3rd party leads

Mary Pratt-lauchle
I would love to get everyone's thoughts on who they are using for 3rd party leads. Our business is great, closing ratios are great but leads are down. Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.
Lauren Moses
Mary, As far as 3rd party, the only one that we actually pay (all certified vehicles are listed through GM for us on multiple sites) is cars.com. We got going with them about the 3rd week of March not long after I started. We have seen a lot of great things. Rich Harig, our account rep. has done a great job of making sure that everything runs smoothly. He regularly checks out our page and stats to make sure that there isn't something that we can do to make things go even better. On top of that they just added a new parts and service section to the dealer pages where you can list parts and service prices, specials, amenities, and lots of other great things. They also help you compare prices of your vehicles to others that are similar to make sure that you aren't priced to high or to low. We have gotten great reviews from customers on there through our service department and they have helped to boost our sales. Leads are great. I get them through email, if they request email only then I respond, if they leave a phone number then I pass them to a salesman who has more experience than me to handle so we get a better chance at closing them. Cars.com also offers contact at once chat on your dealer page and on all of your vehicle pages so if a customer wants a quick answer then they don't have to submit a lead just to make sure the vehicle is still available. I know it's a lot of info, but we also looked into autotrader to list with and decided against it. You pay to have your vehicles listed higher on the search which I don't agree with. Bigger dealers have more money to spend on things like that so us little guys get the shaft and have to stick with the bottom of the search. We have also looked into a few other options as far as just getting leads but as of yet haven't found a company who doesn't call every other day wanting to know if you have made a decision about throwing tons of money into one spot right off the bat without any kind of research. Check the Vendor's tab and search to see who on here has the best reviews. It may help you find something you didn't think about.
Megan Barto
Lauren - are you use Cars.com "NewLeadsPlus?" - which is different then their classified service, NLP is their 3rd party pay per lead program. The only "pay per leads" we use are Trilogy - which Hyundai (pretty much) says we have to use. I don't worry about "lead volume" - I'd rather have fewer *higher quality* leads, then a ton of leads that aren't very good that I waste my time with. Are you spending money on SEM/remarketing campaigns? That & we've all seen the trends that most people don't put in an internet lead or call, but rather just show up.
Mary Pratt-lauchle
We are spending money on SEM/SEO and actually increased that budget. Hoping to see results.
Megan Barto
You have to be careful with buying too many 3rd party leads - there's only so many in-market shoppers at a particular time. I'd rather have 100 "GOOD" quality leads then 200 not quality leads. There's few things more frustrating then spinning your wheels trying to follow up with a customer who "didn't mean to submit a lead" which you don't figure out until after following up with them for 14 days or even more! SEM/SEO is one of the best ways to go - you're not relying on a 3rd party program to "Get" people to submit a lead. Using SEM/SEO will also probably increase your walk-in traffic as well as phone calls....
Arnold Tijerina
More leads won't increase sales unless there is 1) a solid lead follow-up process and 2) it's being followed religiously. There are too many dealers who always think the answer is "more leads" but when you look in their CRM, their follow up sucks. It might be great on day one (quick response, intro, pricing, etc.) but start looking at day 5+ and uncontacted lead follow up takes a nosedive. In addition, you have to look at lead-to-person ratios. Any single person can only effectively work & follow up with so many new leads a month and also continue follow up with past leads. I've seen numbers in the 85/person to 125/person range suggested but it also depends on how good the people are. Obviously, the better they are, the more they can handle. Don't automatically assume that more leads will lead to more sales without first making an honest assessment of what you're doing with the leads you already have.

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