Customer Interview: J.R. White at Tom Wood

J.R. White of Tom Wood dealerships discusses how Covideo set their sales and service apart and its specific strategy for standing out against the competition

The words "Interview with: J.R. White, General Sales Manager" next to a photo of a smiling man in a polo
Originally published February 5, 2018As a born and raised Indiana native, J.R. White graduated from Ball State University in 2005 with a B.S. in criminal justice and criminology. After college, J.R. got into the automotive business by chance. A friend talked him into joining the staff of a Toyota dealership in northwest Indiana. During that same time, J.R was also a reserve deputy with the White County Sheriff’s Office, where he proudly served the community for six years.J.R. joined the Tom Wood family in 2012 as a sales consultant at Tom Wood Subaru and fell in love with the Tom Wood Group because of its family feel. In 2014, J.R. was promoted to sales manager at Tom Wood Nissan. In July of 2015, J.R. came to Toyota and has loved working with this staff. He looks forward to many years with Tom Wood Toyota!
Covideo: Hi J.R.! Thank you so much for getting on the phone with us. Are you able to tell us a little bit about yourself and your current position?J.R. White: So, I just took over the used car department, but I’ve been in the automotive business for about eight years. I’ve done just about everything you could think of in the sales department until you get to a general sales manager position. So, I’ve done a little bit of everything trying to round out my skill set. For example, I’ve worked in: finance, new and used cars departments, internet department, etc.Covideo: So, how are you utilizing Covideo in your role?J.R. White: So, in my role and specifically just for me and what I’m doing, I’m using it in a couple of different ways. One of the best practices as a used car manager is trying to take the entire sales team out to walk the trades every day. That way everybody knows what we have, what needs to be done to each car, and how long it will be in recon. However, we all know that the reality is that it is darn near impossible to get every salesperson out of the building and out to trade row to walk everything. So, what I’m using Covideo for in that situation is that I’m doing a virtual trade walk. Any time I get a car in, I pull up Covideo on my phone, and I do a walkaround on that car. I tell my salespeople what we have: model, year, number of miles, everyday value price, what needs to be done to it, any scratches or dings, etc. I just give them a quick rundown of the car, and I send it out to everybody.Covideo: That is great to hear! Are you able to elaborate a little more on how you are using Covideo?J.R. White: So, I would like to expand a little bit more dealership-wide about how we use it and about how it is useful. We don’t just use it in the sales department or internet department; we even use it out in service. So, everyone in the store has a Covideo login including techs and advisors. In service, we use it for showing customers what was found during inspections and what needs to be fixed. It helps our advisors be able to sell it better because seeing is believing. If you’re able to see the problem, you are less likely to think someone is trying to take advantage of you.Until I became the used car manager, I was actually the internet manager. We set up a process where the first email that goes out to a customer—the first quality response—includes a video from the salesperson. This video is taken by the salesperson and addresses the customer directly. So, it is a new video every time. It isn’t just a canned response. If someone was looking at a used car, they would pull the car out, run it through the car wash real quick, and do a quick two-minute walkaround of the car in order to show them the vehicle. What’s funny about Covideo is that it kind of gives that mental ownership right away.We use Covideo in just about every aspect of the business. Our general manager even uses it to send a video to the entire team to tell them what’s going on in the store. All of those little things for which it is hard to get the entire group together, we can send a video to communicate out internal things as well.Covideo: Can you tell us about a specific instance when you used Covideo where you felt it was particularly successful?J.R. White: Oh man. There are so many of them. Really where it helps the most is for people that are far away. We do a lot of out-of-state sales due to the way we buy our used cars, the way we price our used cars, and the types and styles of cars that we purchase. We have something that is unique. Not long ago, we had a Dodge Charger Daytona 392. It is one of those cars that there aren’t a lot of them out there. We were able to have it priced right online, and I got calls from all over the country about that car. The guy that ended up purchasing the car came from St. Louis. He told us that what made him buy this specific car was that we were able to show him a video of the car. After all, with video he knew exactly what he was buying. The other thing that we see is people will forget a name very quickly, but they don’t forget a face. I have seen it happen several times! A person will walk into the showroom, and a salesperson will ask them who they were conversing with online. It often happens that they won’t remember the name, but as soon as they see the person, they recognize them. That’s kinda cool when those things happen. It proves that Covideo works!Covideo: We are so glad that you are currently using Covideo so much! What plans do you have for using Covideo in the future?J.R. White: One of the things that we like about Covideo is that not everybody is doing it yet; not everybody is sending videos out to their customers. So, the plan as we move into this brand new facility is to continue what we are doing. Of course, we will use it to differentiate ourselves from our competition. You can email any eight Toyota dealerships within driving distance of where we are at, but is every Toyota dealership going to send you a video back and talk to you in person? Are they going to send you a video of the car that you inquired about? No, not everyone is going to do that. There are hundreds of used car lots in Indianapolis. But, is each car lot going to send you a video of the car before you come in so that you know it’s real and tangible? Probably not. I can only see it helping us more and more as we move into that new building. This way we’ll be able to use Covideo to showcase the awesome facility that we just built.Covideo: What would you recommend for other business professionals exploring video as a communication tool?J.R. White: So, here’s why I like Covideo. It’s not eating up a person’s memory on their mobile device or computer. They aren’t having to download anything to watch the video. It is as instantaneous as you are going to get since they just click on a picture or a link. When they click it—BOOM—there is a video, and it is branded with your dealership. There are links within that page that take them to your website, nowhere else! It doesn’t take them to some third-party website. We all know in this day and age that driving traffic to your website is key. So when they pull up this video, it is a personal connection. It drives business to your website, and there is a real, tangible person there that’s sending them this video. It isn’t a canned response! You are able to make a video and call them by name, and that is powerful. There are two things in this world that people love the most whether they want to admit it or not. Of course, that’s talking about themselves and hearing their name! There’s nothing better than calling them by their name and making them feel like they’re important to you.Thank you so much to J.R. White for being an amazing champion for Covideo!
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