The True “Perfect Lead” is Not a Lead at All

handing over car keys

Recently I read an article about a third-party lead provider pushing for greater access into the client’s dealer management system; it’s amazing how much control and leverage some dealerships are willing to hand over in exchange for a lead! Thankfully many dealers are realizing the power of owning these leads and putting campaigns and strategies together to cultivate their own first-party lead base.

First party leads, those leads that originate in the dealership, create many advantages, among them:

  • First party leads close at a higher rate than any other source, often three to four times the conversion of third party leads.
  • First party leads are less expensive to obtain than other sources.
  • First-party leads enable the dealership to own the client data and market and up sell additional services.
  • First-party leads help establish and nurture customer relationships and loyalty.

The marketing landscape has become so fragmented; dealers must have an advantage that sets their store further apart from the competition. As paid clicks become more expensive and SEO becomes more time consuming, conversion and visit optimizations tied into first-party leads will be the future of digital marketing.

Today’s leads paving the way to the true “perfect lead”.

I am often asked to define the perfect lead and have come to the conclusion the perfect lead is a dealership visit. There is no higher closing lead than the showroom visit. So in effect, the perfect lead is no lead at all. It’s all about your show ratios. Is it more important to gather 250 leads that result in ten sales or produce 75 shows that result in twenty sales?

The discussion is changing from one about the volume of leads and traffic to the conversion of those leads into showroom visits. Lead to show ratio will be heard more often as we head into the later part of 2012. It’s no longer enough to provide a lead. It’s time to drill down into what is turning those leads into shows. Dealerships should have the ability to track a showroom lead down to the keyword that created the initial interest.

By researching the conversion rates over time, principals will be able to lower their ad and PPC costs and focus more on the call to action and incentives that are bringing people in their door. And it’s not enough to just put these incentives on your website. Conversion-based campaigns should be used across marketing channels and be adaptable in social media, mobile, email and print campaigns.

Conversion-based marketing is what true digital marketing should be highly targeted, refined, easily tracked, and resulting in higher sales for lower lead costs.

Larry Bruce is the founder of ShowroomMagnet, an incentive-based lead generator that moves online leads to the showroom floor. Find out more at

Cody Larson


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