We have agreements with about everyone....had a terrible experience with Carsdirect 72 leads 0 sales...and customers seem to use it as a wish lists...for new or used...not to mention I hate that they have a site to tell me how much I should be selling my cars for. AutoUSA seemed less attractive when they lost Edmunds. Imotors/Reply.com very low closing ratio..similiar customers to Carsdirect.


So currently we are using Autobytel, Zag, Edmunds, KBB, Dealix, we even pay for 3rd party leads from the manufacturer. We get a total of 550-600 leads on average.

Who do you like....and why?

I am always looking for good companies that are not on my lists or radar and would love to know your closing ratios....

We close over 11% when you include the leads driven by our website...and I have 2 experienced managers and 2 people with no car experience answering the leads. We have a decent system I put in place.

I am just not getting enough leads and I want more traffic...(that does not mean I want to expand my miles radius past 25)...whenever I have stretched it out the close ratio drops too much and puts my R.O.I. out of wack.


Look forward to the thoughts out there.

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Thanks Mike, I will take a look at this and do some reasearch.....we have good traffic on our websites...but do not generate a huge amount of business off of it. Both stores are newer so we are fighting a bad reputation that used to have the franchises in each city and establish ourselves at the same time.


Best to you

Mike Warwick said:

You've got the thrid party leads covered so I would look at putting a coupon onto the webiste.  Dealeron has a great product with their E-Autosavings coupon.  Depending on how much traffic your site gets, you can easily generate an additional 75-150 leads a month from this coupon.


If your PPC is performing well, you can also look to increase that budget.

thanks Gillon, I will be in contact with you. Best for now...

Gillon S Johannson said:

We like Active Engage a bit. Though their methods and actions are sometimes aggrivating to both my internet personal and the customers, we do seem to be able to sell cars off of their leads, and they have also several times set appointments. You can call me and ask about them if you like or would like to discuss this issue and my thoughts on the big picture. 971-544-9041

We get a lot of bogus stuff from Dealix, though some good stuff...Autotrader=poor...cars.com mas y menos....but call me.




They have the best closing ratios actually...one is 13% the other is never below 12%...the ones that already have experience actually bring my average down. My system is hard for those who have experience to adapt to....to trust I guess would be a better word....most fight it....even after they see the results others get....they are not far off the non-experienced ones...it is the difference usually of 1 deal a month...so not enough to get upset about..just continue to work, train and mentor them to follow the system in place.

Mike Warwick said:
You may actually be better off investing in training for the two inexperienced lead handlers.  What are their closing rates?

Tony, we have a system in place that generates 8 email attempts and 7 phone calls spaced over a 15 day period. That is the minimum for how the system works....I personally call a few times during that period and send 2 emails. I started off back in 2001 trying to understand the internet business. I saw the potential then and thought this was going to be a big part of how things are going to change. Since that point I have spent the last decade perfecting a follow up system that would maximize contact, allow good flow, (I.E. make sure it is reasonable how many calls and emials are expected daily), and lastly make sure the people making the calls and emails have the right mindset to do the work.

I go through every single lead....the problem with the leads we got were rather simple....there was only a few who were really interested in buying a car. Maybe not what we sold...or maybe they were not in our area and bought closer to home. But when I reviewed the leads...there was not one deal that we missed. Meaning the few who were buyers bought at another manufacturer or a like manufacturer but closer to home.

We had the opportunity to try 2 free months...and for 2 locations and 4 Internet salespeople who each individually have closing ratios over 10%....they could not close 1 deal....The notes they left me were very detailed and it was obvious the frustration each had working the deals.


I was nice in parting ways with your company...I said maybe in the future we will look at this again....BUT one very frustrating and insulting product you have that I do not like is a site that tells customers what they should pay for a vehicle. Who made your company the authority that we should sell cars for a loss?


When we did have contact with customers they threw this out at me like we were trying to rip them off....and I looked at what they were reading.....your suggested prices were deep into the holdback.....and seemed to never be in the same zip code with reality of what I could sell the vehicle for.....


It has to be said..if we consitantly close over 10% but could not even close 1 deal...it may not be us.

Tony Abbott said:

Gosh Robert,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience with CarsDirect.com. How was your process? With 72 opportunities how can you not have at least one sale? I would be happy to go through each and every lead with you and find out where and what happened to these opportunities. Please contact me. I would like to address this issue with you.

Tony Abbott
Dealer Relations
Hello Rich, the name of your company is?

Rich Soviero said:



      We have a program that consistently delivers 100+ leads per month to our dealer clients,and they are closing from 9-15% These leads are generated directly from your inventory and within the radius you want to focus on. If you would like to know more please call me at 954-658-2900

I agree.....we are a new company...so website traffic is lighter then it should be....I see us growing every month...and I am encouraged...but we are fighting negative press and reviews from previous owners and management....I need it would be a slow process to turn this ....but that is why I am investiing in 3rd parties at this point to push the numbers faster.

Gillon S Johannson said:

Wow Robert, you're attracting a lot of sales types. Here's what I think...#'s of leads, and closing #'s are nothing. Its all about lead quality. The closer the lead is to your own website, the better it is. Would love to chat.



I actually put everyone both experienced and non-experienced through my personal training program....not to mention they are put into a system that is automated that they are to follow.


I actually read every email they recieve and send......listen to every phone call.....we have a meeting every Monday to discuss what is working...what is frustrating....and throughout the week they recieve emails from me on what they are doing right...what they missed......what I would like them to think about on this deal or here is what the customer needs to pull the trigger.....I like that they are thinking more like I think and I notice more and more I do not have to say anything...they instinctively are looking outside the box on how to close the customer....my newest guy who is experienced but has only worked with me going on his 3rd month....was the lowest close ratio but this month has the highest.....It is a combo of him filling his pipeline finally and in my humble opinion he no longer fights my process.

Michael Abrams said:

Funny, I was thinking the opposite.  Most training in this area has the inverse effect.  It's the training that causes the adversarial relationships to flourish in this business.  I recommend that you all read some of Tom Watson's findings on this  at www.skildev.net 

Mike Warwick said:
You may actually be better off investing in training for the two inexperienced lead handlers.  What are their closing rates?

I am not sure which site you are speaking of.....One was redesigned and it is performing pretty well....I am still tinkering with it by adding videos but not sure what else I can do to push the SEO.....the other site needs help...I am interviewing companies and I plan on starting over from scratch....the previous manager built it and I do not know why the owner dragged his feet on this..but he did not want me to touch it until just this month....I am hoping to be moving forward this month with the changes......(This is the KIA store I am talking about)..after reading through...you are talking about the KIA site...yes I agree it is garbage.....amazing that I still get the traffic I get....I hope in a month to invite you back to see my changes.


William Bryant said:

Okay, this is my candid response because you are getting a ton of leads and only selling 60-66 cars/mo... I can narrow down much deeper if you want about your closing ratio because I think it should be much higher, but not right now. Right now, here's what I see:

#1 when I go to your website (the place where your leads close the best) nothing draws me in. There's no call to action on your home page. Really you shouldn't be trying to sell me on your home page, just quickly putting me into where I really want to end up -- New Inventory and Used Inventory. As dumb as this sounds these links are not prominent enough, let's make then stand out -- each on their own. 

#2 speaking of the nav bar, let's bury that Facebook link a little since I don't want any reason to distract visitors on my website to somewhere else. I want them looking at inventory! Reading my reviews! Watching my videos!

I suggest having a "NEW CARS" main nav link, "USED CARS" nav link, with your $10k or less and inventory links the first ones below these main links so people don't have to even think about where they're going. Internet ADD anyone?

#3 The inventory details page -- Again, get rid of that daggum Facebook link. I don't want them on Facebook I want them shopping cars. Again, here there's no call to action on this page. Let's add a CALL ME NOW 877-313-2767. Also with dealer.com you can add a "click for best price" on your main nav page (and also on the inventory details page) which is proven to create more leads.

#4 It wouldn't hurt, either, to have at least one real picture of the actual car. This will help generate more leads.

#5 Inventory Details Page -- There's that facebook button again, be gone! Let's throw in a "CLICK TO TEST DRIVE" button or a "CLICK TO GET APPROVED" button that will actually generate a lead. Call dealer.com and ask about that "Click here for the best price" button, which will show right below your "Internet Price $20,840" on the details page. That's a very prominent call to action which was always one of the most used lead forms.

#6 One step no one else takes on this page is, notice all that dead white space below the main picture of the car? Below that you can insert a picture (maybe of your internet team, be personal!) and another call to action like "CALL ME NOW 877-313-2767" (let's get them off that mouse and on the phone baby!)...


Well there's a lot of steps you can take right now for FREE to generate more 1st party (high closing ratio) leads. Live chat would also be great on your site.


And let me say one thing about pop-up coupons -- if you have a well optimized lead generating monster of a site, these will actually hurt your conversion ratio! I've tried them all over the place and get the same results. On a mediocre site, sure, but there's so many other free and better things to do.


Robert if you need more help, just call me.

William Bryant


thanks Sheldon....I will take a look at it.

Sheldon Goldman said:
If you are looking to bring in customers with older vehicles that will generate business for your service and parts department, and the opportunity to sell them a new or used vehicle,you might look at www.autorepairmoney.com . This company  has started in North jersey and is now expanding nationwide. There is never any charge or fee other than a customer discount for the affinity group and internet customers they send. Check out their website wwwautorepairmoney.com and use zip code 07470



Actually the sales results are pretty equal....the top person to the lowest was only 3 cars difference while 2 tied. That is with 2 different rooftops...I am running an ad today actually as I want to add 1 person....Since they all recieve about the same amount of leads and they all have similiar closing ratios....the results month in and month out are pretty consistant.

Jason Mickelson said:

Mr. Hildreth,

In my previous experience we found Autobytel to send many of the same leads that AutoUSA sent, but usually they were 10 minutes to sometimes even hours behind.  Time is of the essence so you might take a look back and see if any of the lead providers have a tendency of delivering the leads quicker.

When it comes to 3rd party leads, I don't believe there will ever be a magic vendor that comes around and offers some new product that will add on significantly more leads that close at a high rate.  It is a great question though.  I am always watching for something along those lines, too.

The other answers that others shared with you regarding your website are really the area that would be a great place to start focusing on as well.  It sounds like you are selling a bunch of cars with only a couple of people.  Have you thought about adding additional members to your sales team? 

Never heard of them....I have there site up and I will do some reasearch....I appreciate the input and advice.

Zuzana Friedt said:
It seems like AutoBytel, Dealix and AutoUSA are getting the leads from the same sources - there are a lots of duplicates. Did you give a chance to CarSoup? It's working very well for us plus they are not expensive.



Loved your input and It sounds like we are cut from the same Car DNA. I am beefing up on 3rd party leads because I have relatively new franchises in 2 different cities an hour and a half apart. One is Chevrolet and one is KIA. Both are taking on a really bad reputation. I have worked with the Yahoo's and Yelps of the world to remove the negative reviews that are being tagged to us. I have redone one website and finally got the green light to redo the KIA site which is garbage at the moment. My goal is 100 per person but I am expanding and lost a person at the same time....so the ratio is out of wack but I am interviewing for a replacment.


My team answers the leads calls the leads.....and they are the same that do the demo, write up delivery etc etc....When they are overwhelmed I help out and I have no problem making 50 calls on top of eveything else I do.


I am displeased with what we have going on....I just think there has to be more to this whole thing then chasing these 3rd party leads....while I am working on SEO and repairing our reputation I want more of the pie.....more sales...you know typcial for aggresive guys like us....no matter what I get it is not enough

Kevin A Lepine said:

Great questions here... I think the same frequently and completely agree with your outlook on the providers you mentioned. Are your people answering the leads, also selling the car and providing test drives or are they just setting appointments for the Salespeople? With 550-600 leads a month even 4 people doesn't sound like enough for constant follow up of the leads (especially if their selling the car too). Too many dealerships I see out there work them for a week and forget if there is no reply... They MUST have CONSISTENT follow up for at least 90 days! I have heard many varying "quotas" for how many to take but I have seen from experience that a "salesman" taking the leads from start to finish shouldn't have any more then 80-100 fresh leads in any given month. An "appointment setter" should have no more the 150-175. I have seen that just tweaking this will provide MUCH better results.


As getting leads, I have used just about all the main 3rd party lead gens.... Thing is, they are NEVER consistent! I have seen time and time again these 3rd party vendors praise their leads as being the best around and giving even 30-60 day trial periods. Most do excellent the first few months then start to go downhill fast. I could mimic what you say about CarsDirect leads, AutoUSA had some amazing leads to start but turned out some horrific results after a few months, Autobytel was horrible back in the day but last year sold us on their change and was INCREDIBLE for well over a year (20%+ closing ratio) but now, well, leads are awful and I am considering pulling the plug VERY soon (-3% closing into sales for 3 months). We used Zag for a while but their business model does not make sense at all with competitors in our area going past the point of making ANY profits at all with those sales and still having to pay ZAG $300. We recently signed up for the new Edmiunds program and I have not seen much to impress me as of yet but its still very new and time will tell. Dealix was good for a while but quickly went to bad leads when taking them all on, so now we only take the "hot" leads from them. All of these providers already know what will be a good or bad leads and some even price the leads accordingly. The constant though is that they will send EVERY lead they get to you and cross their fingers u don't catch all/most of the bad ones. Its an endless cycle but we must keep on it. 


Listen, My process here is not perfect but we do a good job and have a process that we stick to with EVERY customer regardless of where they come from. ALL of of leads that come from our Manufacturer or our own website close at 20%+ EVERY month into sales and we see 40%-50% walk through the door EVERY month as appointments. We work on getting more leads from those sources and slowly are getting there but no matter what we do, there will ALWAYS be a need for 3rd party lead gens... Its just a matter of keeping on top of them and using the ones that work for YOUR STORE. Every store, every brand and even location will produce different results with the providers, We just need to keep on top of them to see which are not providing consistent results and use the ones that are. 

Ultimately we need to draw as many leads from our own sources as possible and work them to the bone... 3rd party generators will always be inconsitant. Its not a matter of how many your getting, its a matter of what your doing with them when they arrive. 11% total into sales in not BAD but 15% is what I shoot for every month and usually hit. Don't get me wrong... Still use these 3rd party providers but only the ones that work. There is the old saying... "Quality not quantity".


Seems like we use the same providers right now... Have you found any other providers out there? I always like to try new sources to se what they are providing and most importantly WHERE they are coming from. 


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