It’s getting harder and harder for dealers to identify quality leads.
Car shoppers take a complicated path on their journey to purchasing a vehicle. Their journey includes exposure to multiple media: TV, radio ads, OEM websites, and content on third-party research sources such as Cars.com, just to cite a few touch points that influence the purchase decision. Half of shoppers don’t even contact a dealer before entering the lot.
Dealers need to take a step back and identify all the ways consumers interact with them, ranging from the phone to simply walking on the lot. Fortunately, resources such as Cars.com can help. Recently, Cars.com surveyed hundreds of recent and prospective car buyers to understand how they interact with dealers throughout the purchase journey. Our research shows that a large portion of leads come from these sources:
- 50 percent go directly to the dealership.
- 22 percent call the dealership to set up an appointment.
- 14 percent submit contact information to a dealership on a desktop/laptop computer.
- 14 percent submit contact information to a dealership on the phone.
In The Cars.com Guide to Converting Leads to Sales in the Digital Era, we narrow the universe of car leads to three categories:
- Walk-in shoppers. You should treat all walk-in shoppers as high-priority leads. About two-thirds of them make a purchase within 72 hours of their on-the-lot visit, and more than half buy the same day. Walk-in shoppers are ready to buy – but only for dealers who know how to assess their interest and convert that interest to a sale.
- Phone leads. Dealers consider phone conversations to be the highest-quality leads next to walk-ins. Customers don’t take time to call a dealer unless they’re interested in buying a vehicle.
- Web leads, including email, text, a lead form, or some other form of digital contact. These types of leads give dealers a chance to better understand shopper wants and needs through the words that shoppers use to communicate. The challenge for dealers is to decode the intent of web leads.
Ultimately dealers need better attribution tools to track and identify leads – Google Analytics won’t cut it at a time when half of shoppers don’t even contact a dealer before arriving on the lot. Download The Cars.com Guide to Converting Leads to Sales in the Digital Era to get started winning with leads.
 Cars.com, Mobile Influence on Car Shopping, Cars.com, January 2017. Cars.com executed a quantitative survey of 337 recent and prospective car buyers. The survey was conducted between November 28 and December 9, 2016.
 Cars.com, Mobile Influence on Car Shopping, Cars.com, January 2017.