Notifications & Messages

Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
×
LotVantage

LotVantage

Exclusive Blog Posts

What People Are Looking For In An Auto Repair Shop

What People Are Looking For In An Auto Repair Shop

Those who have been involved in some sort of accident have the next step of finding an auto repair shop. These shops are not all created equal as some are …

One Price Selling – What Are You Waiting For?

One Price Selling – What Are You Waiting For?

Most Dealers are closer to a One Price Selling sales process than they may realize. If you’re an excellent pre-owned dealer you’re basically no…

What Is Your Chemistry With Women Buyers?

What Is Your Chemistry With Women Buyers?

Wow, its December. Last month of the year. Now is the perfect time to begin to reflect on the customer processes, engagement and strategies you have in pla…

Want to Advance in Business? Here are a Few Ways to Stay on Top of Your Game

Want to Advance in Business? Here are a Few Ways to Stay on Top of Your Game

If it’s time for you to take the next steps in your career, there are some tried-and-true methods that can ensure your success. All business professi…

BDC training for 2017

BDC training for 2017

  We have a service and sales bdc team for each of our stores. One is a Hyundai store and the other is a Chevrolet store. We have Three sales Bus…

Dealers Shouldn’t Abandon Third-Party Sites Just Yet

Multiple Targets

If you've been following the trends for the last year in the automotive industry, you’ll note that there are some dealers that are pushing all of their advertising dollars towards driving traffic to their websites. It’s a strategy that was made popular when a large dealer group declared that they were going to focus on generating their own leads and wrote an interesting piece about why they were doing it.

Unfortunately, the strategy that they’re adopting has been misunderstood by many. The idea is that they wouldn't be buying leads from other sites anymore. They never declared that their inventory wouldn't be available on other sites. It’s a concept that makes sense – generate your own leads, whether they’re coming from third-party sites or the dealership’s website.

In an article titled, Why Car Dealers Should Adopt a Modern Digital Merchandising Strategy, we went into detail about why many consumers prefer to shop on third-party sites rather than on a dealership’s own website. The perception of competition and choice has made many consumers today skeptical of the isolation that happens on a company’s own website. The diversity they get on the third-party sites is ideal for many modern shoppers.

This modern strategy translates into companies doing what they can to have their merchandise show up on Amazon and Newegg. It’s why airlines and hotels work with Priceline and Expedia. It’s why dealers should have their inventory on Craigslist and Autotrader.

We all know that the best leads are the ones that come directly from your own website, but you can’t force people to go there. You can put all of your marketing budget into promoting your own website and you’ll still miss out on a good percentage of people who simply won’t go there, at least not initially.

A best practice is to cast the widest net possible. Get your inventory in front of more people regardless of where they’re searching. Whether they go to Google, eBay Motors, or Backpage, you want your inventory to be in front of them. Posting to other sites will increase the number of people who then visit your website for more information on the cars they find.

We aren’t going to argue against the concept of pulling back on buying third-party leads, but we want to make sure that everyone knows that the strategy being discussed is not one that abandons the use of third-party sites altogether. Regardless of whether you’re buying leads or not, you want to have your inventory visible to as many people as possible.

Even CarMax, one of the first large companies to completely abandon posting inventory to third-party websites, has recently began adding their inventory back into the mix. There is simply more reach available to dealerships and dealer groups when they cast a wider net.

Put your inventory in front of more people on or off your website and you’ll generate more leads for yourself. That’s the modern strategy.

Robert Karbaum
In Canada, by and large we do not have "3rd Party Lead Buying". Companies have attempted, numerous times to no avail. Autobytel originally in US & Canada at the same time, but quickly moved out of the great white north due to poor ROI. It is one of the small differences between the two markets, and I'm very happy to be on this side of the fence.
Grant Gooley
@Robert I think Jim is referring more to the "Kijiji's" and "Autocatch's" of our market. Not so much actually "buying" leads. There are companies like Autobytel where you can actually BUY the name, phone number and email from. Don't think that's what Jim was referring to... That being said, our entire group of 35 dealers has pulled away from listing on 3rd party listing sites as well. @Jim I do not disagree that getting your inventory in front of eyeballs is a correct strategy. Our data proved against the strategy in a very large way! Remember, thats in OUR market. I believe every market is very different. We simply did not see leads, calls or referral clicks from the 3rd party listing sites we were using. Although we do still use AutoTrader quite heavily because it works in OUR market. In some situations we use Kijiji (Compares to Craigslist in Canada) The other 5 or 6 listing sites that are at our disposal were not working at all for reasons mentioned above. So we pulled out. My prognosis on this theory is very similar to the points you made above Jim. Spending money on driving traffic to our own VDP's through value ad to the consumer and not just a few pics and a price, makes much more sense. Not only talking about Adwords... Content, SEO, Social Advertising and many other traffic generation tools are all part of our strategy. Instead of spending money on a third party listing sites, in an over saturated market with little value to the consumer, we decided to capitalize on the sites that work (Trader/Kijiji) and leave the rest to our internal team.
Dan Sayer
I would like to see a greater degree of separation between the definition of "3rd Party Sites" in stories like this. Listing inventory on 3rd party sites vs. Buying leads from 3rd party sites are pretty different. Without having to rehash the entire story, look at our 3rd party lead experience with our Mazda store at http://www.drivingsales.com/forums/busted-manufacturer-conquest-lead-reselling-caught
Joseph Hobbs
I agree with Dan 3rd party inventory sites are not 3rd party leads sites..... But that being said I have got rid of most of both & have not seen a drop off especially in used car leads. Spending $5,000 a month on other site to promote your inventory & your competitors is ludicrous. Remember the days when the "inventory sites" sold you on that they could track your leads, calls & click thrus. over the Newspapers.....funny how they gave up on that pitch....
Christian Salazar
eyeballs is the name of the game... even on a higher level I believe on building a brand relationship with the consumer even before they are in the buying process. Good content creates awareness. A brand connection earns a repeat customer. Buying a lead has less of chance at getting you that. Chip Perry asked a group of us in Overland Park, KS what it costs a dealer to list cars on Autotrader.com. I believe the person beside me said, "anywhere between 1500-10000. Chip said, no, "it's free." "we've never charged to list inventory online and to this day dealers still have that option." I think the autobytel's and the dealix model is busted. At some point just listing your cars on Autotrader may work for the eyeballs. At what point though are you buying leads by overspending to be featured, or spotlighted or 1000 other things? You can certainly do that on Autotrader. Their model goes way beyond simply listing inventory these days. How long that will last? Don't know, Cox has distanced their software companies from Autotrader.com. And rebranded the companies as Cox Automotive. Chip Perry is no longer at the helm. They're smart though, they will think of something.

 Unlock all of the community & features  Join Now