When Is A Lead A Lead?

A lead is an inquiry, referral, or other information obtained through advertisements or other means to identify a potential customer. Strolid has experience examining over three million conversations through Google Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Text, Chat, Inbound and outbound calls, and lead form submissions since 2005. Our team captures automotive sales leads to get more auto sales leads from your website.

What Are Marketing Qualified Leads?

A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is likelier to become a customer than other leads. MQL examples are submission forms from websites, factory/OEM leads, third-party leads, and hand-raisers. This classification lets you know if a prospect is in the market. These leads do not tell you if they’ll buy, what they’ll buy, when they’ll buy, or if they are a human shopper. MQLs can be mystery shoppers and bots.

What Are Sales Qualified Leads?

A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) lets you learn the client’s objectives because they engage with you by calling, emailing, chatting, and walking in your front door. This type of lead delivers a higher purchasing rate because customers are motivated to engage with you.

Lead Source Examples and Categories

The four lead source examples we focus on are walk-ins, phone calls, chats/messages, and form submissions. The closing percentages found in the chart below come from 20 years of experience tracking leads for hundreds of dealers nationwide.

Average Closing Percentages By Lead Category

Walk-in 30%
Phone Lead 15% to 20%
Real Time Communication 12% to 20%
Internet Form Submission 1% to 20%
Website Lead Conversion
  • Dealer – 9% to 15%
  • Factory – 6% to 12%
  • Third Party Leads – 0% to 10%.
*Based on customer’s willingness to engage.
Equity Out-Bound Customer Mining 4% to 8%, based on quality of dealer’s database.


A consumer who walks into a brick-and-mortar location and identifies themselves as a potential customer. This person has no record of past business, calling the dealership, chatting with the dealership, or submitting a form to the dealership.

The “walk-in” presents great value to any business. This is particularly true in our post-pandemic climate when showroom traffic is still comparatively low.

Phone Leads

A phone call is considered a Sales Qualified Lead. In a buying funnel, the “phone up” is second only to the “walk-in” when turning leads into customers. One could argue that a “walk-in” shows a greater intent to buy than a “phone up,” but both display strong buying signals. Not all leads are created equal, but all leads have value. Our team understands how to identify buying signals over the phone.

Chat – Text – Social Media Messages

Social media messages are the next-best leads because they show strong buying signals and 100% engagement. This lead also allows you to ask questions and capture automotive sales leads in real time.

Question: Should Chat/Text/Facebook Messenger/Google Messages leads be categorized as internet leads, or should they have their own category?

Chat has been around for over a decade and is primarily used to gather consumer information. Unfortunately for the customer, these services rarely provide any answers. In many cases, chat requests are funneled to a dealer’s CRM to be contacted at a later point. All this service has done is turn an engaged customer into a frustrated customer who will likely take their business somewhere else.

A lead that is 100% engaged is a real-time communication lead and should be treated with as much urgency as a walk-in and phone-up customer. Strolid helps dealerships convert leads into sales by responding to messages in real time to engage with customers.

Internet Form Submissions

This is what most dealers consider a lead to be. A customer has scheduled an oil change or applied for an auto loan, and now you have their information. The average dealer gets more than half of their CRM traffic from a lead form submission.

Question: Are all internet form submissions considered Sales Qualified Leads?

To be considered a Sales Qualified Lead, the prospective customer must engage with you. Internet form submissions are typically considered Market Qualified Leads since we get the source of entry when the lead form is submitted and enters the dealer’s CRM.

Walk-ins, phone calls, and chats are Sales Qualified leads (SQL) based on the immediacy of the customer’s actions and the high level of engagement. Internet leads, however, show less urgency and immediacy, and the customer remains less engaged.

Based on research done by the team at Strolid, engagement with lead form submissions is more difficult to measure.

How do we determine how the consumer found us and what lead gets the credit?

Most dealers use a single-touch approach when determining ​​lead source vs. lead channel sources and benefits. The average automotive consumer considers 18.2 sources of information before making a purchase, which Google explained in their ZMOT presentation and research. Giving credit to the first lead submitted only tells part of the story.

The goal is to stop trying to convert form submissions into leads. Instead, spend more time with your SQL leads. Engage with your customers and create a lasting impression by providing answers to their questions.

Questions to Ask

  1. 1. Who handles your leads?
  2. 2. Should you chase all leads or focus on Sales Qualified Leads?
  3. 3. Do you think lead scoring plays a role in your process?
  4. 4. How do we identify MQLs and their source?
  5. 5. What is a better way to identify Sales Qualified Leads?

When you focus your attention on the leads that engage with you, your business runs better and more efficiently. Sales Qualified leads are more important than Market qualified leads that show little intent to buy and minimal engagement.

Get your people to focus on Sales Qualified Leads, and you’ll sell more cars. Your best employees will spend more time with customers who are more likely to buy, and you can demonstrate your ability to communicate with them using any channel they choose.

It’s that simple. If you would like Strolid to evaluate your lead-handling process, CRM, lead traffic, and lead quality, please feel free to reach out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many leads should a BDC rep handle?

A BDC rep should be able to effectively handle 250 calls and leads per month, depending on lead quality and follow-up requirements.

How many leads should my dealership be getting?

The number of leads your dealership should be getting depends on the volume of vehicles your dealership sells, but roughly 40 of every 100 vehicles sold should come from leads and calls. A general rule of thumb is if you sell 100 vehicles, 25% of those sales should come from leads and 15% from phone calls.

If 10% of leads result in sales, that would mean you need 250 leads to reach that 25% figure. At a rate of 20% calls to sales, you would need to log 60 phone calls in order to make 12 sales.

How fast should you contact a lead?

A lead should be emailed, sent a text, or called within 10 minutes. In today’s era of instant communication, the faster, the better.

Strolid Reviews