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Leads. What Happens When the Well Runs Dry?

Leads. We can never get enough. The search is always on for the source that provides the most, the best and the most qualified person to come in and buy. Oh, and we want it to make the most money for the least amount of money.

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Options. What are they?

There are, of course, the more “traditional sources” of TV, radio and print. All of which are hard to track and generally show themselves as an up on the lot. Customers see an offer one time, 10 times, 50 times … but they eventually come in. Done deal.

Then there are other sources such as TrueCar, CarGurus, Cars.com, etc. These provide a customer who has sought out a particular vehicle or offer. They know what they want and the price they want it for. Easy. A lay down — if you get the chance to talk to them before your neighbor up the street does. With these, it’s a race to the bottom, and you’re having to price your inventory as low as possible to keep up.

The question then becomes, what happens when the well runs dry? Dealerships are all dipping their bucket into the same well day after day, pulling out every lead, fighting for the chance to earn their business. Who will win them over? Who will get them to engage? Who will be the one to get them through the door?

Because these leads are often sold and shared to multiple stores, the window to be the first to get in touch and get them bought is narrow. So narrow that at times they are followed up with for only a couple of weeks before being marked dead, moved to the graveyard and back-burnered. Although the old saying “buy or die” is said on a daily basis, a lot of leads are quickly moved on from if the customer does not engage. I liken it to chum being dropped into an ocean full of sharks. They are all thrashing around fighting trying to get a piece, then suddenly the fight is over and the ocean is quiet.

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What if there was a different source? One that never ran dry? 

This source is Facebook.

In addition to ads that redirect potential buyers to a landing page, Facebook also has lead gen ads. You are able to gather customer info, submit a lead form and generate the lead all within a few clicks. These tend to be higher funnel buyers, and with the right follow-up tool. You have just bought yourself a ticket to long-term, incremental business. Grosses are a definite bonus. Couple all of this with a low cost per lead and it’s a no brainer.

Facebook leads are probably most similar to the “traditional sources” previously mentioned. The difference being, we don’t know how many times someone sees a commercial before they come in. If it’s one or 50, they could go to any store that carries the brand they saw on TV. Not much dealer loyalty and no relationship building.

Facebook allows you to pull people into the market vs. capturing in-market shoppers. These were all people trying to see what their friends were doing on Facebook, not shopping for a car. They take work. They require relentless follow up. In a world where instant gratification has perpetuated the love of lower funnel leads, Facebook has been largely overlooked.

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The ability to be forward thinking and allocate budget to get in front of the “out of market” shopper will become more and more important as people rely on social media to stay connected and do their shopping from home. Capturing information and building relationships before someone might know what they are looking for allows you to be one step ahead of your competition, make higher grosses and create a strong pipeline for future business.

The conclusion? Diversify. Rethink how your budget is allocated. Spend a good chunk on Facebook, build a strong working pipeline, and have the right tools in place to be able to follow up long term on a massive scale.

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