How to Increase Sales Leads From Dealership Websites

Slide presentation from Straight North shows the value of lead validation

A car dealership website should be a tremendous source of sales leads. As dealers well know, new and used car buyers scour the Internet to research cars, prices, and dealers. The slide presentation below, created by professional SEO company Straight North, reveals how dramatically website lead generation is improved by validating sales leads before turning them over to your sales team.

Simply put, lead validation is the process of sifting through website-generated form and phone inquiries to separate true sales leads from non-leads. Our own client data, discussed in the slide presentation, indicates as many as half of website-generated inquiries are something other than leads.

Handing off all inquiries to sales reps forces them to sift through these non-leads, leaving them less time to focus on serious leads. But if the dealership has screeners validating website leads in advance, the sales team spends more time selling—probably a lot more.

Key characteristics of a lead generation website

One of the findings in our study, discussed in Slide 19, is particularly important for car dealerships:

“The first visit [to the website] is crucial. After the first visit, the drop-off is rapid and significant. This tells us that with lead generation, many website visitors are searching for the best company, vetting it based on website quality, and once they find the ideal company, they convert into a sales lead.”

How well a dealership website stacks up against the competition on the first viewing is a high stakes proposition: If the car shopper is not impressed, the numbers say he or she will not be back.

Things that make a dealership website stand out to prospective car buyers:

  • Mobile-friendly. Internet access from mobile devices now exceeds desktop access. If the dealership website delivers a poor experience to mobile users, it is reducing its lead potential by double digits.
  • Page-loading speed. A slow-loading Web page frustrates users. If a website fails here, all the great content it holds won’t matter, because nobody will wait around to see it.
  • Credibility. On a first viewing, visitors want to know if a dealership is reliable and reputable. Testimonials, awards, and company information should be prominent in navigation rather than buried deep down in the site.
  • Vehicle information. Can visitors quickly navigate to specific vehicles they are interested in? Once visitors find a vehicle, does they find detailed information and a photo? The more tangible the vehicle is, the more likely the visitor is to inquire.
  • Inquiry forms and phone numbers. Inquiry forms should be simple, with as few fields as possible. The primary goal of the form is to begin a dialog with a member of the dealership sales team. If visitors are required to spend a lot of time filling out the form, they are likely to seek out another dealership with a simpler process. The sales department phone number should be prominent on every page of the website; in mobile device viewing, a click-to-call phone icon should always be visible on the screen.

As COO at Straight North, Aaron Wittersheim focuses on Internet marketing services, website service, and technology. He provides a critical link between technology and strategic Internet marketing by ensuring that the agency maintains the technical efficiency and sophistication to carry out its complex, integrated campaigns.

Aaron Wittersheim


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