Service Leads to Sales

Jeff Williams

Avoid the lead addiction trap…You don’t need it 

I’ll never forget a conversation I once had with the CEO of a North American automotive digital lead vendor. “I’ll always have plenty of business,” he boasted proudly, “because so many dealers are addicted to buying leads,” 

Traditionally, North American dealers have allocated substantial funds to in-market-buyer leads from third parties. These leads can cost as much as $250 per lead, even though they often contain little information: a prospects name, an un-verified email or phone number, and either a credit approval request or a vehicle price inquiry.

Due to high consumer demand caused by recent inventory shortages, dealers have recently had the luxury of tapering their dependence on third-party leads and reducing their overall marketing spend. But times are changing. Quickly.

As inventory bounces back, the economy slows due to inflation, and the pressure to increase sales mounts, many dealers might be tempted to resume their old ways of generating leads. 

While dealers need an effective digital marketing strategy to generate new business leads, now is the time to rethink exactly what makes a lead qualified.

Typically, a lead’s quality is determined by three elements: the accuracy of the prospect’s information, their willingness to engage with the dealership, and their propensity to purchase. Using these three factors to evaluate the quality of third-party leads, however, rarely measures up. 

Instead, let’s consider an alternative source of leads: your service drive. Each month, the average Canadian dealer has 722 customers visiting their service drive, 262 of whom bought their current vehicle elsewhere.

These are brand-loyal leads who, despite having bought from your competitor, reached out to your service department, made an appointment with your service team, and spent money at your dealership. And they left.

These service customers are the highly qualified leads your sales team has been searching for. Why is this?

◊ Do you have accurate information on these leads? Absolutely. You have their name, their phone number, their email address, accurate information on their current vehicle, their warranty history, and even opt-in marketing consent!

◊ Are these leads willing to engage with you? Absolutely. They just trusted you to service their vehicle, and they might even have booked a six-month-follow-up service appointment with you!

◊  Do these leads have a high propensity to purchase? Absolutely. More than 50% will buy your brand again, and top dealers are converting these leads into 14 deals per month.

Remember, these leads are spending money servicing their vehicle and they have a trade-in you need. Even better, the cost of engaging with them is as little as an automated tool to create personalized upgrade offers and the efforts of a sales team member trained in effective service drive-lead conversion.

As the market slows and pressure to grow sales builds, don’t rush to spend thousands on unqualified third-party leads, at least not until you’ve engaged with the three-hundred-or-more high-quality leads in your service drive each month.

To find out more about turning your service leads into sales, contact us today!

Jeff Williams


Jeff Williams is the CEO of Absolute Results and has dedicated the last 20+ years to helping dealerships, OEM’s, and sales people across the globe rethink how they sell cars. His three greatest passions are his family, his business, and his charity work.