sales team communicates with customers, helping to maximize leads and calls they are already getting. Attention will then shift to marketing, especially how to work in today’s digital and social media age.

Webb said the consulting efforts involve a lot of coaching, mentoring, and working with Internet,
BDC, and sales teams, as well as management. It has been only the past few years that automotive vendors have brought DealerKnows aboard to create funny, engaging videos for their products.

He said more organizations don’t adopt video– despite its popularity with the public–because they are too focused on short-term gains, on a month-to-month basis. Like any marketing tool, video investment takes time.

Always the self-deprecating one, Webb says, “Anyone can get followers nowadays–that is easy. It is completely different to have fans. If my videos prove anything, it’s that someone who doesn’t deserve fans can get them by trying to be even moderately entertaining. Mediocre funny, I call it.”

He adds, “With video, you can build a truly viable brand. It’s how you build an audience.”