How to Manage Partial Car Sales Leads

By Canada Drives Newsroom | Dealer Services

For a car dealership, the goal of an online marketing strategy is straightforward—find promising leads and turn them into customers. Converting a good lead into a customer is a journey in itself, but not a lot of salespeople talk about how to handle partially completed leads. This blog post goes into the weeds on these challenging prospects…

Our definition of a partial lead is a lead that doesn’t contain all of the requested information.

Often, visitors to your website will fill out a form with incomplete information. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake. Other times, it’s intentional. And all you have to go on is an email address, contact number, or name. The motivation to pursue this type of lead can be hard to muster. Who are these visitors, and why are they wasting time on your website if they’re not serious about buying?

Chances are, this type of shopper is in the early stages of looking for a new car. Some car buyers start browsing months before they’re ready to commit to a purchase. They’re still casually researching their options, and their intent to buy isn’t strong yet

According to Think with Google, a customer might take up to three months before committing to anything, and their car-buying journey could include over 900 digital touchpoints before any decision is made.

think with google's detailed car buyer journey

Photo Credit: Think with Google, a detailed look at car buyer's journey

Your job at this stage is not to make a sale, it’s to ensure that a customer remembers your dealership. These customers are dipping their toe in the auto sales waters. Instead of trying to push them in head first, you need to gradually reassure them that the water is perfect! 

Therefore, hard sales tactics rarely work on this type of buyer. Instead, salespeople should commit to a nurturing process to boost conversions. The goal is to build relationships with your customers. Play the long game, and watch how it pays off for you.

Let’s discuss how you can find and nurture partial leads, as well as reduce the number of incomplete leads you receive in the future.

Research & Reach Out

When a partial lead comes in, most car dealerships will put it on the backburner in a file with other incomplete leads. However, these contacts build up, and by the time you realize it, it might be too late to reach out to them.

Salespeople that respond quickly to leads typically enjoy a higher success rate. No lead should be treated as an immediate sale but reaching out using whatever information you have is the first step towards building trust and familiarity with a potential customer. If a lead arrives short of information, the internet can help you fill in the missing gaps. 

Make a quick introduction using whatever contact information you have and invite the customer to visit your online resources for news on upcoming models, special offers, and more. 

Build the Relationship

Regardless of the lead’s quality, your objective is to get more information from potential buyers during the initial exchange. You should try to gauge how far along the sales funnel your prospect is. Once you do that, you’ll understand the next steps to take.

Focus on building a relationship with the customer regardless of how interested they are in buying at this moment in time. A great way to do this is to have content tailored to prospects throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey. If they’ve opted in with their email address, target these customers with personalized content to keep your dealership top of mind.

Uncover the Root of the Issue

If you notice that you’re getting a lot of partial leads, the issue could be how new visitors interact with your website, as well as your methods for collecting data. You need to ask yourself questions like: 

  • How would we rate the customer experience on our website?
  • Are we asking for too much information or only what’s most important?
  • Are signup web forms simple, clear, and easy to complete?
  • Is the text on the form properly aligned with the form fields?
  • Are we telling potential customers about the value of signing up, and is there a clear call to action?
  • Are we including social proof for reassurance?
  • Are the forms optimized for smartphones and tablets?

With a growing percentage of car shopping happening on mobile, it’s imperative that dealerships are optimizing their sites for this ever-growing trend. 

On the slightly more techy side of things, you should consider inline form validation to help prevent misinformation or incomplete fields. Inline validation technology will check user inputs, identify errors or incomplete fields, and prompt visitors to complete the form correctly before submitting.

Hubspot inline validation example

Photo Credit: Hubspot

Until you get around to optimizing your web forms, the first step to managing partial leads is to treat the ones you have like every other prospect. Although some information might be missing, there’s always room to turn them into a prospective customer through some basic research, strong people skills, and good old determination.

Partial leads should never be discarded, but pursuing them can be time-consuming. 

If you don’t have the time, Canada Drives is here to help! We’re partnered with hundreds of car dealerships across Canada and we’ve been sending full leads to dealerships since 2010.

Inquire with Canada Drives to speak with one of our account managers about our car buyer leads today.




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