Independence is a quality that salespeople possess, and that runs all the way up the ladder in variable operations. Being self-sufficient in generating traffic online and in-person and turning those leads into buyers is a source of pride. But what happens when the leads aren’t coming in as hot and heavy anymore?
Salespeople go through individual slumps, no doubt. Dealerships can find themselves in similar situations, but it’s more commonly an issue with the industry or economy rather than a personnel problem. Sales professionals are well trained in identifying a customer’s needs and following the process to turn high-quality leads into buyers. If the drought has extended to all your sales staff, you can be sure it isn’t your people.
Still, car shoppers are out there. Some are just starting their journey and others are ready to pull the trigger today. Identifying buyers who are further down the sales funnel is easy when you have them coming to you. And that’s the perfect reason to partner with a lead generation company.
What Lead Gens Do Best
GMs and dealer principals have almost certainly had lead generation companies come knocking. Essentially, they all have the same purpose. The lead gen company positions themselves online as a way for people to match with the vehicle they want or need, especially targeting the subprime consumer where profits are typically higher.
Once an interested potential party fills out the online form and submits it, it becomes a lead that is passed on to a dealer that fits the customer’s criteria.
What lead gens do best is entice people who think they aren’t able to buy a car to submit a long-shot credit application. The ones who pre-qualify in some fashion are sent to dealer partners.
This method of gathering leads is casting a net much wider than the dealer alone can do. And for that reason, when times are tough, pulling a few fresh fish from that net could be the savior for your sales department.
What to Watch For
Not all lead generation companies are on the same level. Since dealers pay for the leads they receive, it benefits lead gens to fill their requests for leads even if the quality of the applicant isn’t up to par. An application might be incomplete, missing personal information or with a false phone number, or the applicant might be so far on the fringes that an actual deal is virtually impossible.
When choosing a lead generation company, there are a few things every dealer should do.
- Ask for references. The top echelon of lead generation companies have dealer partners who will rave about their success. References should be freely given on the spot or you should be wary.
- Find out if leads are exclusive. It’s not an uncommon practice for low-priced lead gens to fire the same leads to multiple dealers, unknowingly leaving it to them to compete for the customer’s business.
- Ask about their policy on broken leads. If an incomplete application comes through or the applicant doesn’t have a sliver of a chance, a good lead gen will exchange it for a good one. This should be few and far between.
- Pricing should remain consistent. While higher quantities of leads will be discounted, there shouldn’t be a major pricing change soon after you sign on.
In the stiff automotive market today, lead generation companies can provide the edge your dealership needs to push to the top of the heap. Investing in leads will help drive your team through the slumps and is a great source for new prospects, albeit at a price.