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Harnessing the power of Pre-Qualified Leads on CarGurus

Posted by Beth Burke on February 17, 2021

As the auto industry continues to navigate challenges posed by Covid-19, more and more car shoppers are turning to digital tools and resources for safer car shopping. Online financing, in particular, has become critical to dealership success. From January 2020 to September 2020, we saw a 78% increase in Pre-Qualified Leads1 on CarGurus, leading us to further invest in shopper education around the value of online financing and promotion of our Finance in Advance feature. This trend also aligns with recent consumer sentiment, with 52% of car shoppers saying that they now prefer financing online (compared to only 36% pre-pandemic).2 Beyond the obvious safety reasons, shoppers’ increased openness to financing online is also a result of their desire to save time and feel more financially prepared.

CarGurus understands that financing is a crucial profit center for your dealership. Since introducing our financing feature in 2019, we have made continuous enhancements to help improve your overall lead quality and in-store efficiency, while ensuring that you maintain control and flexibility within your critical financing operations. Our latest data shows that Pre-Qualified Leads from CarGurus are 60% more likely to purchase, and close faster.3

Ready to make the most of your Pre-Qualified Leads? Here are three key best practices to consider in order to close more sales, faster:


Offer more transparency to financially prepared and ready-to-buy shoppers

According to our soon-to-be-released Consumer Financing Study, which surveyed 754 recent and prospective car buyers, 69% of those who will be purchasing in the next year reported a high likelihood to pursue pre-qualification.4 The leading barrier to pre-qualification comes from consumer fears of rates not being “real” or changing.

What this means for you?  Make a one-time update with your CarGurus account rep to customize your dealer fees and ensure your shoppers have access to the most accurate offers. This will help set the right expectations and minimize shopper objections during the sale.



Customize your outreach plan by easily identifying and prioritizing Pre-Qualified Leads

66% of shoppers find value in taking care of more of the car shopping process before they step foot in the dealership, which indicates that many consumers are eager to speed the car buying process along.4

What this means for you?  Meet Pre-Qualified Leads with the same level of preparedness that they’re putting in by making sure you filter your CRM to prioritize leads marked as “CarGurus Pre-qualified” or check for a shopper’s pre-qualification status in the lead notes. Also, make sure that the right contacts at your dealership – whether it’s your Sales Manager or F&I team – get notifications about Pre-Qualified Leads when you receive them. You can edit the Financing Notification Email Addresses section in the settings of your CarGurus Dealer Dashboard.




Help facilitate a more seamless online to in-store experience

Save time for both your staff and the shopper by ensuring that you won’t have to repeat pre-qualification process at the dealership by preparing customer information in advance and making it easily accessible by your team.

What this means for you?  Take advantage of our new financing integration, which allows your team to access, copy, and submit completed credit applications from your CarGurus Pre-Qualified Leads at no additional cost directly within RouteOne. Click here to activate your RouteOne integration.


Interested in learning more about Pre-Qualified Leads? Download this one-pager and reach out to your account representative.




  1. CarGurus email leads submitted by pre-qualified shoppers to financing-enabled paying and Restricted dealers from January – September 2020. Includes content supplied by IHS Markit; Copyright © IHS Markit 2021. All rights reserved. Lead analysis based on IHS Markit 2019 & 202 Registration Data.
  2. CarGurus Covid-19 Sentiment Study, November 2020 [N= 796]
  3. CarGurus financing leads compared to non-financing leads, with IHS dealer close rates, Q1 2019-Q2 2020
  4. CarGurus Consumer Financing Study, November 2020 [N=754] All survey respondents were considered in-market car-shopper that either financed, or are at least considering financing their purchase.
Topics: CarGurus products, financing, pre-qualified leads