Third Party Leads in Automotive Sales

Nowadays, consumers spend roughly 15 hours researching cars online before ever submitting in the form of a lead. On average, 70% of these customers will visit a third party website before visiting a dealership. In turn, large amounts of internet leads come from third party lead providers such as Kelly Blue Book, TrueCar, or Edmunds. Even if the lead doesn’t come from a third party provider, it’s extremely likely that the buyer has referenced a 3rd party website before coming to your dealership.

These third party websites act as middlemen to facilitate deals for both the consumer and dealerships. At these sites, consumers can find pricing and availability, ratings and reviews, trade-in values, and much more! Since 3rd party auto sites are separate from dealers, customers place a lot of trust in them. As such, third party websites are a great source of traffic for dealerships and provide very hot car sales leads. However, these very same sites can stand in the way of closing car deals if you don’t incorporate third party lead strategies to handle this type of modern consumer. In this blog, learn how to handle 3rd party leads like a boss and sell more cars!

third party leads

Be Quick with Quality: Responding to Third Party Leads

          Just Make the Call

One of the hardest parts of third party leads is just getting in communication with the buyer. They have done the research, found a car, and entered their personal information. So, we know that they are committed to coming down to the dealership. However, in today’s competitive automotive sales marketplace, you need to be quick to get in touch with car buyers. If you want to beat other dealerships to the deal, set a response time goal to increase your chances of car sales success.

A study by found you are 100 times more likely to get the buyer on the phone if you dial them in the first 5 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes. The first 5 minutes is the sweet spot for car sales response time. So, dial quick! You should already be prepared and have call guides ready before third party leads ever come in. The reality is that car sales objections, questions, and almost anything that happens on these calls repeat. So, you should already be ready to make the call soon after any third party leads come in! For a free 3rd party lead follow up call guide, click here.

          Responding to Third Party Leads the Right Way

Third party leads give the buyer access to almost any information they want. They found a vehicle they’re interested in and likely know all information on pricing, payments, trade-in value, etc. These are extremely hot deals! Yet, a lot of automotive sales people end up losing these car deals because they don’t follow-up with quality.

Follow along with our First Response Internet Call Guide to learn how to set the appointment nearly every time with 3rd party leads:

  • Step 1 – Show the buyer appreciation and introduce yourself.
  • Step 2 – Thank the buyer, acknowledge their progress, and compliment their choice. By referencing what they’ve done on a third party website, you show that you have done your homework and are prepared to properly handle their business. Alongside a compliment, this is a fantastic way to start off the car deal with the customer. Next, utilize a pause. This lets any objections come from buyers and allows you to keep the deal progressing without focusing on any negatives yourself.
  • Step 3 – Confirm that the vehicle the buyer submitted a lead on is available.
  • Step 4 – Ask the customer when they can come into the dealership to check it out and take a test drive.
  • No Appointment – If the appointment is still not set, then you can build on the deal and further your chances of setting the appointment with a few different strategies. You can engage their trade, offer a test drive so they can make a more informed decision, or ask questions that allow you to expand your inventory.

Diversify Follow Up to Third Party Leads

Buyers who submit in the form of a third-party lead want you to contact them. So, if you are unable to break through over the phone at first, make sure to follow up through a variety of channels. For example, you should additionally text and send emails to these buyers.

In written communication channels, it’s important to make sure that relevant or eye-catching information is readily available. Don’t send fluff 3rd party lead follow up just to get there first. Send quality information regarding what they want and put it in your follow up early enough that buyers don’t need to search around for information. Sending customers on a scavenger hunt for information is oftentimes a one-way ticket to their spam folder.

Moreover, keep in mind the extra things car sales professionals have available to help them stand out to 3rd party leads. For example, your email should also have an exciting and informative subject line to make sure customers click through to read more. Additionally, attaching photos or video walk arounds of vehicles buyers submitted on is a fantastic way to get third party leads engaged. This helps to ensure that you get in communication with them. You will know that you have done enough follow up when the buyer contacts you back!

Every Deal is a Third Party Deal

Regardless of where the buyer came from, they have likely referenced third party websites before coming to your dealership. So, it’s important to be prepared to handle these types of modern buyers even if they didn’t originate from a 3rd party lead. Car sale people that aren’t prepared will likely suffer from customers who always think there’s a better deal somewhere else.

A classic example of this is with customer’s trade-in valuation. Whenever possible, use third-party websites to support the valuation your dealership gave their trade-in. This is an especially great way to overcome objections from buyers who think they aren’t getting enough money for their trade. Buyers trust 3rd party websites. So, when their valuation is similar to yours, it makes it easy for customers to take action and sell their vehicle.

Similarly, try to do this whenever possible with car pricing as well. On the flipside, when your prices differ from third party sites and buyers bring this up, you need to be prepared to explain why. Third party website quotes almost always offer accurate estimates on vehicles. So, if it turns out that the third party quote and your quote are too far apart, it’s probably because certain options, features, or equipment were not included in their quote. When you can logically breakdown the difference in prices, deals are far more likely to get closed.