Disclaimer: I wrote this because I’m doing some work with a lead generation company. I’m helping them with their mortgage leads. I admit I’m prejudiced because I work for the company on a freelance basis but if I had been able to buy leads of this quality when I was in the mortgage industry I would have done much better.
As a sales person one of the hardest things to do is keep your pipeline full… keep generating new prospects and leads and clients. It takes time, money and skill to generate leads.
Hail the Gurus
Every day there is a guru saying social media is the best, another one says blogging, another one says build a referral network, others say write articles, others say print advertising, others say email marketing, others say video marketing and on and on and on...
These are all great ideas but they all have the same 3 problems;
1. They take time. Time to write, post, and do. As a salesperson is your time better spent working with people who are making a decision and want to use your services or is it better to spend your valuable time writing, posting etc.? (Hint: You get paid when you sell something.)
2. They are long term projects with long term results. How long can you wait for the results? (Yes, I know sometimes it happens you get a lead right away but not as often as people think.)
3. They don’t generate new qualified leads every day. You need new leads every day to keep your pipeline full. How long can you last working with one or two prospects every week? How much will you earn if you spend your time working with people instead of taking time to write, post etc.?
Are You Making These Mistakes Too?
I hate to admit it but I made the same mistakes as many other sales professionals and that many are still making.
I spent more time trying to generate leads than making sales. I never had enough qualified leads or even unqualified leads to achieve the success I wanted. I read books on advertising, marketing, blogging, and writing. I tried and tested hundreds of ad’s that didn’t work (and some that did). I spent thousands on direct mail that got a low return. (The best thing that happened was I realized I’m a better writer than sales person.)
I did a direct mail campaign. I went to a company that supplied names and addresses for a specific demographic of prospect. The demographic was based on average house price, average income, average debt load and need for the product I was selling. The results were pretty good, I came out ahead financially. The breakdowns were the time it took to write the mailer, split testing the mailer, and getting the pieces mailed.
I designed and had flyers delivered and delivered some myself (on the advice of a guru who claims cold calling is dead). I got a few leads but because I had to work those leads my campaign got off track time wise and then the special offer on the flyer was no longer valid.
I did try one lead generation company but I went on price not on quality. I learned a hard lesson; the leads were being sold to at least three other people in the same area. A friend of mine and I were even sold the same lead! I didn’t do enough research on lead generation companies; it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
You Have Choices
If you want to sell more you have 3 choices.
1. Invest financially in your advertising and track the results so you can learn what works and what doesn’t. In other words become your own lead generation company and spend tens of thousands or more on advertising every month.
2. Wait for the results from your writing, blogging, referral building, networking and email campaign approach. Hope that the leads you get close quickly and that they all will do business with you.
3. Work with a reputable lead generation company that understands your industry, your typical client and your needs. Depending on how many leads you need or want each month you could get one or more leads every day.
How Do You Choose A Good Lead Generation Company?
Choosing a good lead generation company can be quite a job. If you do a Google search there are about 37,900,000 references to lead generation companies and articles. How do find the right one for you and your business?
1. Define your ideal customer. For example in the mortgage industry there are several different profiles of customers. A client, high end clients, first time buyers, poor credit, self-employed, mortgages over $1,000,000, mortgages under $500,000 and more.
2. Use your profile to search lead generation companies that provide leads for your industry. Go to their websites, look for testimonials, read the profile of the information they provide, read how they generate their leads.
3. While going through the website try to answer these questions;
Do they sell the leads more than once?
Do they have a lead buy-back policy?
Are they a true lead generation company or are they a lead broker or list broker?
How long have they been in business?
4. Contact the company. Call them or email them. Have your questions ready. When you speak with them tell them who your ideal client is. Ask them if they have that type of client profile.
Here is an example of a lead profile from the mortgage lead generation company I’m working with.
1) First Name
2) Last Name
3) Daytime phone
4) Evening phone
5) Email address
6) Postal code
7) Credit rating (poor, fair, good)
8) Home value
9) Home equity
10) Down payment (yes, no)
The question that started this article was “should you buy leads?” Only you can answer that but remember;
· It’s faster,
· It’s easier,
· It’s cheaper than investing in your own advertising campaign,
· The leads can be tailored to fit your area, your client profile and your specific business
· A good company has a buy back policy
· Gives you the time you need to make sales instead of taking time from your life
Agree or disagree your thoughts and comments are appreciated.