For insurance agents who are looking to write more business consistently week after week, chances are you’ve considered buying leads for your business (or you already are paying for them!). The problem is there are a plethora of lead vendors offering different services and insurance leads for sale of various types and levels of quality. No matter what type of prospecting strategy you use, adding a lead vendor (or multiple lead vendors) to your pipeline can help you achieve and maintain top producer status (Tweet this!), and ultimately exercise much more control and predictability when it comes to scaling your agency’s growth. In this article, we’ll review eight types of insurance lead services and point out some things to consider about each of them when it comes to buying leads for your business.
Buying Leads For Your Business: 8 Options
1. Direct Mail
- Direct mail insurance leads services can often be relatively costly. The price of printing and postage is baked into the prices for direct mail leads, and running a high quality mail campaign can be expensive compared to other outreach methods.
- You may wait four weeks or longer to start seeing returns on a mailer, and results could vary (according to JWM Business Services, the average rate of return on direct mail is as low as 0.5% ).
- It’s often challenging to ensure leads generated through direct mail consistently reach the desired marketing personas (or consumer profiles), and that the messaging aligns with the audience. For example, if an agency does really well with homeowners and multi-line policies, but then works with a vendor generating insurance leads through direct mail, the profile of these leads might not align with the agency’s core customer profile. This is due to the fact that sometimes direct mail-generated insurance leads have received mailers utilizing language like “free info,” “no cost info,” “free benefit,” etc. This can create a situation where a good portion of the respondents probably aren’t going to be the best prospects for that agency.
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- Telemarketing insurance sales leads are generated from call centers. Vendors selling telemarketing generated leads often leverage third-party call centers to dial hundreds or thousands of contacts daily, with the goal of obtaining enough customer information to sell the contact as an insurance lead. This model is not just limited to the insurance space, as call centers are often “industry agnostic” (for example one day the call center is calling insurance leads, the next day might be real estate leads). These call centers are often not in the United States, and may use robo-dialers, which can violate state and federal laws. Also, some insurance companies forbid their agents from using this type of lead, as it could result in legal troubles if the call centers used by the vendor are not compliant with relevant U.S. statutes.
- With telemarketing-generated insurance leads, purchasing intent is typically low. Overall you may end up having more conversations, as many prospects who respond to telemarketing cold calls can often fall under the “too nice to say no” category. This can actually lead to somewhat mixed results–with more conversations, you may be sending out more quotes and might even be seeing more binds, but in my experience when it comes to retention, these customers are often the first to jump when contacted by another agent offering slightly better rates. So while the best case scenario might be that you see a few more overall agreements, in my experience this type of lead (particularly if your agency relies on customer retention) can be risky to rely on.
- Related to this idea is the fact that telemarketing-generated leads can ultimately end up costing you more (and generate less ROI) in the long run than high quality, high intent leads which may cost more up front. I mentioned earlier how telemarketed leads are often low intent and require many more conversations with many more prospects to translate into bound policies. And even then these customers may still churn. Central to this problem is the fact that you typically have much less ability to target your ideal audience with telemarketed leads. So if you can’t connect with enough of the right prospects (who fit your core customer profiles), you ultimately need to call more people, which means buying more leads (which costs more money)—a tactic that doesn’t necessarily result in a great ROI–especially if those people you do bind aren’t staying with you for more than six months to a year.
3. Inventory/Aggregated Leads
- There are tons of aggregators with insurance leads for sale that are 90 days or older. These are difficult to convert to sales, as the prospect has already been called by many agents over a long period of time. According to multiple studies (here and here) , the more time that has passed since a lead was submitted, the less likely it is to close. The same goes for call attempts – after six calls have been made, the statistical likelihood of closing that lead drastically decreases.
- While they may seem appealing because they are inexpensive, aggregated leads are really best suited for those who have specific business models where they’re able to contact high volumes of low-intent prospects (for example a very large, independent agency running high-volume, fully-staffed call centers).
4. Facebook Leads
- Lead vendors who generate prospects from Facebook ads typically target consumers through banners or advertisements that mention insurance-related keywords like “auto insurance quote,” “life insurance,” or “final expense,” etc. These work great for some agents (particularly those with larger teams of producers able to make many outbound prospecting calls), as they are able to convert and retain enough customers to see a decent ROI. The downside in my experience, is that these leads are rarely available as “exclusive,” and are often marked by lower quality. One reason may be that many prospects are hesitant to submit information via Facebook (due to data security concerns). In fact, according to Business Insider's 2018 Digital Trust survey, “81% of [Facebook users] have little to no confidence that Facebook will protect their data and privacy.” Alternatively, they may be the type of consumer who has requested insurance through multiple portals, with Facebook being just one of many.
- It can be difficult to get good, consistent returns on Facebook generated insurance leads—they often are filled with incorrect information and clients may not remember clicking on them. In addition, these leads may be generated via targeted keywords like "free" and "subsidy" which may bring a higher volume of leads, but with less intent to purchase. In fact according to research from MarketingProfs, social trails far behind email, SEO and paid when it comes to lead generation channels with the most impact on revenue.
5. Warm Transfers
- With a warm transfer, the lead vendor transfers prospects who have been contacted by a call center (on behalf of the lead vendor), then minimally qualified and transferred on the phone to you during a specified period of time you have previously designated as being open for calls. For many vendors, if you miss the call you will be charged for it.
- If you pick up the call, you often have a short time (generally anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the vendor) to qualify the prospect and decide whether to “keep” them and try and proceed with the sale. These insurance leads cost a lot typically—you will be charged a premium for them compared to most other lead types—so it’s crucial that you have an effective system in place to work these if you decide to use them.
- Warm transfers differ from the other types of leads I’ve so far discussed here, as they may be initially sourced through different channels (one vendor may source warm transfers through the internet, while another may source them via telemarketing). The key factor is that the lead (however initially sourced) is ultimately contacted by a call center and pre-qualified, then delivered as a live call transferred to the agent end user. In addition warm transfer calls are more expensive (up to 5X) compared with standard internet leads.
6. Pre-Set Phone Or Face-to-face Meeting Leads
- Similar to warm transfers, these may be sourced via different marketing channels. What matters here is that the lead vendor has already scheduled a meeting time with the prospect before it is delivered to the agent / lead buyer.
- I’ve seen pre-set life insurance appointment leads run 10 to 30 times the cost of normal life leads. To get these type of leads from a vendor who can set up a phone meeting and/or a face-to-face meeting, you will generally need to pay significantly more when they are available.
- You’ll definitely pay a premium for these leads, but depending on the vendor there may be no guarantee that the prospect is even in the market for insurance. However, you are guaranteed a meeting, which may be an opportunity you can capitalize on if you are an excellent salesperson. By their very nature this type of leads is typically going to be low in volume relative to the other lead types covered here.
Read Now: The Insurance Lead Generation Strategy Playbook: What You Need To Know To Bind More Policies
7. Internet Leads
- Internet insurance lead services leverage forms to generate leads online (excluding through Facebook which we covered in #4 “Facebook Leads”). Here a client looking online for various search terms (“car insurance quote,” etc.) connects with a website, then fills out a questionnaire related to insurance and consents to sharing the information with an insurance agent. Agents are typically expected to call the client as soon as the lead comes in, as (if the vendor maintains high quality standards) the form was likely filled out by the consumer just a few seconds before.
- Agents get key information (often what they need to quote the prospect), and the clients are sourced from the agent’s preferred geographic area and then filtered to meet the agent’s desired risk filters depending on the type of lead (i.e., Are they a homeowner? Do they have good credit? Are they married?).
- The industry is filled with misconceptions about internet leads, but the truth is, they can be an exceptional option for agents looking for more consistent, scalable ways to grow their books of business. However, be aware that the price of leads often increases with their quality and ROI potential. It may be a cliche, but when it comes to internet leads it’s pretty accurate to say that you get what you pay for!
Choosing A Lead Generation Partner
After you’ve done your research and analyzed your needs, you may be ready to find out more about partnering with a firm that provides high quality lead opportunities via the internet, like EverQuote. When you partner with EverQuote, you have the opportunity to experience our onboarding process, where you’ll learn about best practices for sales, what works and what doesn’t when talking with internet leads, and more. With EverQuote, you have complete control over your leads. And you can even pause your account any time, with no consequences. Click here to get a tour of EverQuote’s tools with one of our experts.