Alistair Horsburgh: Getting video right means you really can still wow your customers

Purley Automotive News - August 2023

Top CitNOW executive Alistair Horsburgh has been interviewed for the Selling in the Motor Trade podcast, where Simon Bowkett of Symco Training found out just how important a part video plays in the car sales process.

The group chief strategy officer discussed how a dealer’s digital presence is key but also presented challenges in differentiating a business.

However, he made the point that even though he was there to talk about technology, people still bought from people and the personal approach made a big difference – something that video can really help dealers capitalise on.

‘If you can have that personality, you know, we all smile, stand up when we answer the phone, all those kind of old-school messages, I believe that if we did more of that today I do think we would sell more vehicles.’

Horsburgh discussed CitNOW’s path to success, defying the naysayers, and he gave a hat tip to BMW for being the first to truly recognise the potential of the new retail model.

He commented on how digital presence such as social media and websites had grown in importance for dealers over the past 10 years and, as such, how challenging it was to try to stand out from the crowd.

‘We still have this challenge where customers make inquiries but a proportion of these inquiries don’t get responded to, and that’s really frustrating,’ he said.

Bowkett commented that when used cars were particularly hard to come by, some places would ignore customers who were inquiring about a vehicle that had gone.

‘I see sales people all the time thinking, “Well, that car’s sold. Well, anyway, too hard.” They don’t even bother getting back to the customer! It’s criminal in 2023, but it’s still happening.’

Horsburgh said: ‘The way consumers make their decisions about where they buy their vehicles from is constantly evolving, constantly changing.

‘They make recommendations, they don’t necessarily look for the cheapest vehicles. They want reassurance they’re buying something that’s good quality and a reasonable price.

‘People will definitely pay more for better quality and better service. I absolutely, fully believe that.’

He added: ‘When we started putting video in the showroom, one of the biggest things that made an impact was there was always a challenge [regarding] adoption of video because the sales managers wanted the customers in the showroom.

‘They felt they had more control, they could make more deals, so to speak, and they feared that if all they did was send their video to the customer, the customer would have all the information they wanted and wouldn’t be interested.’

Horsburgh added that he was in the process of selling his house but when he asked the estate agent to put a video of his house online they said they didn’t do that as they wanted customers to walk through his door to experience his house.

Article courtesy of published 2nd August 2023