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Insurance Leads: Shared Leads vs Exclusive Leads

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Fran Majidi March 9, 2021
shared leads vs exclusive leads

The insurance industry changed significantly when insurance technology companies entered the scene. Lead vendors became the heroes during the pandemic, giving insurance agents access to prospects looking for insurance quotes and savings.

Insurance agencies all around the country are now selling insurance products by meeting insurance prospects over the phone

Insurance agencies all around the country are now selling insurance products by meeting insurance prospects over the phone, often without ever meeting in person, because shopping for insurance online has become the preferred method of buying insurance, even life insurance!

The Menu of Insurance Leads: Choices and Prices

When you buy insurance leads from lead generation companies, you are given a choice in the type of investment you're making, and the price is usually reflective of the quality of the insurance leads you to buy as well as volume and competition.

Your chances of writing a policy are always higher the less competition you have and the better the insurance leads fit your ideal profile using filters. Therefore, exclusive leads cost more on average. With that said, your agency may be able to buy more chances to play if you spend less money on exclusive leads and buy more shared leads. Let's look at some differences between the two and some commonly asked questions about insurance leads.

Are Exclusive Leads Worth the Cost?

Regardless of which type of lead your agency buys, the bottom line is that you need to buy quality leads from a reliable lead generation company. Your goal should be to buy internet insurance leads that were generated from the right marketing strategy or strategies, not a contest on Facebook. If you don't have the appetite to compete with several other insurance agents and don't like rushing to be the first caller, exclusive leads are worth the price.

Regardless of which type of lead your agency buys, you need to buy quality leads from a reliable lead generation company.

If you're torn between buying shared leads and exclusive leads (or even live transfers), consider your sales style and how much you're willing to hustle. As an insurance agent, you already know that moving fast and never sounding rushed are important, so regardless of which type of lead you buy, make sure to get on the phone as soon as the lead comes in and follow up until you make the sale. Buy both types of leads and evaluate your successes to see which has a better Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

If you're torn between buying shared leads and exclusive leads, consider your sales style and how much you’re willing to hustle.

Some agents like to buy both shared leads and exclusive leads as well as live-transfer calls, which are the most expensive of the three but have a higher close ratio than internet insurance leads.

Which Lead Generation Companies Are Best for the Insurance Products I Sell?

If you are a car, home, health or life insurance agent, know that SmartFinancial has helped hundreds of insurance agencies like yours see a spike in sales using their insurance leads. SmartFinancial even offers lead programs for Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement agents.

Always make sure that your lead vendor only sells insurance leads, not leads for real estate or other types of businesses. Look at the company's reputation and marketing strategies to see how they are finding consumers.

Buying insurance leads is a great way to amplify brand awareness if you are expanding to new territories. You won't even need to leave home as you grow your insurance business. Your lead provider will take care of the marketing, while you sell as many insurance policies as you can.

Let's dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of shared leads versus exclusive leads.

How Many Insurance Agencies Get Access to Shared Insurance Leads?

The less competition with shared insurance leads, the more valuable they are. SmartFinancial shares data with fewer insurance agents than most lead generation companies. Some vendors will have an insurance agent competing with 3 or 4 other agents, but at SmartFinancial, a shared lead is only distributed to 2 other insurance agents, and they make sure the other agents do not represent your insurance company, if you're a captive agent.

The Reputation of a Lead Provider Is Everything

The reputation of an insurance leads vendor matters. On the rare occasion that a lead vendor mistakenly sends the same insurance lead to two agents from the same company, you should get a credit for that lead. However, not all vendors do so, or they make it very difficult to return leads. SmartFinancial's reputation, with an A+ BBB rating, speaks for itself. Do a little research before you buy insurance leads.

Industry Best Practices with an Insurance Lead

Expect the insurance sales process with insurance leads to be the same as any lead you generate on your own. Just because you buy them doesn't mean they are guaranteed sales. Shared leads are cheaper in price but you really have to jump on them. You must have dedicated insurance producers ready to call when the leads come through and to follow up over the next few weeks to make the sale.

You'll need to contact the lead several times, using multiple touches. Always remember to text, call and email, because not everyone picks up a phone with an unrecognized number. Some insurance agencies even send direct mail. If you're buying lots of shared leads, you better have enough insurance agents to call right away and to consistently follow up until you make the sale. Otherwise, you're wasting money and are better off buying what you can juggle.

If you're not interested in making much effort in contacting the lead, your money may be more wisely spent on live transfer calls, which cost more than shared and exclusive leads, but are guaranteed contact. Only buy calls if you are able to take calls when they are set to flow in. You can always pause your account and/or set specific times that you're available to take calls, so make sure you're on top of your account. If no one at your agency is able to take the call and properly establish dialogue with the prospect, it's money burned.

Exclusive Leads: A Goldmine for an Insurance Agency

Exclusive leads are the middle child of insurance leads and are often ignored. Many agents overlook exclusive leads as an alternative to shared leads or they jump straight into buying live transfer calls too avoid having any competition.

Exclusive leads are a wonderful product if worked by the right hands. Yes, they cost more but you're the only agent contacting this person. This type of insurance lead is worth the few extra dollars due to limited competition. With that said, the vendor who sells you an exclusive lead cannot guarantee that the prospect didn't make multiple insurance queries elsewhere. For the most part, however, exclusive leads are a goldmine because contact rates are much higher and you may even be the only agent that person is talking to.

Communicate with Your Account Manager

At SmartFinancial, there are no contracts. However, you will be billed once your account dips below a certain threshold so it's important to keep track. Your account manager will remind you too.

Working closely with your account manager is also important because the way an account is set up will greatly influence your success at working leads. Tell your account manager what you can and can't write so they can meet your needs with filters. You'll pay more to set filters on insurance leads to get the ideal profile, but if you work with a carrier who only writes a certain type of policy, it may work in your favor, despite the extra cost.

Your SmartFinancial account manager is always on hand to help you customize your account to optimize your experience with the lead program.

The Cost of Filters and How They Affect Volume

Exclusive and shared leads can easily double in price if you add all filter options. So take that into account as you tweak your account, and only add the filters that you must, otherwise, you may not get very many leads.

Another trick to boost volume is to add area codes. But even if you add all the filters possible, you're paying as much as you would for a good meal and you'll reap more at each renewal. Which brings us to the next question: When do you see the money?

When Should an Agent Expect to See a Return on Investment with Insurance Leads?

You have to have patience for the first 18 months of working with a lead program. You may start selling right away but you've got overhead. This is the way we like to break down the ROI schedule: For the first 6 months, you're paying for the cost of the leads. You're also paying producers to contact and follow up with the leads. There's also rent and utilities to pay. Only 6 months later, however, you should expect to break even at net zero after all your bills are paid. Then, 6 months later, you should begin to see a profit that only grows each time a client renews. It's important to hone your customer service skills because retention makes all the difference in the world.