| Leads: Friend or Foe?
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Leads: Friend or Foe?

Originally posted to Medium.

Leads. We are guessing that’s a word that pops up fairly frequently over at your dealership. Is our website producing enough leads? Where are most of our leads coming from? Is someone responding to them quickly enough? These questions and more are being asked at dealerships throughout Canada. And yet…Do you really understand what kinds of leads you are getting? Do you recognize the difference between a soft and a hard lead? And, most importantly, are leads even your friend?

It wasn’t so long ago that we were evangelising about Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs) being the most important metric any dealership should consider. In fact, we outright claim that,

“When an in-market shopper is looking for a specific vehicle and lands on your VDP with all the information, details, and descriptions they need to satisfy their questions, it’s game on.”

We firmly believe this at TRFFK. The more information you have on your site, the less friction there is between it and your buyer walking onto your lot knowing which car they want to buy. But you know what that means, don’t you? Less leads! That’s right, when a potential buyer has to call to find out the price of a car, you might have a lead (a hard lead, no less,) but you have also created distance between the customer and the likelihood they will have come on to your lot this weekend. However, when someone views your map, this is also a lead (albeit a soft one,) and often times these can be overlooked. Whether you call them hard and soft leads, explicit and implicit, or macro and micro, there is a clear difference between them. At TRFFK we believe that when you understand these differences, as well as whether they are actually helping or hindering your business, you will be better empowered in your marketing efforts.

Also known as explicit leads and macro leads. These are the more traditional leads that people think of and that conversions are typically calculated on. Here are some examples:

  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Form fills
  • Walk ins (yes — we include this because this is the ultimate conversion from the thorough information you have displayed on your VDP.)
    These are the small steps your potential buyers are taking that incrementally build up to become harder leads and, eventually, sales. Sometimes these can be overlooked in importance. Here are some examples:

  • Add to compare
  • Calculate finance package
  • Click to reveal phone
  • Dealer link clicks (exit links)
  • Email VDP
  • Print VDP
  • Request Carproof
  • Save car
  • Social share DV
  • View carproof (no email)
  • View map
  • Get directions
  • Were you expecting such a long list? Are you currently looking at these elements and considering them as a type of lead? If not, you are missing out on a few chapters critical to the understanding of your overall marketing story and customer journey. Remember, it can take several visits to your site to gather information, compare, research, and review before many potential customers are ready to take the next step. These soft leads tell that story. That’s why at TRFFK, we monitor all leads, hard and soft, because we want you to understand the big picture.

    What does all this mean for your team? Firstly, remember that too many hard leads coming in translates to a lack of critical information on your VDPs. Second, identify the difference between a hard and a soft lead. And, finally, make sure you take the whole picture into account when you are looking at customer activity, and understand that their journey to buying a car does not follow one straight line but has multiple touchpoints instead. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn about that journey from reviewing your soft leads.

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