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Phil DuPree

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Exclusive Blog Posts

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Lifting the Veil: Where do my leads come from?

When a lead arrives from one of your suppliers, do you ever question its origin? In the initial days of the Internet, it was fairly straightforward. There were few options for the consumer online, and most leads arrived showing their points of origin. Now, more than 90% of your customers head online before choosing a dealership, and when they generate a lead, it’s tough for you to know where it really came from and how it got to you.


Let’s start by breaking down the two general “types” of Internet leads:

Direct Interest

Indirect Interest

Dealer Website


Search Engine



Cross-Industry Resale

Email Campaign

Trigger leads

Digital Ad


Information (3rd Party) Site



Direct interest leads are those generated by consumers who are seeking information on your make of vehicle, or specific vehicles in your inventory. By contrast, Indirect interest leads are generated as a result of a similar interest or related event, but not on a make or specific vehicle you stock.


Wait a minute: I get leads from people who didn’t submit a lead on a car I stock?

Probably. Recently, I went to a wine and food festival. Next to a beautiful new Buick was an entry form to win a trip to wine country. I completed the contest entry and two weeks later, I got a call from my local dealer regarding my interest in a new Buick.

OEMs are notorious for this “lead generation” method, but they’re not alone. There are companies who take leads from other sources – contests, home mortgages, credit bureaus (trigger leads), re-marketed leads – and sell them on the open market.


Is that why customers tell me, “I never submitted a lead?”

Not usually. In the overwhelming majority of cases, when you receive a lead from a reputable lead company, the customer did submit a request (whether they took the time to read what they were doing prior to submitting their information is another story).

 Quite often, when a consumer submits a request online, they do so to many dealers at once, resulting in them receiving emails and calls from several people in a short period of time. Many of the emails are automated responses that don’t answer the questions they had, address the notes they put in the comments, or the expectations they had (like an instant price quote) when they clicked “submit.” Sometimes, they just want space and know that telling you, “I’m not interested,” “I’m not in the market,” or “I didn’t send you a request for information” is the easiest way to stop the calls and emails.


How do I make sure I get direct-interest leads?

First, work with reputable, established lead providers. Most have contracted with suppliers and sites to only receive customer-generated, direct interest leads. Second, capitalize on your search spend and site traffic by making sure customers on your website stay on your website.

Most customers leave your website because they don’t find what they are looking for, whether that’s a particular vehicle or information that they feel they can trust. When this happens, they go to independent websites that specialize in providing them with selection and information – and in turning that interested customer into a lead for you. If you can provide the customer on your website with tools and information they can trust – for trade in values, vehicle information, and even financing and payment options – you’ll convert more of your own traffic and reduce the defections.

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