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Be in the Know: Current New Car Buying Trends

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by credit

It is important for dealers to understand how car shoppers think and behave when they buy a new car. Understanding current consumer behavior trends in the automotive industry is one important element in causing your dealership to prosper. Through studies and research findings, you would know how you could more effectively capture new car leads despite frequent shifts in car shoppers’ behavior. Consider the following findings from a few researches.

Kelley Blue Book (KBB) asked their visitors through a poll about their thoughts on different aspects of buying a new car. Here’s what they found:

  • Nearly 60% of Americans do not like haggling the price when buying a new car.
  • 67% of the respondents said that they are more likely to test drive a vehicle if they will not be required to do it with a salesperson. They prefer doing the test drive alone.
  • Car manufacturers usually come all-out in their end-of year clearance promotions. However, KBB’s poll results showed that majority (60%) said that end-of-year clearance promotions do not affect their car buying decision.
  • The poll results showed that most (42%) of the respondents will never buy a car online. This is despite what other recent surveys showed that most car buyers now turn to the Internet, and even access it through their phones, to shop for cars.
  • Most of the respondents defined vehicle quality as a vehicle with a long life span that is able to withstand “wear and tear.”
  • Despite the new technology set up in new vehicles now, majority (29%) said that they do not need any hi-tech features in the new car they are going to buy.

Meanwhile, Ad-ology also found interesting and significant facts from their 2012 Auto Shoppers Forecast. The study found that 36% of U.S. Consumers plan to buy a new car in the next 12 months. Comparing that to last year’s result, it shows a 64% increment. Moreover, the study also found factors that affect or influence the car purchase process.

  • Websites of auto makers and dealers appeared to be as influential as the dealer’s sales people in a car shopper’s car buying decision.
  • The dealership’s service department ranked 4th most important factor that car shoppers consider in choosing a dealership. At the top of dealership’s service department are willingness to negotiate, dealership reputation, and selection of vehicle available.
  • Automotive advertising was found to be more influential than the prospective buyer’s friends or parents.
  • More than half of the respondents said that television advertising caused them to take action than newspaper and Internet banner ads which ranked only 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

These findings, and others as you do more research, can greatly help you in creating more efficient strategies in generating and converting more new car leads into sales.

The Internet’s Role in Generating New Car Sales Leads

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by credit


Car dealers should realize that as the automotive industry recovers, the market for new vehicles remains lively. A recent study done by J.D. Power showed that 77% of new car buyers use the Internet to help them in the car shopping process. The Internet has been a great contributing factor in making the competition in the industry livelier and tighter. Thus, car dealers need to be more aggressive in catching new car sales leads.

Based on the study, some of the factors that affect the generation of new car leads in the Internet are the age of the car shopper and customer loyalty. The study found that the likeliness of a car shopper to use the Internet to shop for cars decreases as the age increases. Car shoppers who are in their 30s and 40s are most likely to use the Internet to shop for cars while those who are aged above 70 years are unlikely to use the Internet to shop for cars. In terms of submitting an online request or turning into new car sales leads, the same age groups who are most likely to use the Internet for car shopping are also the ones who are most likely to submit an online request. Interestingly, car shoppers aged more than 70 years, together with those who are under 30 years old, are the groups who are unlikely to submit an online request.

The study also compared the likeliness of existing or loyal dealership customers to turn into new car sales leads with that of new customers. It would be easy to assume that those who have an existing relationship with a dealership would not be interested anymore to look at other options. However, the results showed that there is a considerable number of loyal customers who are still using the Internet for car shopping, although they are still less likely to submit an online request.

Car dealers should consider these trends well in automotive consumer behavior. To keep pace, they should use all available and possible online marketing strategies to generate more new car sales leads. Moreover, the study implies that car dealers need to take care of their existing customers as customer loyalty plays an important role in keeping a dealership alive. According to the study, the common reasons why new car buyers purchase from a certain dealership are their prior experience with it, recommended by friends, and the information they got from the Internet, which appears to be the most influential reason outside dealership experience.

Excellent Dealer Response: Key Element to Satisfy New Car Leads

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by credit

One of the most important aspects in converting internet new car leads is your response to them. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist anymore to figure out that your response must be quick. Here are some facts to give you more concrete reasons why you should take your internet-generated leads seriously.

Response Time

Customer satisfaction is a vital element in keeping your leads and having consistent growth in sales. One way to achieve that is to have excellent responses to each query.

Based on a J.D. Power study, customers love receiving responses within an hour or less. In a 10-point scale, an 8.6 satisfaction rating was given by car shoppers to such response time. So far, dealers have been doing a great job responding to online queries almost all the time. The study also noted that car shoppers most likely buy from dealerships who responded to their queries.

Sufficient Information

Aside from being quick, satisfy your leads by giving them the information they have requested. In the study, a small percentage of the respondents said that some dealerships do respond but only answer with limited information. Apparently, this kind of response pushes customer satisfaction rating down. The study noted that some dealers only give limited information because they prefer disclosing more information when the new car lead visits their dealership.

According to the study, the information that leads often request for are the car price and the availability, features and specifications of a car model. Among these, the car price is the most requested information. It is therefore important to respond to your leads by providing them with the information they have requested for to win their satisfaction.

Other Contributing Factors

The study also showed that internet leads must be contacted immediately. The sales process or the lead conversion process does not start when the new car lead has visited your dealership. It starts at your first contact with them. This is also where you have the opportunity to establish good relationships with your prospects. In addition, sending the same sales staff to help a customer until the end of the purchase boosts customer satisfaction rating.

Customer Satisfaction

Why is customer satisfaction a big deal? You could only produce loyal customers when they are satisfied with you, your service, and your dealership. Loyal customers would keep coming back to you for future vehicle purchase, your services, and even recommend you to their network of influence. Moreover, satisfied and loyal customers would not turn to other options, giving you guaranteed sales. Keep in mind that good dealership and vehicle experience will result in customer loyalty. Thus, take care of new car leads well and always strive to meet their expectations.

Turning Your New Car Leads Into Used Car Sales

Posted on: June 8th, 2012 by credit

A car shopper was looking at a brand new Toyota Camry but he ended up buying a pre-owned Honda Civic. This kind of consumer behavior in the automotive industry should no longer be surprising to car dealers. However, many are still unaware of this phenomenon, boxing their offers and sales opportunity in what their car leads were first interested in.

The truth is, new car leads do not necessarily buy new cars anymore, neither do used car leads buy used cars only. The study conducted by The Cobalt Group in 2007 showed that 41% of the 90% of the new car leads they have surveyed were initially interested in buying a new vehicle but were later sold used cars. Meanwhile, 36% were also interested in new cars but purchased them from brands different from the ones they had been initially looking at. These results tell car dealers that car shoppers are open to other options and could shift to a different interest later on.

However, the results also showed that 10% of the new car leads bought from the dealership to which they have sent their information. The remaining 90% went to other dealerships to buy their desired car. The study said that this percentage represents the lost opportunity that dealers often experience. This means that dealers could have gotten the leads and converted them into sales if only they had been quicker and more aggressive.

Considering the facts stated above, how then would you take advantage of the fact that consumers are open to other options? The sad truth is, many car dealers do not know how to take advantage of this great opportunity to make more sales out of their new car leads. Here are some techniques you should learn.

First, respond immediately. You have to keep in mind that you are in a competition and your competitors are swift. When you receive a query, get back to it at once. That interested car shopper might be stolen by your competitors if you are too slow to respond. When you respond, answer all the questions of the prospect honestly.

Second, do not give up on following up your leads. Keep your communication with them. Update your blogs and website with fresh content regularly. Promote special offers, discounts and new models in your car lot by sending them emails. Remember that leads close after an average of 90 days. Be patient and don’t stop pursuing them until they make a decision.

Lastly, lay out other options to your leads. Again, it is possible for a car shopper to shift to a totally different interest. Even if they are looking for a new car, try suggesting good quality used cars, for instance. You can also discuss the pros and cons to help them make a decision.

How to Get New Car Leads

Posted on: February 16th, 2012 by credit


Lead generation is less of a challenge now for car dealers.  They do not have to spend most of their time finding leads because lead companies like Approved Auto Leads can already do that for them.  What is more challenging now for car dealers is turning these new car leads into sales.  Although they are interested car buyers, most of them have several concerns that hold them back from making a firm decision.  Another challenge for car dealers is trying out various marketing techniques to make these potential car buyers say yes to their offers. How would a car dealer really close these deals when they seem hard to negotiate with?

Response is important in building a relationship with and establishing an impression to the prospect.  Car dealers should realize this: Interested car buyers themselves sent it their application because they found an offer interesting.  They would then be expecting a response to their query or application.  Thus, car dealers should not miss this opportunity to talk to them while they are still interested in the offer.  Prospective car buyers would love a quick response.  Car dealers can use auto-responders to respond to the leads quickly.  However, they themselves should make the response whenever they are available.

Communicating well with the prospective car buyers should also be a skill that car dealers should learn well.  Prospects would love to talk with a friendly, accommodating, kind and knowledgeable car dealer or sales representative.  Car dealers should then establish these traits at their first contact with the new car leads.  Even if it is through phone or email, they should be able to make the prospects feel that they are also after helping them and not just selling a car.  Potential car buyers would like to talk to someone who understands their concern and helps provide a solution for them.  To make that possible, car dealers should just verify all the information acquired–and not promote the offer– at their first response.  The goal of this first response is to get a feel of the prospect’s preferences.  Acquiring this information would make it easier for car dealers to customize an offer for him or her.

If new car leads asked for more time to decide, car dealers should just grant them the request.  However, this does not mean that they would be totally hands-off.  They can still be that helpful car dealer who is just concerned about their concerns and worries.  In this way, they can help by offering alternatives and other options.  If it is possible, they can also make necessary adjustments in their offers to accommodate the prospect.

Car dealers should never give up on new car leads unless they have already made a decision.  They should just be patient waiting for them to come up with a decision rather than leaving them immediately and losing a potential sale.

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