Dealers receive leads from their own websites; their OEM’s site; and independent Internet sites, which can include large portals as well as auto research, buying, and enthusiast sites. Each source represents different types of investments and different types of buyers – and no two dealers will have the same formula for how much of their lead mix should be allotted for each source. To explore the question of lead mix, Dealix hosted a moderated panel discussion at the 2010 NADA convention. The panel, attended by 50 invited guests representing dealerships of all sizes, resulted in a robust information exchange and debate. In response to requests for transcripts of the discussion, Dealix compiled this edited transcript of the event. You can download it here.
Agreement and Controversy
The panelists agreed on certain important points. For instance, all stated that dealers should have leads from each source in their business mix, and all agreed that evaluation of results should be based, not on lead close rate, but on gross profit per vehicle sold. Certain items, however, produced controversy. Most notably, the question posed by John Holt, CEO of The Cobalt Group and moderator of the discussion, produced different opinions from the panelists
“Which type of lead do you assign to your top salespeople?”
The Set Up
Three industry experts were asked to present and advocate for each type of lead (see speaker bios on page 15 of the white paper.) David Kain spoke of the value of leads from the OEM sites, Brian Pasch of PCG Digital Marketing addressed the contribution of leads from dealers’ own websites, and Anna Zornosa represented the value of leads from independent Internet sites. Note, Zornosa explained that she purposely avoided the term “third party lead” – a term she felt was confusing; instead using the term “independent Internet leads” to refer to leads from independent sites.
Reading through the white paper, there are a few topics that I’ll highlight for discussion purposes, you can then download and read the rest – come back here and share with us your opinion subject(s).
As I read through this, I ask myself; are we really still talking about this? Yes we are, just as we continue the need to talk about lead response and quality of response. I guess that’s why consultants and trainers, many times make a shit load of money training on the same stuff year after year – tweek it a little, and throw their own spin on it – it’s ok, 90% of the population/dealers/businesses never really change and that’s because people never change. Ok – getting of my little rant, let’s move on 🙂 .
Kain was in the corner for OEM leads.
“From an OEM’s perspective, what is critical is that a ‘lead’ be an opportunity to talk to a consumer at a personal level about why a car is designed the way it is, how it fits that consumer’s lifestyle, how it provides safety and security, and what they can expect from owning it.”
Pasch was in the Dealer website corner.
“They (dealer website leads) convert at twice the rate as OEM or independent site leads. I work with dealers who are closing 20 to 25% of their own site leads and 10 to 12% of their independent site leads.”
Anna was in the corner of 3rd Party Leads.
“All three types of leads are important and need to be in the mix. But leads from independent Internet sites uniquely represent an opportunity for a dealer to expand market share.”
Much of the conversation surrounds around not only figuring out what percentage of these 3 lead sources should be apart of your dealers lead mix but what type of consumers are predominantly associated each one. More importantly do you need to “speak” to each one of these customers differently?
If you have a solid process dialed in – taking a slightly different approach between the 3 different leads can be beneficial during the initial correspondence and introduction. But let’s face it, getting your lead response time under 10 minutes with most dealerships is a challenge in itself. 🙂