WTF Happened to the Leads??

Did you get that Credit Application from Mr. Jones?

For some of you this blog post is going to initially sound shocking but may open your eyes to what is happening in dealerships all across Canada and the U.S.A.

After leaving the dealership floor in 2008, I have been involved with several different automotive dealer services that all have one thing in common……..Providing auto sales/service leads through the good ole Internet.  Two recent events inspired me to write this much needed blog post.

1) The Dentist On-Line appointment: Two days ago I realized it was time for to book a dentist appointment.  I just started going to a new spot right on my street for two reasons;  One being convenience and two being their chairs massage your back as they clean your chops.  I absolutely hate calling the doctor/dentist to book an appointment, so I was thrilled when I saw the on-line appointment feature on their website (If you scroll to the bottom you will see the Online Reservation).  Easy enough, I fill out their form and give my two available times.  In the comment box I mentioned that I would prefer to be contacted through email.  Well that was 4 days ago and I have not had a confirmation email or a phone call.  You gotta love that feeling of not knowing if anyone on the other end received it or they just don’t confirm with you.  See where this is going dealers???….. I am 100% positive that this happens on some dealership websites especially for service.  Please confirm appointments with visitor so they don’t drive for their oil change only to sit in the lounge and read old car brochures.

2) The wrong email lead story (true): I cannot name names as this would be a serious privacy issue but a dealer recently shared a story with me that brought tears to my eyes.  Their old (recently replaced) web provider had not updated some of their email addresses in the lead distribution list.  Not sure if the web provider was informed or not, but either way they had certain form (used leads!!) going to outer space for several months.   Since the other forms were set up correct the dealership thought everything was fine and dandy.  Once this staff member learned how to log into the “back end” he was amazed to see a pile of leads sitting in “unread”.  Who was at fault?? I ‘m not sure.  Dealer staff changes like the plague and the web provider isn’t going to know when to update lists.  A CRM could have saved the day perhaps but I know a good chunk of the Canadian dealer body isn’t using those properly.

Anytime I set up a dealership for any service that requires emailing a lead, I 100% triple check that a test was done and a response was logged in my CRM.  Yes I use SalesForce.  I want every dealer who is reading this to do a complete audit for the month of September.

The Dealer Geek On-Line Audit:

Please submit a lead to the following sources with your personal email (gmail, hotmail etc;)

  • Every single form on your website (sales, service, credit application, request test drive)
  • All 3rd Party sites – AutoTrader,, Kijiji,
  • If you are using an auto chat provider submit a test chat

Do not depend on the provider to know that you have changed emails from .ca to .com.  Vendors do not know that your sales manager Jimmy the Greek has left to sell security systems and that Tony Baloney should now be receiving all used car leads.

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Ryan Thompson


General Manager at Ernie Dean Chevrolet Buick GMC in Alliston, ON. Sharing with you everything I can about the car business.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.