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Eric Nichola

Eric Nichola Director of Business Development

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"Use the Source"

Use the Source” By Eric Nichols

For the first time in automotive history dealers can now get an accurate idea of where their marketing dollars are going and how well they are performing. Yes I am taking about the all mighty source. No not the force, “THE SOURCE”. It may not be able to help you move items around or read people’s minds, but it does something even better…. MAKES YOU MORE MONEY…

In my years as a BDC rep and a BDC director, I have learned that the source can be mastered and understood now more than ever before. How is that you ask, quite simple with the following simple steps I have come up with you will be able to not only save on your marketing dollars but will you can profit off of it.

Step 1- Understanding Sourcing…. The traditional advertising types radio, TV. Newspapers never gave you an accurate idea of if your marketing efforts where effective. When sourcing you need to use the parent, child approach.If your paying for all these campaigns you need to know what is working

PARENT= SOURCE   meaning the broad spectrum source.

                                    EXAMPLES OF SOURCE CODES

Fresh-up- A fresh up is any customer that comes to the dealership for no other reason but driving by or just walking into the dealership.


PHONE UP- Any customer who calls into your dealership that cannot be sourced to any specific advertising or 1-800- tracking #. Meaning if a customer calls your dealership using one of your individual 1-800 #’s and it shows up under that marketing effort, such as website, auto trader, cars, autousa, vehix, dealix etc……..THEY ARE NOT A TRUE PHONE UP THEY ARE WHATEVER MARKETING EFFORT THEY ARE TIED TO. INTERNET, TV, RADIO, ETC… EVERY MARKETING EFFORT SHOULD HAVE INDIVIDUAL AND SEPARATE TRACKING #’s FOR EACH AD.

Internet- any prospect that comes from any form of digital advertising online. It’s pretty simple as stated before if they send a lead/email into you it is pre-sourced in your CRM and labeled where it came from. Same with the internet phone calls your call tracking will say what website it came from. “INTERNET IS NOW ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE MAJORITY OF YOUR CUSTOMERS YOU TALK TO. LIKE IT OR NOT ITS FACT.”

INTERNET/FRESH-UP-  Last but not least my own creation. So before I explain to you what an Internet/Fresh Up is. Let me ask you a question.

A customer walks into your dealership and you ask how did you hear about us? They are going to say the either one of the above sources. It is your job to dig to see where they came from. ASK ASK ASK.

Statistics say out of 100% of all traffic

8% emailed before coming in

12% called before coming in

80% came in without emailing or calling.

Now that 80% is a curious thing do you think that 80% just came in for the heck of it, No something brought them in. Now are you ready for the Shocker out of that 80% of unknown origin. 75% of that # saw you on the internet, Car buyers will hit your website or your car listing about 7 times before they come in and the time searching is 15hrs or more online shopping. All you need to do is ASK... Don’t take the easy way out it’s your money either you ask or make sure your people ask.


  • CANCELING MARKETING EFFORTS THAT ARE MAKING YOU MONEY. Example... My dealer principal wanted me to cancel a major listing company because we were not tracking well with leads. I put the foot to my people to ASK ASK ASK….. And low and behold it was one of the top reasons for my walk-in traffic sales.

So the point is that just because they are a walk-in doesn’t mean that you can’t source them correctly. Yes they did not email or call but a certain marketing approach brought them down find out what it is. If it’s the internet you need to know that. Hence INTERNET/FRESH-UP. It’s neither a true internet nor is it a true fresh-up.

                                CHILD = TRACKING CODE

Don’t worry no long drawn out explanation on this one. Tracking code is the exact marketing listing, basically whatever company you are using that is promoting your listing. Simple as that.

So now that I have explained the different sourcing structures, how do you us put a plan into effect to get these sources? The only efficient way to do this is the following way and it may sound like a pain in the rear but it’s the only effective method.

HAVE A GREETER AT THE FRONT DOOR TAKE ALL INCOMING UP SHEETS AND LOG THEM INTO YOUR CRM… MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. WE ALL KNOW THAT SALES REPS DON’T CARE AS LONG AS THEY MAKE A SALE THEY DON’T CARE WHERE THEY COME FROM AS LONG AS THEY COME IN. IT IS ON MANAGEMENT TO ENFORCE THIS. Having the greeter enter all info into the CRM will also ensure an accurate count of how many showroom visits you truly have. I have worked with managers who don’t collect log sheets, they throw them out to increase their closing ratio, they lose them the list goes on and on. As a GM, GSM, Dealer principal, BDC Manager it is on you to make sure that this is followed to a tee. The reason being is not only proper sourcing but proper follow-up is completed. And as you know that means more money in all of your pockets. Times are hard in our business now make the most out of everything you get in the door.



Eric Nichola
All thanks to you my friend Dealer Etraining showed me the way.
Stan Sher
I did but this part of the job you got all on your own.
mark rodriguez
Eric this was a great post. Your growth and efforts are really paying off. So glad to have played a role in putting in a good word to your GM on behalf of Stan. Keep up the great work!
Eric Nichola
thanks Mark, just trying to do the best I can. Stans guidance was the turning point in my career, he help valadate what I was trying to accomplish and he showed me new ways to grow my BDC dept beyond what we were doing.
Jim Bell
Great stuff. The one thing that just baffles me is that the customers are actually confused. In the last week, I have listened to several phone calls and the salesperson would ask where they saw the vehicle. They would say AT, but are actually calling in on a phone number or visa versa. It happens all the time that we as dealers are on so many sites that the consumer is confused themselves. We didn't do anything wrong by putting the customer in the source that they said they saw the vehicle online, but we also have to monitor those calls to verify what lines are being used.

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