How Your Dealership Can Get 662% More Craigslist Sales Leads (Almost) Overnight

Aug 9, 2017 | Sales and BDC

HINT: Stop showing price! When it comes to listing vehicle prices on your website, you’ve likely had to decide whether to list MSRP, ask visitors to complete an ePrice request, use a 3rd party pricing tool, or a combination of all three. But what about showing price on sites like Craigslist? We’ve been urging dealers to STOP showing price on their Craigslist inventory ads, and we’ve seen their results skyrocket (nearly) overnight.

To Show Price Or Not To Show Price?

Many dealerships don’t want to show vehicle pricing online.

And why should they?

With more and more resources becoming available to shoppers on the web that reveal dealership wholesale costs, listing a price that isn’t as competitive as other dealers or doesn’t have the same incentives can be a big risk.

On the other hand, NOT listing price can lead to a fast reduction in consumer-dealer trust.

In their article “Selling To Customers Who Do Their Homework Online,” Harvard Business Review reported that 40% of customers will not do business with a dealer whose website doesn’t list vehicle prices, and even more will leave a dealer’s lot if prices aren’t posted on the cars.

If consumers are already skeptical of the average auto dealer, dealers need every chance they can get to prove their store is up-front and transparent.

Why then, would I be urging you to remove price from your dealership’s Craigslist ads?

Showing Price on Craigslist Can Stop Your Sales Conversations Before They Even Start

When it comes to Craigslist for auto dealers, our main priority is helping you generate more sales conversations.

But if your dealership lists price, you risk a sales conversation from never even beginning in the first place.

This can happen for two reasons:

1) The price scares away or doesn’t fit in a prospect’s budget and they never contact you.


2) The price is acceptable but your prospect leaves in search of a more competitive offer.

That’s why we urge our dealer-members to STOP listing price on their Craigslist ads.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Won’t I get more tire-kickers? Won’t most prospects refuse to take the extra step and figure out price?”

Let’s look at each of these objections separately:

Objection #1: I’ll get more tire-kickers if I remove price.


You simply might get more inquiries that aren’t right for that particular vehicle.

This is why a phone call FIRST and a price quote SECOND is so crucial when it comes to Craigslist leads.

Like most pre-owned shoppers, Craigslist shoppers are “style loyal,” NOT make/model loyal. While a new car shopper may be inflexible about wanting to buy a 2015 Silver Toyota Tacoma…

…a Craigslist shopper may simply want a reliable pickup truck.

As the above chart shows, Used buyers are less likely to have an exact vehicle in mind compared to New buyers.

It’s likely that these shoppers will change their mind about their original vehicle inquiry if they are provided more tempting options.

This is key!

By having a phone call before disclosing price, you can find out WHY a prospect is really interested in that particular vehicle listing. (Is it the diesel engine? Cargo room? 3rd row seating?)

Then, if a prospect gets sticker shock, no worries.

Simply pull up 3 other vehicles that fit the bill and their budget, rather than just letting the sales opportunity end too soon.

BIG IDEA: Don’t let your price do the talking. Have a conversation and ask WHY your prospect is in-market for the vehicle they’re inquiring about. This will take the conversation beyond price and help you get a better understanding of what else you can show them.

Objection #2: Shoppers won’t contact my dealership to find out price, and I’ll lose the lead anyway.

It’s true: Shoppers today DON’T want to talk to a sales rep if they can help it.

With the average U.S. car shopper now spending 11 hours online and only 3.5 hours offline, it’s clear shoppers are trying to do everything they can until they actually have to visit your lot and buy the car.

But because information about pricing and vehicle options can sometimes be conflicting on 3rd party sites, a shift is happening in the minds of car shoppers.

Consumers have to figure out what’s accurate and find an ultimate trusted source, and that falls to their local dealer.

According to Harvard Business Review, “consumers prefer dealing with one responsive, knowledgeable, and trusted representative to help them evaluate what they found in their own research.”

We’ve found that low-funnel car shoppers (that is, shoppers who are most serious about purchasing a vehicle) will often bite the bullet and reach out to a dealership rep if pricing isn’t listed on a vehicle ad.

That’s where Craigslist comes into play.

Craigslist boasts over 52 million unique, ready-to-buy shoppers each month—more than and AutoTrader combined.

And these shoppers have both shorter sales cycles and higher close rates compared to other traditional 3rd party leads.

In other words, Craigslist leads tend to be lower funnel, and are more likely to reach out to you to uncover a vehicle-of-interest’s price than search for an alternative somewhere else.

BIG IDEA: Lower-funnel leads have already been through the initial phases of the buyer journey and are now ready to verify price by calling a dealership rep. Since Craigslist shoppers tend to be more “ready-to-buy” than other 3rd party leads, we’ve found prospects on Craigslist are less hesitant to contact your dealership to find out price.

What Can Happen When You Stop Showing Price on Craigslist? A 662% Increase In Sales Leads (Almost) Overnight

Don’t just take our word for it.

When we advised Herb Kinman Chevrolet to remove pricing from the ads running in their local Kentucky markets, they were a little skeptical.

But after the switch, the dealer couldn’t deny the results:

A 662% lift in inbound sales conversations!

Initially, with price on their Craigslist ads, Herb Kinman Chevrolet saw an average 29 inbound conversations (calls, emails, and texts) and 39 clicks to their VDP per month.

But after removing price from their Craigslist ads, their results climbed to 221 inbound sales conversations and 208 clicks to their VDP per month.


Want results like this? If you’re not already posting your pre-owned inventory on Craigslist, it’s time to start. Click here to schedule your demo with our Craigslist experts.

If You Still Insist On Listing Price, Here’s Your Best Bet:

Listing price as monthly payments.


Shoppers want to know how a big purchase (like a home or car) will fit into their monthly expenses.

Big names like Autotrader and Zillow provide monthly payment calculators on their sites in order to help users accomplish this.

And that’s why earlier this year, we announced our new Craigslist Monthly Payment Generator.

This feature takes your price per thousand calculation, then uses a formula to break down the monthly payment of every pre-owned vehicle you post—instantly.

If your dealership insists on listing price on Craigslist, give monthly payments a try!

HEADS UP! Few other Craigslist vendors can automatically break down vehicle pricing and present it as monthly payments on your vehicle ads. Call us at 941-366-6760 if this is a feature you want NOW.

Wrap-Up: To Increase Your Dealership’s Inbound Leads, Remove Price From Your Craigslist Vehicle Ads

If you show price on your vehicle ads, you are casting a very small advertising net.

Not only are you assuming that prospects will happily accept your list price…

…you’re also betting on the fact that they’ll call you rather than shopping around for a better deal.

Face it:

While showing price may help give shoppers everything they need to make a buying decision, that decision just might not be in your favor.

Instead, if you remove price from your Craigslist ads, you will be able to have “WHY” conversations with your prospects first and foremost, without letting price do all the talking.

This will allow you to turn tire-kickers into sales opps for other vehicles, and present other options if the price of the vehicle they’re inquiring about isn’t right for them.

After all, who doesn’t want more sales conversations?!

What’s been your experience with showing price on your dealership’s Craigslist ads? Are you for or are you against listing price on vehicle ads? Did you remove price and notice a difference in leads? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Blog Author - Cara Lane

Written By Cara Lane
Cara's hybrid love for marketing and sales has made her our beloved Inbound Marketing Manager here at Dealers United. Outside the office, she's busy doing mom things, like chasing her kids around the playground and sipping lots (and lots) of wine!

Who is Dealers United?

Dealers United is a game-changing automotive company dedicated to helping auto dealers improve their dealerships. We have helped over 6,500 dealers nationwide cut costs, save time, and sell more cars.

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