Many insurance agents are wary of buying leads because they simply don’t know where to start. You have probably heard nightmarish stories about companies sending over bogus phone numbers or angry prospects who don’t want a quote. Or you may have worked with a company in the past that set you up with the false expectation that you would close the majority of the leads you bought and you closed zero.
You know how easily you can lose hundreds of dollars by signing up with the wrong company, and we want to prevent that from happening. The truth is that there are many lead suppliers out there making false promises and guarantees about their products.
Before you buy leads, you should consider the lead provider’s reputation. Look for reviews on Google, Yelp and BBB. There will always be complainers in the bunch, but if you see a pretty steady stream of positive reviews from other agents, the company you’re considering is probably a legitimate business.
As always, asking the right questions is important before you make an investment in your business. We’ve done the work for you by answering the most common questions insurance agents have about buying insurance leads.
1. How do I get insurance leads?
First, find a lead provider like SmartFinancial, which invests in agents and carriers to sell policies. You’ll want to work with an account manager who follows the progress you’re making so that you increase sales as you continue, not the other way around. This person will be your touchstone when making decisions about filters, with the way you follow up with leads and the way you strategize to sell more policies each week.
Discuss your goals with your account manager and let this person know how much of your marketing budget you’re willing to invest in leads.
2. Why should I buy leads?
Right now, with people taking social distancing measures, you may want to invest more of your marketing dollars into phone sales by contacting verified leads. Even before settling into the new normal of staying away from one another, carriers and agents were buying leads because so many consumers now shop online. That’s where the whole process starts, literally at insurance shoppers’ fingertips. At the height of their online shopping experience, SmartFinancial gets these consumers to answer some questions and brings them to you. Why shouldn’t you buy leads?
3. How much do auto insurance leads cost?
There’s a bidding system involved, so you don’t ever have to go over budget but typically, auto insurance leads range between $5 and $25 depending on filters, geography and exclusivity Also, there are three different types of leads that you can buy. They vary greatly in price, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. The most expensive, for example, will have a very high probability of closing and the cheapest will have more competition. 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 are another product altogether and have exceptionally high conversion rates.
4. What are the best auto insurance leads?
Generating your own leads is difficult and expensive, especially now that the coronavirus has left everyone wary of interaction with strangers. SmartFinancial has the best car insurance leads in the business for the best price.
5. How are leads for insurance agents generated?
Different lead providers do this differently. The best insurance leads are generated organically through strategic marketing campaigns, which include blogging, paid search, advertising and other sources of traffic, which bring consumers to the SmartFinancial questionnaire. After a shopper answers these questions, the lead is verified, which means that they have provided you with the details necessary for you to provide them with a quote.
6. Do I have to pay for my leads in advance?
Some lead providers will ask for prepayment, others will not. SmartFinancial offers customizable payment options. Account managers make every effort to be flexible in creating a payment plan. We even work with some carriers on cost-share programs so the agent pays $0 upfront!
7. What if I get a bad lead?
This is why it’s important to fully understand how your lead provider operates. SmartFinancial has a generous credit policy, which means that if a lead falls outside your territory or has inaccurate information it will be credited to your account. If your lead provider does not provide credit for bad leads, you may want to consider a different vendor.
8. Do I have to sign a contract to buy leads?
Some lead providers require a contract but SmartFinancial does not. There is never a contract and you can cancel your account any time you wish without penalty.
9. Are there a guaranteed number of leads per week or month?
After you sign up with SmartFinancial, you control how many leads you get a week. Generally speaking, the more filters you place on your leads, the fewer leads you will receive. The amount of leads you get depends on how broad a territory you cover and the traffic in that area. If you are not getting as many leads as you want your account manager will tweak your account or suggest that you remove a filter or two to get more traffic. If you want fewer leads because you’re overwhelmed, just ask for fewer leads. If you want to buy leads for your producers, that’s a great idea. The best way to go about attaining your goals is to tell your account manager how much you are hoping to make. Your goal will determine how many leads you’ll need to buy. At SmartFinancial, we highly recommend investing in a Content Management System (CMS) to keep track of your leads. There’s nothing worse than wasting them by being forgetful with follow-up calls.
10. Can I place a maximum on the number of leads I get a day?
Yes, you will only get as many leads as you want. Just tell your account manager what you need.
11. How do I receive leads?
You can have the leads emailed or sent to you in a text or both. You choose the method(s) of notification. If you decide to buy live-transfer calls, we always suggest being familiar with the number that dials in, which will always be the same number. That way, you know there is someone on the other end who has already gone over their details with a call center associate, and they are anxiously waiting for a quote from a licensed agent. We mention this because in order to maintain the organic flow of such a call, you want to answer your phone accordingly, not with a generic greeting. Your account manager will tell what has worked with other agents in the past.
12. How many other agents receive the same lead as me?
Different lead providers have different maximums. SmartFinancial’s is a generous one, with a maximum of only 3 agents of different carriers.
13. Will I be getting the same lead as another agent with the same carrier?
We make every effort to prevent you from getting the same lead as another agent with the same carrier. You will also not get a lead that is currently with your carrier.
14. Are leads geo-targeted?
Yes, you can place filters so that you only get leads from specific areas of the country. We recommend not getting too narrow with geo-targeting but some is helpful. You can go over the specifics of your territory with your account manager who will help you set up the filters to work most effectively.
15. What kinds of filters can I place on leads?
You can filter according to geographic location, age group, risk type, current coverage filter and more.
16. Is there a minimum purchase for leads?
Some lead providers have really high minimum purchases for leads, but SmartFinancial only requires 3 a day. We have no weekly minimums. If you want to be active on any given day, you must receive 3 leads or more, depending on traffic and your budget.
17. Is there a cancellation penalty?
There is no cancellation penalty, but any remaining cash balance must be used on leads/calls.
18. What do I do after I receive a lead?
We suggest calling immediately, so that you are in keeping with the organic flow of the consumer’s shopping process. It also prevents other agents from reaching out to that shopper before you do. Statistics show that a greater percentage of shoppers close a deal with the first agent they speak with, so that should always remain a goal. Even when a conversation goes well and the customer seems interested, it’s unusual to close a deal after the first call. We suggest that if the consumer hesitates to buy, you set up a follow up call. And another. And another... You must keep trying with this lead by bringing something of value to each call you make. Even if he/she goes with another carrier, you can set up an x-date and see if they reconsider towards the end of their new policy term. Listening is the most important thing to do with a lead.
19. Can I pause my account for vacation days?
Yes, you can pause your account for as long as you want. You can also set it to pause for weekends (or not). It’s all up to you, and you can either set your schedule yourself or you can call or email your account manager to do it for you.
20. Can I receive leads over the weekend?
If you wish to, you can set your account to receive leads over the weekend. Remember that many shoppers prefer to take care of personal errands on the weekends.
21. Can I receive text message alerts for new leads?
Yes, you can receive text messages alerting you to new leads, but only if you want them. Otherwise, you can receive them via email.
22. Why are live-transfer calls so expensive?
SmartFinancial has some of the most competitive rates for live-transfer calls and a live call center in California that verifies each lead before transferring the call to the agent. Because the shopper has spent time reviewing their information already, they are invested in buying a policy. The transition to speaking with you couldn’t be smoother. For all these reasons and more, these calls are the most valuable type of lead there is. You’re guaranteed to speak with someone who is in the midst of shopping for what you sell. This is why live-transfer calls have a higher close ratio than data leads.
23. How do you ensure the leads are viable?
Different lead providers use different processes to verify their leads. SmartFinancial uses the leading technology to verify the customer phone number, email address and the length of time spent filling out the form to ensure that it’s not a bot. Our calls are all verified by our call center representatives, who ask all the important questions before transferring them directly to you.
24. What percentage of purchased leads can I expect to close?
This is often the biggest misconception that agents have so it’s good to be honest upfront. If your lead provider is making exorbitant claims, you’re not working with a good company. Most agents have the same close ratio with purchased leads as they do with ones they generate on their own. This is why it’s important to buy enough leads to see a return on investment.
25. How often do I need to contact a lead?
Leads360 discovered that making two calls, versus just one, increased the chances of contacting a lead by 87%. We recommend reaching out by phone, email, text at least 7 to 8 times over a period of a month and also building enough of a rapport as to contact the lead at the end of their policy period if they decide to not purchase your insurance product. You may also get a referral even if the consumer decides not to switch or goes with another carrier.