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Have any of you have seen a study that establishes what percentage of 
internet inquiries actually buy the same vehicle they inquired about?

My guess is that it is much lower than most people think, under 40% and would be similar to incoming calls.  Do any of you have any thoughts and also any substantial data or studies to validate the actually results.

Also thanks for all of you that became inspired enough to watch and comment on my "You Can't Handle the Truth" Video.

Grant Cardone

Tags: appointments, call, conversions, incoming, internet, inventory, sales

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Click on any of the charts below to see the full size version of the image...

For those who come in on a new vehicle VIN, we track 23% buy the exact vehicle that they inquired about. For those who come in on a new vehicle make/model/year, we track from 34% to 47% (dep on month) who buy the vehicle they inquired about.

For those who come in on a used car and buy that car, it's 78%.

That's for Dec/08 to Dec/09. Again, it's for buyers, not folks who--for whatever reason--didn't buy.
nice is there a study to confirm those numbers....?
Just my data for three stores, fourteen lines, and three pre-owned lots for a year. I really don't know that most people really capture this data, and on the average floor there is, frankly, a large amount of mis-reporting.

I do like that you're trying to find the data from a study, because--for example--the DART reports of GM were practically useless. First, they were a couple of months behind by the time they reported; second, they only matched leads to sales by name--and on the typical day, a lead generated by any shopper may well be sold in a different name. THEN they try and tell you that someone bought elsewhere . . . which may have nothing at all to do with a lead that was generated.

The measurements in the automotive vertical are so often skewed by marketing heads that have never sold a car in their lives. One doesn't have to sell one, actually, to understand it. Hubris comes to the automotive vertical from many directions, usually to sell something, and then most of the manufs really don't understand their own sales channel. Except to use a bankruptcy to alter their dealership landscape that state franchise laws normally protect.

I hope you find what you need and are able to share it with us.

Keith, I'm impressed that you have been tracking these numbers accurately. Difficult to do. Those numbers sound very very close to what we experience on used vehicles (I said 80-90%), except for new VIN specific and make/model/year. That is a low percentage for VIN specific and high for make/model/year (generic requests) from our perspective.

I think these numbers are strategically very important. If you understand them, you can make money. It's a lie that you can't make profit with Internet customers. My average gross profit on Internet customers is equal to the gross profit on the floor. We all know that a "good deal" is when both the customer and the dealer is happy with the sale. That translates to "savings and value" for the customer, and "profit and customer satisfaction" for the dealer. Are we in heaven yet?

Not sure if I've seen that exact data but from working in and training BDC's I can make an educated guess and say its anywhere from 40-50%. That supports what both you and Ralph said but I'd be interested to see some real data.

I'd wager that a dealership with a strong social marketing campaign that influences C2C (customer to customer interaction) will see that number go up. Yahoo! did a study and found that 20% of car recommendations by influencers we're followed and that the average car buying customer recommends their purchase to 20 different people on a one to one basis. Anyway, thats where my thought process is on that.
Ralph, did a study on this back in 2003 or 04. I am sure they still have it and I am sure if you did the same study today you would find an even more inconsistancy.

The only consistancy you will find is they are in market and will be buying something. Don't make the mistake of not giving them choice.

Let me know if you find the cars study, I would also be interested if they have updated it in the past few years.


what did come up with?
Hey Larry,

The report only said that the majority of car buyers bought another vehicle than the one the originally inquired about.

I was working there at that time.

David the number is 17%...

You might remember us chatting about this back in the wild west. The months were not consistent but we looked at about 10 stores at least every 90 days right through from lead to follow up call even if they had purchased somewhere else.

Internet research changes people's minds, places them in the state of overwhelm on what can be an out gradient subject for them to try and tackle. That's why it is so important to become successfully "positioned as the expert" to the point where "the magnetism of the relationship supersedes the physical piece of metal one is buying". You need to be the first choice and the vehicle second. I believe it’s the only way the sales person can be “at cause” over the buying cycle and create certainty in the mind of the customer that they are making the right decision.

So while the number being low may seem disappointing in some respects, the fact is that the lower the number, the greater the opportunity is to become “positioned as the expert”, create certainty for the customer and thus stay in control of our income.

Jerry McGuire: “Less is More”

Hope that is helpfull

The section that Troy refers to:

"Taking a closer look at conversion over time, 43% purchased a new vehicle of the intended make within the first 30 days of lead submission. After that, new vehicle of intended make conversion dropped more than half to 21% within 60 days while used vehicle sales of any make more than doubled during the same time period — from 22% within 30 days to 50% within 60 days. After 90 days, new vehicle of intended make conversion dropped to 13% while used vehicle sales of any make increased slightly to 53%. The longer a lead remains unsold, the more likely it is to convert to a used vehicle. Dealers should respond promptly to leads and have systems in place to market to car shoppers in a way that addresses what the consumer is likely to purchase based on the age of the lead. Suggesting a used vehicle alternative to a new vehicle lead as the lead ages could help convert the lead to a sale. Additionally, with a third of leads converting after 90 days, dealers who continue to market to consumers will benefit by selling to those with purchase timeframes beyond a three month period."
--From "2008 Automotive eShopper Experience Study"*

*Source: The 2007 Dealer eBusiness Study, conducted by Cobalt, in
partnership with Yahoo! and R. L. Polk and Co.


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