You Need Leads!
We’ve all heard of the “Sell to your friends and family first” getting started strategy. Well, if you go that route or not, you’re eventually going to run out of people to contact. So, you need to find the people who need your services (or at least want them). What’s the easiest way? Spend money and receive a list of people who requested a meeting with agents.
This is called Buying Leads. What are you buying? It depends on the seller. Usually, you’re not buying anything, but rather “renting” or “leasing” a spreadsheet of some type of contact information of people that have requested to be contacted by a licensed insurance agent. Depending on the lead type there are other things that these lists have working for them:
- These people have opted in (so legal compliance is less of an issue for these people)
- These people want to talk to you
Now for both of these, that may not be true. If you buy leads from an unscrupulous vendor, the potential clients may not be potential clients at all (They may have done a: “click here to be entered into our raffle” and then an insurance agent calls them!).
Buying is not Buying
Buying Leads, again probably means “renting” or “leasing” leads. While everything is negotiable in these sorts of relationships, you probably want to make sure the seller has handled the legal compliance requirements that may exist and is not selling you access to leads you already had access to.
What is a Lead Source?
As a sales agent, whether it is selling Final Expense, Term, or Medicare insurance, you need to find ways to increase your clientele. Using lead sources is the best way to market yourself to as many people as possible. A lead source is anything that will generate a stream of leads or potential clients. Lead sources come in many different forms:
- Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
- Direct mail to potential clients
- Non-social Media avenues on the Internet (i.e. Influencers, Blogs, Referral programs, etc.)
With the internet being very accessible to millions of people, the quickest way to get your name out there is to create a very strong online presence. Simply getting random contacts is also not good enough. Your lead sources need to bring in qualified leads that want to inquire more about you and try to engage with the products you’re selling.
Organic vs Paid Lead Sources
Paying for leads is the quickest way to generate leads. However, organic lead sources can be an invaluable consistent stream of income.
Organic Leads take a while to start, but there’s a consistent level of results over time. Imagine starting a YouTube channel where you talk about the best ways to protect families against unexpected financial challenges. You’d start off with 0 subscribers and, hopefully, see more and more over time. If you have info in every video about getting insured with you, then you’ll see consistent and growing results with the more engaged subscribers and views.
How Many Lead Sources Should You Have?
On average, businesses use up to eight different marketing channels to optimize their presence in the community with upwards to twelve possible avenues to drive traffic to their brand. Having 8 marketing sources may be a daunting task to build if you’re just starting out, just focusing on 2-3 will be enough. Over time, you can start opening up more lead sources when you can (and if your time and budget allows).
We’d recommend 3 paid lead sources and 1 or 2 organic marketing sources for leads.
Managing marketing for your business is a job. Don’t market on too many platforms – keep it manageable, so you still have time to sell insurance.
Not getting ripped off
Organic traffic and organic marketing is a specialty. It’s a full-time job. We’re going to go into the avenues for marketing a bit more, however before that, let’s talk about Paid Leads.
You’re buying a service when you pay for leads. So, what’s the difference between 2 different vendors? Why should you care?
Leads may vary in price between $5-$100/lead. Buying a $5 lead might be a lead that has been sold a few times to other agents over several months. This is an opportunity to make a sale where others haven’t been able…it’s also a bit of a risk. You can buy 100 leads for $500 with 1 conversion paying for the lead order or you could buy 10 $50 leads and do the same. Getting “ripped off” is subjective.
The bare minimum for leads:
- The client knows that they’re signing up for an agent to contact them
- The client wants an agent to contact them
Without those 2 things, you’re probably wasting your money (be aware that there may also be TCPA/Compliance issues with these leads as well).
Otherwise, if you’re buying 10 leads and you’re getting 10 leads, you’re not getting ripped off. That being said, you need to be able to determine what vendors work best for you.
What’s your ROI
- How much money are you spending? How much money you are making?
- What your hourly wage?
- What’s your quality of life?
- What’s the close ratio?
These questions are super important and are the primary factor that should influence your vendor decision. We’ve heard average close ratios for certain lead types can be 8%. That definitely seems low on the surface, but there’s a lot that goes into that number:
- Your sales ability
- The options available to the client
- The lead itself
You might get someone who is eager to buy, but has no viable options. Or you accidentally call their sister their husband. Or they lost their job between when they requested a consultation and when you could speak with them.
Whatever the percentage is, track it. There’s no better way to evaluate success than with Data. The more data you have, the less individual variables matter and you’ll be able to see the trends clearer (this is called the law of large numbers).
Without tracking your numbers and analyzing them, you’re wasting time and money.
Make sure you give the new lead sources time to stabilize. In the beginning you may get a string of high or low quality leads. Remember, consistency is king. Give all the leads time to settle. Track. Analyze. Diversify your lead sources.
Diversity in Paid Lead Vendors
It’s normal for there to a be good weeks and bad weeks for leads. If you decide you want facebook leads, instead of spending $3,000 with 1 vendor, we’d suggest doing $1,500 with 2 vendors, or even $1,000 with 3 vendors. Track the conversions for each and keep each lead source going as long as you can. But remember that the vehicle will mater – so getting Final Expense Facebook leads during the Annual Enrollment Period (where Medicare ads are dominating Facebook) will probably yield a higher lead cost and a poorer conversion rate. Track over a fiscal quarter if possible. You may have higher gains if you only use 1 lead vendor and that lead vendor has a great delivery for you this week, but you can also have greater losses if they have a bad week. Diversity helps with volatility.
Having a longer period of time to evaluate lead source ROI helps minimize the impact of individual leads, script changes, sales process changes, and underwriting effectiveness. Using your script(s) consistently and an underwriting tool like Best Plan Pro can help decrease the time before you can see trends in lead sources
In the age technology, social media is one of the most used platforms on the internet today. As an agent trying to make sales, you can reach a lot of people simply through the people you already know on Facebook or Instagram; albeit, it would be wise to make a separate account for your business ventures or completely overhaul your personal accounts to create a more professional persona. About one out of every three people prefers to communicate through social media rather than speak to a representative over the phone. So it is imperative that you create a digital foothold to drive these potential clients to you.
There are a few downsides to having social media as a lead source. First, many users who reach out to a business with an inquiry would like an answer within an hour or two. So, you must be very attentive to your social media so you don’t miss out on potential clients. Another drawback of social media is that the elderly population might not have or keep up with social media and that is probably going to be your main target audience when selling FEX, Term, or Medicare insurance. However, that doesn’t mean their children or grandchildren won’t come into contact with your social media. Much of the time, it is the client’s children that look into insurance for their aging parent.
Social Media knows all. That ends up being a good and bad thing – forms can be pre-populated (on several platforms) with data that’s associated to the user’s profile. That means that they just need to enter their name and their address, phone number, email, and other required data is submitted automatically based on their profile (this is common for Facebook leads). This helps save time and get more comprehensive data for leads, but may give a false indicator on the intent of the potential client.
Mailing and Emailing
One of the oldest ways to share information about your business is to send out flyers to others that will distribute them for you. Simply create a pamphlet or document stating what services you provide and what products you sell. Then, mass produce this to hand out where ever you can. If you’re able, you can find the demographics of a community or neighborhood that is part of your target clientele and send this information directly to them via post office mailing service. This is great for reaching out to individuals who aren’t tech savvy or don’t use the internet. Paid direct mail leads are extremely common and their prices reflect their commonality, their overhead, and the reality that people fill out 1 lead card, they’ll fill out more (if they receive them – that means that 1 potential customer is going to have their information distributed to several agents).
If you’re providing several services to homeowners, you may end up developing an email list where you provide financial and risk mitigation tips to them on a regular basis. If you’re not providing free content to users, it may be hard to market via email. The most common way to get users to sign up for your email list is to offer them some information in exchange for their email address (and they know that you’ll email them your information). However, this can backfire if clients deem your recurring emails to be spam. So make sure you create emails such that they’re more personable so they can be opened and read instead of just thrown in the spam folder. Building an email list is very hard, but, if you do it, it can create an extremely profitable lead and income stream.
Other Digital Lead Sources
Social media and emails can reach millions of people across the nation. However, there are times when people don’t want to be hassled by ads and direct contact. Instead, you can create a website or post a listing of yourself on the internet that people looking around for coverage can possibly stumble across and reach out to you if they’re interested in buying coverage. For instance, you can setup a blog page in which you discuss the various advantages of getting FEX coverage early and in doing so, those interested may want to setup a consultation to learn more or even buy coverage for themselves or a loved one. Another important key to developing a strong online presence is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Most people use Google or Bing to look for all sorts of things. So, it’s imperative that you setup your website or join a site that gets a lot of traffic and can show up in the first page or two of a web search.
Creating a strong online presence is a very difficult task to do. There are even jobs who’s sole purpose is to get their company’s name to appear in the first page of a Google or Bing search! So if you’re just starting an online presence, there’s lots of work to be done. But as it is said, Rome was not built in a day, neither will your reach be that strong starting out. There are multitudes of tactics on how to bolster one’s SEO like the use of keywords, internal linking to make your site more readable, and much, much more! There are other ways to increase your traffic flow like getting prominent people in the community to advertise for you or setting up a referral program where people who bring you new clients can receive a bonus. Focus on quality as the #1 rule.
Inbound Leads & Telesales
For telesales, inbound leads are more expensive, but tend to convert better. They’re fantastic for telesales, but typically restricted to IMOs primarily (because IMOs buy up a lot of those leads). For telesales in general, you probably want 2-3 different lead sources as well AND several vendors. Keep in mind you’ll probably notice price differences for on-shore and off-shore lead vendors as well.
Keeping a Steady Growth
Whether you are an established sales agent or a newcomer into the industry, there is always room for growth for you and your reputation. Start off small with things like pamphlets, flyers, and business cards to give out to people around you via mailing, hand distribution, or even emailing. With access to internet platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms, you can create an online presence to get your name out there even faster. As more and more people see your name and what you can provide, more traffic will be sent your way which the law of large numbers dictates; the more people who come across your site, the more likely you’ll get engagement (if 2% of the people who stumble upon you reach out, it’s far better to have 10,000 eyes than 1,000!). Starting off with 2-3 of these organic lead sources to generate your leads and then use 2-3 paid lead sources is the ideal balance. Paid options are fantastic, but as soon as you stop paying, you loose the benefits. Organic options are fantastic, but they take a while to start. Balance these two – build your online reputation (ask for reviews) and help more people. As you gain more channels to market yourself, you can start to expect proportional gains in the number of leads you bring in.