The Secrets to Growing Your Website’s Leads, Calls & Sales: Website Form Neglect; It’s Costing You Leads!


While only a tiny percentage of your website visitors submit e-leads from your website, these leads are gold to dealerships with solid processes in place. In fact, for the average dealer, just 5 website leads equals 1 vehicle sold; making generating these leads a top priority for successful dealers.

Unfortunately, many dealers are unintentionally hurting their chances of generating e-leads because they take their online forms for granted. In effect, they’re neglecting these important lead magnets.

Too Many Required Fields

I’ve found most of the Chevrolet dealers using the General Motors’ approved CDK websites require the prospect’s address, city, state and zip code in order to submit a lead. This greatly reduces the number of completed forms these dealers receive – and it’s costing them sales.

How many sales this neglect is costing these dealers is anyone’s guess, but in a relatively dated HubSpot study (where they researched the contact forms of 40,000 of their customers), conversion rate improved by almost half when the number of form fields were reduced from four fields to three. (Imagine the increase these dealers would see by getting rid of these four worthless fields?)

Of course, if you really need to know the complete home address of your prospects, then leave these on the form; but chances are you don’t actually use their address for any purpose. You really just need their name and email address (and perhaps phone) to contact them. This begs the question: why are you asking for my physical address?

Who Knows Their VIN?

Some dealers are even requiring the prospect’s VIN on their trade-in forms. Seriously, who in the heck knows their VIN? You usually see this when dealers are using their own home-grown trade appraisal forms (typically onerous forms with tons of fields that never convert) instead of using a recommended on-page trade appraisal tool like TradePending and the Instant Retargeting trade form from BlackBook.

Not only do many consumers not know where to find their VIN, plenty of people no longer have a home phone, yet I continue to see “Home Phone” as a label on a form field. (I haven’t had a home phone in over five years.)

If you’re going to require a phone number, that’s fine; though ask for “Best Phone” or simply “Phone” instead of requesting the antiquated “Home Phone.”

Are You Due For A Form Check-Up?

Based on our research, more than 80% of dealers suffer from some type of “form neglect.” Whether it’s from the issues detailed above or forms that don’t point to the correct lead delivery address (meaning you never receive these leads) or even forms that make little sense (like the “Schedule Test Drive” forms we see where there’s no place for the prospect to select the Date or the Time for their test drive), reviewing every form on your website using the following criteria can dramatically increase your lead counts without costing you a dime:


  1. Are we requesting/requiring information that’s not important to us (like address fields)?
  2. Are we requesting/requiring information that’s confusing to the prospect (like VIN or Home Phone)?
  3. Do our forms work in all common browsers (like Safari, IE, Firefox, Chrome and Edge)?
  4. Do our forms work on mobile devices?
  5. Do our forms properly populate to the CRM? (You’ll need to send test leads from each form to verify this.)

This is a simple check-up that you should expect the person in charge of your website is conducting at least quarterly; and certainly each time you place a new form or vendor on your website. It’s too easy to become blind to our own websites (since we see them every day). (In the next part of this series, we explore how to overcome this blindness in more detail.)

Next up in the series: Your Website Visitor Is Not You  

(If you’re catching this series for the first time, you may want to begin with the first post in the series: Before You Change Even One Word on Your Website…)

About TheManager:

Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in Digital Marketing and Website Conversion. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at