Confession: I've never bought or sold a used car. Sure, I've traded in a car or two at a local dealership but
I've never had the time, patience or inclination to deal with auto listings (online or offline) as a seller or a buyer. But I know plenty of people have and I'm always interested in the ways companies empower people to do old things in better new ways by offering tools and technologies that improve on traditional means, especially in simple ways.
The folks at used car bible Kelley Blue Book - the gold, umm I mean blue, standard for what that old clunker is really worth - have come up with a way to tap into social and mobile to make it easier for regular people to sell their used cars without coming across like (well) used car dealers. Their new Seller's Toolkit provides sellers with a set of easy-to-use tools that make it simple for anyone looking to unload a car to advertise their vehicle across the social web -- from Craig's List to Facebook to Twitter to their own blogs -- and any interested in learning more to get real-time value info with a click or a call.
Social media is pervasive and I don't know many people who don't carry mobile phones complete with data plans and (increasingly) the ability to run apps.With Seller's Toolkit it seems KBB understands that its better for everyone -- the buyer, the seller and KBB itself -- if regular people had the tools to sell cars like the pros.
So what exactly is it and what does it let you do?
First, if you're gonna sell a car you're gonna need a window sticker. KBB let's you create a printable page to tack up in your car but (this is the cool part) it includes instructions and the mechanisms to let interested buyers get the current KBB value (something KBB calls LiveValue) with your mobile via text, voice or QR code. It's a nice modern take on the FOR SALE sign.
The kit also lets you build out a "digital window sticker" for your blog, site or social network profiles -- essentially a nice widget that allows one-click sharing across your online presences. If you've uploaded images for your listing, those images are presented dynamically so they're always the latest greatest shots of your car. And of course the KBB value is always current too via LiveValue.
Next, since so many of us use Facebook as a primary social network, the tool lets sellers quickly and easily turn their listing into a custom tab that they can add to their profile to let all their friends know that their love mobile is available for purchase. Personally, I've seen friends posting 'car for sale' and even 'house for sale' notices to their walls - this take that to the next level and provides potential buyers with a nice, clean tab that offers all the necessary info.
And finally, the KBB Seller's Toolkit even takes care of the tiny details like automatically generating Twitter and status update-friendly bit,ly shortened URLs that link buyers directly to Kelley Blue Book pricing reports for the appropriate make, model and year.
You can learn more or try it out for yourself at Kelley Blue Book. But obviously, I'm not an automotive blogger so I'm not here to sell you on the tool itself. Instead, think about why something like this makes so much sense -- it is consistent with KBB"s brand, modernizes their value proposition by taking advantage of common social and mobile technologies, and keeps the interests of its core consumers (both buyers and sellers) squarely in its sites. It's not gimmicky or flashy; instead it answers some simple business questions:
- How can we add more value in what we already do well?
- How can we make customers' lives easier?
- Is there a way technology and tools can empower both our company and our customers to do more, get more and transact more easily (and on their own terms)?