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Should We Drop AutoTrader?

Discussion in '3rd Party Leads and Automotive Classifieds Website' started by Jason L. Laughlin, Dec 11, 2012.

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  1. Jason L. Laughlin

    Jason L. Laughlin
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    Hey everybody, we're considering dropping AutoTrader from our list of vendors. We've been a long time AutoTrader customer, but we have not seen the performance we'd like to for the type of money we're spending with them.

    Our Used Cars Manager strongly supports keeping them, but we're not all of the same opinion. His salespeople have done a terrible job of marking advertising sources, so according to our CRM, we're only selling about 5 vehicles a month off of it.

    Has anyone else dropped AutoTrader recently? If so, how has that affected your used car sales?
     
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  3. ddavis

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    Jason, I have seen more people returning to AutoTrader, lately. There were some similar threads, to this one, about a year ago.

    I'm going to be on the side of your Used Car Manager. I've always done well with AutoTrader. I have had issues with salespeople properly sourcing their customers, also. I made a point of trying to meet people at delivery and did that myself. I found that much of my website traffic was coming from the display sites: AutoTrader and Cars.com.

    Dataium (Big Data) did a study on Cars.com (should apply equally to AutoTrader) that is a good read: click here.
     
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  4. yagoparamo

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    Jason,

    Try lowering the package before you totally cancel. Sometimes things need little fine tuning, find your ROI, not just cut a possible good revenue source.
     
  5. Jason L. Laughlin

    Jason L. Laughlin
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    Doug, thanks for that information. I will check into those older posts on this matter. Personally, I understand the value of the third party marketplaces, but it's hard to sell my GM on the fact they're working when none of our numbers reflect that.

    We were thinking about having a "How Did You Hear About Us?" card for our customers to fill out. What do you think about that idea?
     
  6. jakewirth

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    Jason,

    Earlier this year Chip Perry from AutoTrader mentioned 60% of folks walk in without submitting a lead after finding a vehicle on AutoTrader. I remember countless customers showing up with print-outs of the vehicles they saw on AutoTrader who had not submitted an lead through the site.

    You may want to try a month where all of the salespeople buy-in to asking each customer how they heard about the vehicle or dealership. Let them know you will be canceling AutoTrader if enough traffic is being generated and hopefully this will motivate them to take the process seriously. Also try having the desk managers ask the salesperson for the advertising source that brought the customer in prior to giving out payment figures.

    How much are you spending per month and what is your average total net gross (after subtracting the AutoTrader cost)?

    Best of luck,

    Jake Wirth
     
  7. Robby Wilson

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    I am in agreement with ddavis on this one based upon that data I have been exposed to. When I look at the LSPR from our clients, the overwhelming majority do quite well with AutoTrader (and Cars.com).

    The problem could be the manner in which those leads are worked, and perhaps not the fault of the lead provider. I am not saying that it is a bad idea at all to trim some fat from your marketing budget, but you might want to weigh all possible factors before coming to a decision.
     
  8. Stefan

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    Personally, I think this decision should be made based of the size and type of market you are in and not on how many leads we get every month.
     
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  9. MikeHaeg

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    Hey Jason,

    Personally, I'd start with trying to quickly clean up the lead sourcing. To me, your post reads "My guys don't accurately mark leads so we're not sure how well AutoTrader performs so we might as well cut."

    With that said, I would take into account Yago's mindset as well. If you're definitely going to do something, cut back and get really good at fine tuning / execution / reporting. Then reevaluate.
     
  10. jscole86

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    I agree with Mike... Make sure your guys and gals are sourcing phone calls correctly too.. Autotrader provides call tracking/recording that you can access from the reporting section... Hop in there and check to make sure they are being handled well and being entered into your CRM... Phone calls and email leads and chat leads are the only 100% guaranteed trackable channels.

    Also, before you cancel, a couple things I just found out recently... You can Co-Op portions of your autotrader and cars.com invoices (which you may already know)... They both have co-op specialists working in support that can help get you on the right path with what you need to do... Might help you recoup some of the expenses to justify keeping it. Hope that helps... I do understand your frustrations with their costs though!
     
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  11. Jeff Kershner

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    Loaded question(s).

    Jason,

    When you say "we have not seen the performance we'd like to for the type of money we're spending with them"

    Can you elaborate?
    How are truly tracking and measuring the performance?

    Does your ATC rep review your market reports with you each month?
     
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