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Your guide to shared leads

Crabcake Johnny

5000 Post Club
I've purchased internet leads for four years and as winter time closes in I'm already back to purchasing some. I have seen agents get man-handled on leads and still have a lot of people emailing me as they struggle with them. Here's my guide to success with shared leads.

1) Put in a quote for yourself and see who calls. You want to know who you're up against and how fast some agents are calling. If you're getting one or two calls instantly and they're brokers like you I would not recommend that souce.

2) If you can't call people as soon as you received the lead you'll have a tough time. You really want to be the first to call. You also want to choose sources that allow you to put your leads on hold. You don't want to get leads when you can't call them.

3) Fantastic follow-up is absolutely key. I load up everyone's email addresses in my Constant Contact manager and all my leads can get reminder emails without me doing a thing. I close a lot of internet leads weeks after I get the lead. Everyone else has stopped calling and following up.

4) You absolutely have to educate people when you get them on the phone. You have to let them know that makes you unique. What seperates you from the other people who will be calling?

5) Make sure you mention the companies you work for and give them a varity of quotes. After a needs analysis it's imperative that you explain why you're recommending a certain plan. That kills your competitors:

Ex: "Ok Tina, since you want maternity I'm recommending Aetna. They have an immediate benefit. Assurant has maternity but it's a 9 month wait. Blue Cross has maternity on their HMO but it's triple the rate. I like Golden Rule's rates but they don't even offer it."

Ex: "Ok Tina, I'm recommending Assurant due to your pre-exisiting condition. You'll get a condition specific deductible so at least you'll be covered. Golden Rule will block coverage for your condition and take away prescription coverage. Blue Cross and Aetna will decline."

Now you've shut the door on everyone else who's gonna call.

6) ASK FOR THEIR BUSINESS! I can't believe how many agents are just information factories. They give the client a ton of info and advice then get off the phone. I always say "I know other agents will be calling but I am a local broker and would very much love to have you as a client. I'll make sure you get the right plan and give you fantastic customer service through the life of the policy.

7) Ask a lot of questions. Client who won't talk aren't interested. Avoid talking the entire time. Most agents make the mistake of talking and talking about themselves and the plans. You want to do that but after you ask them a lot of questions about pre-ex conditions, why they're shopping and what they're looking for. To the client, questions show you're concerned about what they want. Just talking shows them you're just a salesman.

8. Eventually, you have to close them. I've seen a lot of my agents never even attempt the close. Instead they're waiting for the client to say something like "Ok, sign me up." Ummmm, no. After I go over the plan and make sure it's what they want, the next statement is "Ok, I just need some basic information so I can get your application going."

What should you be bringing to the table?

*You're a local broker while most other people calling are out-of-state and don't know the market.

*You're going to not only fit the client with the right price but also with the right underwriting decision. Because "after all Mr. Smith - what good does it do to fill out an application only to find out the rate has changed or certain conditions are excluded?"

*You want to make sure every aspect of the plan works for them. Offer to run network searches for their current doctors
You also have to remember to state things that you think are obvious and take for granted. The client has no clue as to how this is supposed to work and might have some misconceptions:

1) Some clients thing there's a fee they have to pay you. I always state there's no fees. If you don't say that, you might not be reaching the client again if they think there's a fee involved.

2) A lot of people think they need to have a physical or exam to get health insurance. I always tell people on the first call that there's no exam needed.

3) Clients simply don't know what the process is. Does it take a day, week, month? It is this huge daunting process? Do they have to fill out a 10 page application? You might not be getting in touch with people again if they think it's gonna be some massive process. I always tell people it's a very easy process, takes about 10 minutes for me to take their application, then it should be approved in a few days.
Along those lines . . .

NetQuote - $10 leads, lots of volume, moderate quality, no filters

4Free Quotes - $8, volume depends on filters, decent quality

Leadco - $6, no filters, high volume, low quality

Leads Clearance - $4 (average), moderate volume, low quality leads that have been sold numerous times

Insurance4USA - $6, decent volume, low quality, no filters

Prospect Zone - $12, decent volume, moderate quality

Leadbot - $14, never used them due to pricing

iLeads - $15, too pricey

InsureLeads - $8, no filterst, low quality

InsureMe - $7, no filters, high volume, low quality

Vimo - $7, no filters, moderate volume, moderate quality

Most Choice - $16, "exclusive" only. Too pricey.
Great post. Listen, as long as you're dealing with leads sent in real time you should be fine. I've found that more expensive leads do not translate into more sales so I keep mine under $8. Basically, all internet leads suck, but you should still be closing no less than 1 out of 15. Hot shots should close 1 out of 10. Newbies might get 1 out of 20 but it's still a nice profit.

$7 per lead X 15 = $105. That's a nice profit.

The problems I seen are agents have very poor follow up and go in under funded. If you need 4 deals a week closing 1/15 then you need 60 leads. That's $420 per week and you'll need that for at least 4 weeks before commissions start coming in.

You also have to take your phone skills and personality into account. This is sad to say but a lot of people have the personality of a stale cracker. Reps call me on the phone asking why they're not closing leads and in the mean time I'm trying to stay awake while they talk.

The other things agents under-estimate is the mind-numbing work involved with getting 15 leads a day, contacting everyone, getting a follow-up system in place and tracking everything. It's daunting.

Please remember that you're not going to make a living closing "high quality" leads if you're not getting enough. You cannot get 2 or 3 leads in a day and expect to make a living. If you want to do nothing except internet leads you'll need no less than 40 a week - 60 is more like it.
Personally, I don't recommend that new agents do anything with leads until they have at least a few months of experience. It is true that even with poor phone skills and product knowledge, the law of averages will say that you close 1 in 20, and still turn a nice profit.

However, they do not have the knowhow to make quick distinctions between people who may actually buy something, and people who are just playing around. After 3 weeks of 60 leads/week, they now have 180 people to deal with. Perhaps, they have thrown out 20 or 30 who yell that they aren't interested, but they are still weeding through them. Who do you keep calling, who do you email? They end up having a hard time closing any because they are so overwhelmed with people and products etc...

I would recommend that anyone starting out, spend 3 or 4 months learning the products well, and getting some incrimental experience in weeding through prospects.
Fantastic advice. Newbies have to understand that they will be going head to head with insurance and sales pros who already have outstanding product knowledge and incredible closing skills. You're right - you can close 1 out of 20 by accident however I have indeed seen agents not close 1 out of 40. This is why it's imperative to put in a lead for yourself to see who calls. This will be who you're up against.

Saying that, I can give some tips on how not to throw your computer out the window while deal with a lot of leads:

*Be the first to call and call twice in the same day. Immediatly shoot out an email after you call.

*The next day should be two calls and also another email.

Right there you should know what you have. 4 calls, 2 emails, 2 days and zero response? Forget it. I take those leads, but them in my Constant Contact program and they get automatic follow-ups periodically.

If you get ahold of the the lead you need to find out what you have. Are they dumping you off the phone the second you call? Bad sign. You can sense if they're disinterested. You need to to find out three pieces of info:

1) Do they health qualify?
2) Can they afford the plan?
3) Are they ready to sign up?

Don't get played. Don't wake up everyday and call the 80 people who you have never answered the phone. That's a waste of time. Don't let people put you off over and over with "this isn't a good time." That's bull****.

I'll fall for the "this isn't a good time" only once. Never twice. This is what they get if they try that a second time:

"I understand you're busy, but I can get your application submitted online in just a few minutes. Then this is one less thing you have to worry about. All I need is some basic information, there's no money down and I can knock this out."

If they again state they don't have time it's over. Trust me. I close about 1 out of 10 leads and quickly dump off the other 9 so keep my sanity.
Another interesting issue with leads from various companies is how they are produced. From my understanding, they are produced in several ways.
1. Search engine marketing, by Purchasing clicks from google, yahoo and MSN.
2. Search engine optimization. Doing seo and link building etc... to get high results in the organic searches.
3. Text link ads on various websites, that drive traffic to their form site.
4. Banner ads, that drive traffic to their form site.
5. Survey/awards campaigns.

My experience in buying leads is only for group health and for life and not for individual health. Before I started buying life leads, I did not like banners, because I thought that the prospect who is actively searching for me is a much better prospect. However, one thing I learned, is that with banner generated leads, the competition is lower. I think it is because only people who are actively searching for the insurance, will fill out multiple forms, which get sold to several agents by each site that they filled out forms.However, if someone sees a banner that catches their eye, they go and fill out that form, but no others.
I always make sure the lead source I use a search engine driven. I do not sign up for leads generated by banner ads or surveys. This is actually a very important topic. The insurance field is a graveyard littered with the bodies of agents who thought they could buy leads, sit in their bathrobe and make thousands.


*Are you an independent agent who is financially able to sell about 30% of your cases with as-earned carriers?

*Do you have at least 2 months of your bills in the bank on top of lead costs for at least a month?

*Are you a full-time career agent?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, you should not purchase leads.