Dealership Marketing

Are YOUR 3rd Party Leads Junk?

Where are your purchased leads coming from?? Sure, they’re being sent to you from Dealix, AutoBuyingUSA, NADA (Jumpstart), AutoUSA, Autobytel, Autoweb, etc.). BUT, where are they really coming from??

Over the last several months, I’m finding the quality of the leads that I’m getting from 3rd Party Lead Providers (PLP’s) are becoming more and more substandard. After much frustration with a particular 3rd PLP, I decided to prove what I have been thinking all along. I always had an idea where many of these leads are coming from but never took the time to prove myself right.

This is what I recommend doing if your paying for 3rd Party Customer Leads!

Visit Google or Yahoo and do a search on “Your Make” Price Quote or Your State and make. (example: Honda Price Quote or Maryland Volkswagen) To the Right (and sometimes at the top) you will see “Sponsored Links”. Click on a few of these links and take a look at some of these Price Quote Lead Generating websites. You will most likely see a few of the below listed sites: (My Favorite) (there are hundreds more)

These Sponsored Links/Websites have one main purpose, to gather customers’ information. Many of them lure the customer into thinking they are going to receive an instant price quote and save thousands of dollars or receive pricing under invoice. Once they have the customers information, they then sell it to a 3rd PLP. The 3rd PLP then resells the customers’ information and vehicle of interest to you, the dealers.

So take a moment and fill out the vehicle price quote forms on a few of these websites. Use a bogus name or even your real name; I use my real name, email address and even my direct line just to see if the 3rd PLP will call me, as some say they do. (though I’ve never received a phone call from any of the 3rd PLP’s that I have used) and are 2 of my “favorite” sites. On some of these sites after you fill out your information on the first page, it then takes you to another page where you choose 2 more vehicles to submit a price quote for and then again, 2 more after you submit for those price quotes. It keeps going and going..I once stopped after submitting for 7 price quotes on different cars. My inbox on fire!!

What’s scary…these websites are all over the place and I highly doubt they are producing quality leads. My dealers use a proven follow-up process and I’m still only getting a small percentage if any of these customers to even respond with emails or return phone calls. (even after the average 9.3 phone calls statistics show it takes to reach a customer on the phone)

Not only are these leads substandard, but I know many customers that I have spoken to were expecting an instant price quote, not realizing their information was going to be sold to a dealership. Get this…Once I got a customer on the phone after she submitted her information, she told me “I was filling out a form to get free movie tickets”, when she submitted for free movie tickets, the site asked her if she was interested in a price quote on a vehicle of her choice, she needed to choose a vehicle before moving onto the next step to get her free movie tickets. And they think I’m going to pay 20.00 for that?

Please note; I’m not pointing out any specific 3rd PLP’s here. I am only going by my experiences with the 3rd PLP’s that I have used in the last few years. There are a few services out there that are getting valuable leads from websites such as,, and other automotive informative websites. I’m sure these sites are producing quality leads since the customers are researching vehicles of interest and are most likely in or are going to be in the market for a vehicle. However, remember many of these sites allow the customer to chose up to 3 dealers they would like to submit to for a price quote. So many times you are getting yourself into a price war with another dealer.

I still believe that currently 3rd Party Leads have their place in the Online Marketing process for dealers. There have been many times that I have received a lead from a customer that had just visited the showroom. This gave us the upper hand to securing the market area with this customer and knowing what the customer is trying to achieve.

I recommend if you are signed up with a 3rd PLP and your questioning the quality of your leads, fill out a few forms on some of these price quote driven websites and see if you get your own lead. Before you sign with a 3rd PLP, request a list off ALL the websites that specific 3rd PLP are getting their leads from. I bet they won’t do it!!

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
I have quarterly meetings with my 3rd party LP's.

I go out there and shop and see where my name comes through. I also have never received a "verification call" from anyone...

I print the sites that I submit through and log what I presented and what I asked for... I use this to check up on "exclusive leads" that I supposedly get from some of the big guys... Take the time shop yourself and see where the leads come from... or go to it's not always you!

It's also a great opportunity to see how other dealers do stuff. I find that I look a lot better than my competetion!

Share this with Mgmt at review time.
  • L
    larry Tabloff
  • May 1, 2006
I think you really need to look into Black Book Online program the leads are some of the best in the industry!!
  • J
    Jeff Gonzales
  • May 8, 2006
I sent in a request to they made me verify my phone# before made my request. I also had one of their account managers call me to verify that i was looking for a car. I was just wondering if anyone has used them as a lead provider and if so whats the closing ratio.

My department has limited funds so I took the 1000.00 per month I was spending on third party leads and spent it on other endeavors. My contacts went down a little but cars sold did not move much and I also increased my avg gross per car. I think the 3rd party lead model encourages price shopping and drives the cost of pay per click through the roof. I guess it depends on your rooftop and size of store. Personally I don't want to buy leads and customers all in the same day. Guess this could become another flame thread "3rd party leads does the contact justify the TOTAL cost"