- Apple Chevrolet's Web site contains photographs, videos and biographies of its salespeople, including the nicknames and hobbies of each individual.
- "Captain Dave" Stirling, a sales representative, is a single father of four who enjoys boating on the Great Lakes and the ocean.
- Apple Chevy has posted 3,000 videos by its sales team to help customers get a feel for each person's personality.
TINLEY PARK , Illinois — Apple Chevrolet figures it has to sell itself before it can sell cars, so it's turned to the Internet to build relationships with shoppers before they set foot in the showroom.
Its Web site contains photographs, videos, customer reviews and biographies of all of its salespeople, including the nicknames and hobbies of each individual.
"Captain Dave" Stirling, a sales representative, is a single father of four. He enjoys boating on the Great Lakes and the ocean. Another sales representative, Cindy Shone, is married with two sons and four grandchildren. In her spare time, she takes her grandchildren to a park, gardens, takes long walks or decorates her home. Edgar Luciano, a sales representative, dabbles in computers and technology in his spare time. He also speaks Spanish.
"Customers today shop online first," Tom Gorham, Apple Chevrolet's Internet sales and marketing manager, told Edmunds. "Not only are they looking for a specific vehicle, but a dealership to buy it at and a salesperson they are going to feel comfortable with during that purchasing process."
Gorham has encouraged each salesperson to record videos of themselves on the car lot and attach it to their personal page.
Apple Chevy has 3,000 such videos on YouTube that have generated more than 435,000 views.
"It really helps a customer get a feel for the character of the person when they are watching the video," he said.
Shoppers have responded to them and the personality-filled biographies, Gorham said. They come in and specifically ask for that person.
"One of our Internet reps called a customer back and the customer said he wanted to work with our sales rep Cindy Shone," after viewing Apple's staff page and reading everyone's personal page, Gorham said. "They made an appointment and he came in. Cindy was with another customer at the time and the customer waited 40 minutes to work with her rather than another sales rep. He was determined to work with her and nobody else."
It also happened to sales representative and Chevrolet Camaro lover Pat Swisher, a 26-year Apple employee and Indiana native.
"One customer really liked how laid back he came across on the video, so he came and bought a car from him," Gorham said.
Gorham got the idea for making his personnel pages more personal from a marketing journal that emphasized branding a brand.
"It's about building relationships and delivering great customer service," he said.
Edmunds says: People relate to people, which is a great approach in the showroom.