Like it or not, buying leads has become a necessary evil in the highly competitive landscape that agents have to work in. Everyone’s buying leads, all the way from your neighborhood captive insurance agent to the big carriers. Some are buying insurance leads in the dozens, others in the hundreds. Often, insurers buy from several companies at the same time, a fact that has many agents wondering if all insurance leads and calls are the same. What dictates the quality of the lead generation company? Why should I buy from one company versus another?
Organic Leads vs Ads
The way a company goes about generating leads matters. For instance, SmartFinancial’s CEO is a former Allstate insurance agent, so he understands the entire selling process, from lead generation to underwriting policies. The quality of the leads SmartFinancial generates is therefore better than the competition’s, especially when it comes to auto insurance quotes. In order to ask the right questions and get prospects to enter the quoting process, SmartFinancial’s call center staff and account managers are all trained to give agents all the tools they need to make a sale.
Specialization and Expertise
Some lead companies sell all sorts of leads: real estate leads, banking leads, credit card leads and insurance leads. SmartFinancial only generates insurance leads. Insurance is all they do and there’s something to be said for that. If a company is spread out in different industries, chances are that they are generating leads from ads, not the organic methods SmartFinancial uses, like blogging. Often, the competition’s leads are not prequalified either. When a lead is prequalified based on the form they agree to fill out on SmartFinancial’s website, the chances of doing business with that prospect are much higher than when they simply click on an ad.
Another way that SmartFinancial differs from other lead generation companies is that they operate a comparison shopping engine. Other companies just have prospects fill out a form for one quote whereas SmartFinancial compares rates by working with large national carriers. Most insurance shoppers know that comparing rates is what they should be doing. They also hate being bombarded with loads of calls at once. When they learn that they can kill two birds with one stone by filling out one form with SmartFinancial to get a series of free insurance quotes, they are happy. Unless the prospect filled out other lead forms before coming onto the SmartFinancial website, they will not have to field agent calls for the next few weeks either. If you buy exclusive leads or live-transfer calls, you may be the only agent the lead speaks with, which is a good thing for everyone involved. SmartFinancial’s team of in-house call center operators will connect you with callers who are actively pursuing insurance quotes. Live-transfer calls have exceptionally high conversion rates.
Most lead generation companies do not have dedicated account managers who know and understand the business of selling insurance. Each account manager at SmartFinancial works closely with their partner-agents to guide them on best practices in contacting leads and in answering live calls. They also will work with you to customize your leads based on geography and your schedule. You can choose which hours of the day the leads come in and how many you want per hour. You can also set/change the times that are best for you to receive live transfer calls. Account managers at SmartFinancial spend time with you to figure out what the optimal lead cycle is for you and your business. SmartFinancial’s goal is for you to succeed so that they will have your return business.
Returns policies are also important. No one is claiming that every lead is a sure thing but there should be guidelines about what qualifies a refund for a bad lead. A good insurance leads company will have a generous policy in place with specific rules about what can be credited and what can’t. No matter how good the company is, there will always be a few bad ones in the mix. SmartFinancial’s relationship with agents is that there are adjustments and credits given as you go along and receive services. So, you’re always adjusting methods and adjusting balances. You end up forming a very tight relationship with your account manager because both of you need to work as a team in order for you both to succeed.
You are always in control after your account manager gives you a tour through the easy-to-use dashboard at SmartFinancial. The best technology minds got together to make this platform effective and your account manager will guide you on how to ask for refunds/credits here and how to set your desired call schedule, etcetera. You can control your lead flow here (and change it if you need a break or want more).
So are all companies the same? No, and the examples we gave you here are the reasons why you have to try several companies to whittle it down to the ones that work for you and with you. Much like it is between agents and clients, the most important part of working with a leads company is building a relationship that works for you for the long haul. We hope you will give SmartFinancial a try. We are here to help you succeed!