Dealership Marketing


I was thinking about the Dealer Summit I attended last year; particularly about a speaker from one of the larger 3rd Party Lead providers who spoke regarding 3rd Party Leads and how they still have a place in the dealer marketing process. I agree that 3rd Party Leads to do have a place in a dealers marketing process, but I myself have been cutting back on the providers with whom I deal with and have repositioned my budget, distributing it into different avenues in an effort to get more qualified customers.

I remember asking this speaker, “Why will 3rd Party Lead vendors not disclose from WHERE the lead ORIGINATES (except for the occasional Edmunds lead)?”

Did the lead come from Edmunds or KBB?
If so, I know I have an informed customer who is potentially getting quotes from a variety of dealers. The key point here is that the customer is most likely very informed about the product and could be shopping other vehicles as well. What’s the angle I need to work this customer?

Did the lead come from or
Now I know I could have a dealer distruster or just a price shopper and I have to change my selling process and how I interact with this customer via email and phone.

Maybe the lead came from Car and Driver or
Now I’m possibly dealing with an enthusiast and again can change the wording in my emails and initial phone conversation, allowing me the advantage in dealing with this customer’s personality.

What about leads from
Here is another great example of where you could change your follow-up process and how you interact with the customer.

I was told the reason this specific 3rd Party Lead Provider did not disclose this information to the dealer was due to the possibility of the dealer cherry-picking the leads and not giving all of the leads the same attention they deserve. Though I can somewhat agree, I wasn’t thrilled with that answer. Personally, I think one reason is because they don’t want the dealer to see that the majority of their leads are coming from these inferior price-driven websites.

What do you think?

Would it be beneficial to know exactly what websites your leads are originating from?

Post your comments here.

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
I think it would benefit you, it's a great way to build rapport with a customer if you know exactly what he/she was looking at to begin with, and what hot points to key in on when your speaking with them
Yes! It would be so nice to know upfront if you have a price shopper, informed buyer, one that is ready to make a decision in the next few days, or one that is months away. I have always been one to read into the lead before I make the call to look for clues on how to read the customer. Often times with a brief phone call, all is clear. Without the personal call, it is not always easy to get a reply without a price from or starting at, email. Without a reply to the pricing email, you just have to keep sending until the end of time, or they walk in the door.
  • D
    Dean Evans
  • August 22, 2006
I would love to hear everyone's comments on this one.

  • S
  • September 26, 2006
Kudos on reallocating your budget to find a more qualified prospect. I often wonder why dealers pay 3rd party providers to beat them to their own customer.
I mentioned in an earlier post about this particular subject. I want to know the sites or other avenues they get leads from so I can say, "Hey, I do not want any more leads from that site", or "give me more from this site". I don't know for sure how honest the rep (from a source other than Dealix as they told me they cannot tell me), but he told me the sites they use and said that all leads I get will only come from those sites, unless of course I buy another lead providers lead from them, in which case they can't tell where exactly it came from. I think that I will go with the guy that can tell me I will only get leads from the sites he mentioned.

I think lead providers do not really want us to know them all because a dealer can go to some sites and advertise for their own leads. For instance, KBB has been calling me to sign up for the lead generator tool for trade appraisals, and in conversation he told me about a product (that he himself does not sell) that would allow me to have banner ads on KBB in key spots.

Correct me if I am wrong, but if I do enough of that I will get my own leads right?
Which providers buy a bunch of outside leads? Or maybe the easier question is, which providers buy the least amount of outside leads?

CarsDirect,, AutoTrader, and AutoUSA (depending on where you specify you want your leads to come from) are a few who don't buy too many outside leads.

Another interesting component is to look at your current leads to figure out how many were duplicates from more than one site. As a dealer who carries various competitive brands (Honda vs. Toyota vs. VW, etc.) we end up with quite a few duplicates. Last month roughly 70% of the leads we received were duplicates. I only purchase leads from three different sources, but a huge amount of them end up submitting another lead through an OEM site or our own site. It brings up the age old question: "Would I have gotten this customer anyway?" I'm afraid there is no perfect answer to the question I posed....and answered :)

Back to the original question, yes, it would certainly be useful to know where a 3rd Party Site's leads originate from. However, I don't think these people know. They may be the second or third place to purchase the lead themselves. My policy is to not support anything but the primary lead source.
  • J
    Jeff Larsen
  • July 25, 2007
If selling from the sales floor, I would ask the customer how they found the dealership and the particular vehicle of interest so I knew how to sell to them.

Why should selling to internet shoppers be any different with the technology available?
  • T
    Tony Bell
  • August 15, 2007
Why do we buy so many 3rd party leads? Nothing burns me more than calling a 3rd party lead, getting a hold of the customer that lives 3 miles from the store, drives by it eveyday and comes to me from another source than our website. Heres the way to make it stop..advertise your url, and if its long, find one that rolls off the lips, put banner ads on local hotspots, licence plate tags, and have your url on all car windows along the top. If you do this long enough you will start getting your own leads and start cutting the 3rd party apron strings.