“Something to smile about while used car shopping: why we wrote 99 haiku in 3 days”

September 1st, 2015 by
99haikus 2

“It’s time to get creative.”

That’s what Ryan Gill, the General Manager of Chesrown Chevrolet Buick GMC told me after a transformative experience at one of Tony Robbins’ famous, “Unleash the Power Within” 54-hour conference bonanzas.

One of the most powerful aspects of the conference for Ryan was the part that focused on breaking down invisible barriers and questioning systems that we may not have even known we were a part of.

So what did that translate to, practically, for the dealership? It meant it was time to revisit the way we prepare our used car inventory descriptions.

Like 99% of the used car dealers in the country, our vehicle descriptions were basically just a list of the best features on each car. An example might look like this:

    Clean Carfax, One Owner, Leather, Navigation, 3rd Row Seating, Alloy Wheels, Spotless!

That’s nice, but it’s not very exciting, and that same information can be found on about 3 other places on the vehicle’s listing page. And that same boring description gets syndicated out to AutoTrader, cars.com and a handful of other listing sites that our vehicles are listed on.

THAT’S BORING. And everybody does it.

At conferences and training seminars, the speakers always tout the need for “unique vehicle descriptions” and “novel and interesting vehicle descriptions.” Then they point to some dealership in California that is supposedly crushing their vehicle descriptions, but they’re not and the descriptions are still super boring.

So Ryan came back from this Tony Robbins shindig and gave me full reign to get creative with the vehicle descriptions.

I was a little behind in keeping up with them, so I had a tall order in front of me to the tune of 99 used vehicles needing vehicle descriptions.

Ordinarily, this would just take a few hours since the process of writing vehicle descriptions is more or less hitting a few buttons with pre-programmed features listed and making them look organized once you hit the “Generate” button.

So I racked my brain for how to do a bulk operation like this while blowing up the old system and getting creative. Then it hit me. I was going to write 99 haiku for 99 used vehicles.

Since I learned what haiku were in the 5th grade, writing them has come easy to me. The Japanese short poem that consists of only 3 lines with 5, 7 and 5 syllables on each respective line seemed like my ticket to getting these descriptions written creatively and quickly.

And that’s exactly what I did. I wrote 99 haiku for 99 used vehicles in 3 days. It wasn’t 3 days straight since one can only haiku for so long at a time, but at the end of those 3 days, all 99 vehicles were updated with a haiku accompanying each, even the freightliner trucks for sale!

So will these short poems sell cars? Perhaps not directly, but they are now part of the ethos of our dealership. We never want to rest on our laurels and shy away from being different, creative and questioning everything that we’re doing in the name of bettering ourselves. Now, many people come to us after having giving their old car to a  money for junk cars company.

This simple act extends to our whole dealership. I have fun writing them, the sales staff discovers them and laughs as they research the online inventory, the service staff puts a face with a name of the goofy guy who writes these absurd emails and vehicle descriptions and if a customer stumbles across this seemingly insignificant portion of a vehicle page, who knows how that affects what action they take next!

You see, we don’t want to be gimmicky, so we’re not going to get pigeon-holed into being “that dealership that writes poems for their cars.” Rather, we trust that if we provide an experience for people that is not marked by the all too common trappings of bad business and mistrust, then people will want to stick around and see what else we can do.

Thank you for reading

We’re humbled by this small act

Chesrown haiku BOOM

See the haiku in action!

Since these vehicles will sell soon, below are links to the vehicles so you can see the haiku on each vehicle page. We’ve also included screenshots so you can see the haiku right here!

2015 Yukon Denali

2013 Nissan Titan

2015 Chevy Corvette

2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser

2013 Chevy Silverado 1500

2014 Volkswagen Jetta

By: Glenn Winters, Internet Manager at Chesrown Chevrolet Buick GMC

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