Lead Generating Companies
Experts tell us that your circle of acquaintances includes at least 100 people. Each of those 100 also has a circle of 100. While the circles might overlap, they will include people unique to each as well. With that many possible connections and the fact that 40% of adult Americans under age 50 have no life insurance, you wouldn't think life insurance agents would have a difficult time finding new customers. However, the interpersonal skills which would help agents generate endless referrals seem to have been largely lost in this computer age. Instead, many rely on the internet for a continuous stream of new clients. This fact, good or bad, has spawned numerous lead generating companies.
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Sales leads of all kinds—from windows and vacuum cleaners to health and life insurance and investment products—are generated by internet companies. For most products, the lead is created when a customer does a search and fills out an internet form for more information. With some products—like car insurance—you can actually get a quote and make a purchase totally online without ever talking to an agent. Other products such as life and health may have state regulations that require contact with a real person, at least by phone. Leads for these products get sent to several agents from different companies in that geographic area.
How Do You Know Which Lead Company to Choose?
That can actually be a tough call because many lead companies will attempt to secure your business by promising “exclusive” leads. In some cases, however, the leads may not be exclusive, but may actually be sold to two or three agents. Furthermore, the lead may have been purchased from another lead company as well, and that company may have already distributed it. The correct term for most companies would be “priority” leads as they may have a system in place that gives the lead to no more than three agents for a limited time.
Exclusive leads are sold to only one agent—or agency—although they may be sold to another lead company at some future time. These leads will usually be more expensive than the shared lead, and your money may be non-refundable if the lead turns out to be a dud. However, even a truly exclusive lead will not stay that way for long. The original publisher can’t prevent the agency or even the agents themselves from reselling the leads. Also, the prospect may have completed online forms for more than one company without even knowing it since the companies do not identify themselves as such to the person seeking the information.
One way of getting exclusive leads, is to work directly with the company selling the product. Certain insurance companies send out their own mailers that include a postage-paid returnable card which promises some sort of freebie just for dropping the card in the mail. Some companies that participate in these mass mailings are captive companies while others are not. Also, some openly include the name of the company while others—companies selling Medicare Advantage plans especially—have all the cards sent to a “senior resource center”—while making the card itself look as if it came directly from Medicare. People are more likely to send the card back if they think it is related to their Medicare but are often angered when they find it was just a way for an insurance company to get in the door. Nevertheless, if used wisely, such leads do generate sales. You do want to speak to people at the office, however, as the managers for local offices often give the same leads to everyone in the office until someone makes a sale, thereby securing the client. Make sure you aren't paying for something everyone else is also getting. Newer agents may be apt to get old or “recycled” leads because managers don’t want to give the “hot” or newest leads to people who are just learning how to make presentations.
You have probably heard this before, but it remains true and worth saying again. Use any lead company you want (you may have to do some trial and error to find one that works for you), but be aware that the very best leads are the ones you generate yourself. When sitting around in front of your TV, begin making lists of people you have contact with, being sure to include people who regularly get business from you, such as your mechanic or barber. If they are worthy of your business, they will at least listen to what you have to offer. Even if they already have what they need, once you explain what you can do and what makes you different from the competition, they may be willing to make money saving changes, or at the very least, to give you some referrals. The leads you generate yourself are ones that you can guarantee to be exclusive, and they will also lead to your most loyal clients. A very small percentage of insurance agents—about 2 % of the few who stick with it longer than five years, and that’s only 5% of all those who “try” it—make six figures. Few of these highly successful President’s Circle agents are relying solely on internet lead generating companies for their business.
Speed is Key for Internet Leads
If you do decide to purchase internet leads to help get your business rolling, make sure you have some way of getting in touch with the prospect immediately, within minutes of getting the lead if possible. Cell phone technology now allows you to receive email on your cell phone, and you can be sure that other agents receiving the lead will be on top of it within the hour. The first person to call with the product the prospect wants is often the one to get the business. Remember, even if it is “exclusive” or “priority,” an internet lead won’t stay that way for long. It isn't worth purchasing if you don’t first make sure you have a method in place for fast response.
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