I've started this discussion in a few different places online, and I wanted to get this forum's take on what constitutes a third party lead.
Sitting here writing in my office in Richmond, it never occurred to me that there might be some confusion around that term. I should have gotten a clue when DrivingSales.com eliminated the "Third Party Leads" category from their product listings and moved us under "Used Car Advertising".
That is not what we do, and I don't think anyone would know to look for our finance leads there. We might get lucky if they search for "Carloan.com" on DrivingSales.com, if they know us already and think to do that.
Try this yourselves - do a Google search for "third party leads" and see what comes up.
Surprisingly, most of the results on page one have to do with third party leads for the automotive industry. Not surprisingly, none of the PPC ads in my results had the whole string "third party leads" included. (Check out the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find out why.)
It did, however, point me to this DealerRefresh transcription of an NADA 2010 panel called "Perfecting the Lead Mix for Your Dealership" that discussed the menu of lead choices available today and the different types of sales styles and follow up processes required for each. Great read, by the way.
In this case, if you look closely, the "independent internet lead" - as the Dealix rep prefers to call them - refers mainly to inventory leads as far as I can tell. Those are very different from finance leads, where for the most part the consumer has not decided on a particular make and model.
I got a few responses in other forums but wanted to open it up to you here on DealerElite: what does "third party leads" mean to you?
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