My name is Courtney McCutchen. Getting started as an insurance agency owner or a producer working for an agency is a major challenge. Like many sales-based professions, you must start from scratch and build a client base for recurring commissions and referrals. There are a number of methods out there to generate new business including cold calling, local advertising, internet marketing, social media, and pitching friends and family.
Actually, the friends and family option is a pretty good way to get started if you have it, but sooner or later that source will dry up. The lean beginnings are rough and a few bad marketing choices can mean a tapped budget and a different career path. I’ve been in this business for 10 years now and I’ve seen it happen many times, unfortunately.
Today I want to talk about an option that helped get my agency off the ground and is still an important source of business to this day.
Internet Insurance Leads
When I say insurance leads I mean buying them from directly as opposed to trying to generate them myself. Leads can be purchased from various sources that are generated most commonly via direct mail, telemarketing, or search engine traffic. Depending on the source you can also buy exclusive leads or shared leads. Exclusive leads are as described and they are only sold to one buyer whereas shared leads are sold to multiple buyers. I prefer to buy shared leads generated via internet search traffic which will be the type of lead I am referring to when I say insurance leads from this point forward.
What to Look for When Buying Insurance Leads
When it comes to buying online insurance leads there are quite a few options out there and many of them are downright bad. Below are a few common characteristics to look for when choosing a lead service to work with.
Leads Per Agent
This is a big one. How many agents can a lead be sold to? Most of the top services will sell a lead to a maximum of 8 agents. Typically the average lead is sold to around 3 buyers with the exception of densely populated ZIP codes.
If you want to make the most of your time I suggest buying only real-time leads. Most lead companies do offer real-time leads. Any lead company that sells leads more than a day old is another category altogether referred to as aged leads.
A reputable lead company is going to allow you to return bad leads. Each company has its own method of scrubbing out bad leads but they all have a few get through at some point or another. These can be annoying because they end up wasting your time. If you happen to get blatantly fake leads any good lead provider will give you a credit without a hassle.
In addition to speed, the method of delivery is also important. How are leads sent to you? I look for providers that can send me leads just about any method I ask for. Email, text, provider backend, or a customized option to my CRM or rater. Most good lead vendors offer all of these options.
Filters allow you to customize the type of lead that is sent to you rather than having to take whatever happens to come in for your specified product line and area. I highly recommend spending some time looking at filter options and deciding which the best option for you is. Most lead companies will offer standard filters as well as custom filter options. Custom filters will typically cost more but they are often worth the price if you are seeking a specific lead type or a high-value prospect.
Of course, price is always going to be a major factor when it comes to buying any service or product. While lead pricing is very relevant is it difficult to use it as a decision point when choosing a new lead provider. Price is completely relative to the quality of the lead source and your ability to make sales. I recommend putting lead pricing aside when initially testing a new source. Once you can comfortably determine an expected close rate on the leads then factor in pricing to determine the value and potential return.
Free Lead Offers & Discounts
Free lead offers are a great way to get a feel for what a lead vendor has to offer. Most of the top providers offer a few free leads, a deposit match, or some sort of discount to new buyers. Most of the time these will not be enough to fully test a provider but they will allow you to save a few bucks getting the hang of things and determine which providers are the best option for your needs.
The items above are a good starting point to qualify a solid lead provider. A few additional considerations to look at are volume controls, lead pausing options, training offered, the lead return window, and contract requirements (most have none).