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I am uploading several PPT slide decks that show the data driven, car buyer versus lost deals research on EXACTLY what dealership lead response attributes generate the highest probability of a sale being made by the dealership that recieves a "Request for Quote" new vehicle lead... Keep in mind that how dealers respond to Internet leads and the rate at which those leads end up buying a car rom the lead-receiving dealer versus other dealerships is the MOST STUDIED, measured, tracked, researched and otherwise analyzed aspect of the retail automotive sales industry... There REALLY is no mystery to what works, the real mystery is how to execute what works on a daily basis with every lead that a dealer receives!

Hey, go ahead and argue either way, in favor or against the processes shown in these slide deck files... I'll argue my case using the CSI-like evidence on what actually works best with anyone in the business! However, just remember what William Wrigley, the chewing gum tycoon once said: "If I have 2 Vice Presidents that always agree with each other, then i have 1 Vice President too many...:

Tags: Any, Best, Car, Dealer, Is, Lead, Longer, Management, Mystery, No, More…Response:, What, Works

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Great stuff!!! Keep it coming.


Something I have discovered about quoting prices with Internet shoppers, is that when all the empirical research is done, the only lead response attribute that comes remotely close to making telephone contact in driving higher closing rates on Internet leads is sending a competitive price quote to the customer within 24 hours. Faster is better, and we still have the phone call as being critically important... But, all other response attributes studied, when matched back to RDR's within 90 days of a lead coming in, pale in comparison to sending price quotes to the consumer. The real question is not whether or not we need to send a "Request For Quote" what they asked for and were promised when they completed the lead form... THE REAL QUESTION IS HOW DO WE DO IT EFFICIENTLY! That's the dirty little secret that nobody wants to talk about... Preparing proper price quotes for customers, selecting alternative vehicle choices, pulling the numbers together and getting it all into the right spots in an email template can be a VERY daunting task when you come in on a Monday morning and see 24 new leads inside your CRM tool that are assigned to you!

In my opinion, the single greatest need for software development in the automotive Lead Management/CRM world right now is for streamlining and automating the mundane task of preparing a response to an RFQ lead... Every day we have ISS's and ISM's all over America repeating the same steps over and over that SHOULD be built into their lead management software as a "set up" using merge fields and whatever technology is available to take that repetitious brain damaging part of the job and simply make it easier...

At ADP, I am cheerleading and trying to convince people to take on this assignment, but it feels like rowing my Zodiac into the side of an Aircraft Carrier and expecting it to move. I have actually seen one of our competitors build something very sophisticated that accomplishes what we need as an industry, but right now it only works for Toyota dealers because it is all built out to the Toyota model number system. I would love to find a team of developers that would listen to this need and build the tool... Adam Simms is the owner of Sunnyvale Toyota and ran a VERY good Internet sales operation to begin with. He implemented the automated RFQ Lead Response system and their closing ratio went up by 4 percentage points... On 2,000 leads a month that came in as an 80 unit sales increase. Although he spent a ton of money building the system, he says it generated incremental sales whose profits covered all his costs within 4 months.

Now, THAT'S what I call a "Solution" to a problem using technology!

I am attaching several spreadsheet files that can be easily modified and used to track and assess lead management response by sales professionals and by lead source...


Ralph, I agree with everything that you put forward here.  I firmly believe that dealerships, with proper marketing and good processes, should be achieving lead to close ratios above 20% from their websites and third party display advertising.  Good marketing will greatly effect the number of leads.  Evaluating internet departments, I avoid snapshots for a panoramic view.  Having moved from Dallas to Phoenix, I believe that this is a much less competitive market.

I do have some questions:

  • Are they purchasing leads from other sources?
  • What percentage of their business does the internet department contribute?
  • How do they rank against other Chevrolet stores in the market?
  • I would be interested in their lead count. 

They are definitely past due on a CRM upgrade.   

Ralph, any internet department will benefit from these processes.  It is a sad testimony, to the state of our departments, that they already aren't. 


I cannot agree more.

It's funny, my "business" is getting lead information from dealer's web visitors who would normally walk. My "job" as relationships develop with our dealer-members, is cross pollinating best practices. Just helping out if I can.

One day in my early career, I was simply calling our dealer-member body to meet them and introduce myself and get a feel for what everyone is happy about or what we might be weak on that we could improve. A dealer let me know that the leads that we provide with an appointment already made ("VIP Appointment") were 'bogus'. His beef was that we shouldn't collect the few bucks more that we do over and above a lead when our chat operators are able to get down the funnel a bit more to make a time and date appointment with the lead. "Very few show up", he said. So I noted that. I was not yet savvy enough to ask what his process was once he received a lead of this type.

A few calls later I spoke to another dealer just as passionate about our VIP Appointment (leads). I held my breath and squinted when I asked what he wanted to say about them. He said (paraphrase) "when you guys deliver the lead with a time and date appointment, I don't have my BDC follow that one up first, I have the desk manager call ASAP. He makes it clear to ask for him or his partner and that he will be involved in their deal and was going to be at a meeting (appointment, whatever) at that time but he has changed that, in order to be available for them and restates the time and date. Further he reiterates anything else he 'knows' about their goals from the chat transcript. We get 80% of those in! Thank you!"

Ralph, I have nothing scientific to back this stat up but the dealer was reading off some stat sheets and paused while he looked things up so it seemed legit! So I became an "expert" that day and started asking about processes related to this. Your ppt related to a lead and response time and all the other parts from getting correct telephone info to multiple quotes to the process with the receptionist are obviously tested and working well. 

I just wanted to validate the response time aspect, the phone call piece and the 'making it personal' factor. And yes, just have a process!!!

So as I continue my cross pollination, being made a expert by who else? Our dealer-members, of course...I hear more of the same when there is success (I ask without holding my breath now) and I hear back from the ones that were having a low-show rate on these VIP Appointments that are appreciative for a suggested process and an obvious difference in show rate. They didn't need the "Glengarry Leads" after all!

(ps the original complaining dealer did what plenty were doing. His BDC was calling "leads" right away. The VIP Appointments were 'let be' since they already made an appointment. That's different now.)

I will now get to look like more of an expert with your uploads! 


Jeff Sterns

VP of Sales & Business Development

Twitter: @JeffCarChat24

Toll Free:  (800) 510-7567 ext 702

Mobile: 727-638-0069

Fax: 800-430-1535      

"Helping car dealers sell more!"

Hello Ralph,

We are Canadian based and I am embarrassed to say - just really beginning - thank you for the great info.  We have 3 stores and want to set up a "real" BDC.  We have hired a project manager to help us start up.  I will definitely refer him to your site.

Best regards,

Eric Corso


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