Step 5: The Value of Lead Options and Compensation
MONEY!!! it’s all about the MONEY BABY!!!
I combined leads and compensation because this is where the money comes in and goes out. You're about to start a business! It’s your business and you need to be focused first on selling and secondly on profit margins. This is the order! Make no mistake about it! We talked about people entering into the wrong partnerships with IMO’s earlier, taking super high comp from someone that can’t help you with leads or telesales is a recipe for failure.
WHAT IS A LEAD
A lead is nothing more than an opportunity to present to someone. Let me contradict myself now. A lead is someone that has shown interest in your product that you are going to present to in hopes of closing a sale. Not just a list of names. Those are people that most likely don’t want to be bothered. I have worked the very best leads and while there are always lay downs you still must close deals. Too many agents expect far too much from their leads. If every lead were a lay down there would be no need for agents.
Live TV Leads (Live TV Leads are prospects responding to a 30-60 second commercial running about final expense specifically. The caller is transferred in real-time to the agent) have always been known to be the highest quality leads on the planet. Although some unique leads are being generated on the internet that rival TV leads, we will assume TV leads are still king. That’s the good news. The bad news is not all TV leads are alike but there are IMO’s out here pimping the lower grade leads as the best thing since sliced bread. Be very careful signing up with an IMO that is offering TV leads for under $35-$45 dollars. True TV leads are difficult for an independent agent to work because the agent must be available when the caller comes through. These leads are great for call centers.
TV Leads generated from commercials advertising free merchandise such as medical supplies, cell phones and discount prescription drug cards. The caller is given several options to choose from to get additional information. When they select final expense the lead is created. These leads are usable but not the same quality as a live TV lead. The cost is much less and the convenience of these leads make them attractive.
Internet leads have always had their issues. Many vendors openly resell the leads or auction them off to the highest bidder. This causes all sorts of issues. Recently I was introduced to a new web-based lead that has shown astronomical promise. These leads rival live live TV leads, are much cheaper and can be worked by independent agents. The most important factor when purchasing internet leads, or any other type of lead, is to make sure they are exclusive to you.
Telemarketed Leads are generated by cold calling or calling from an aged lead list. These leads are not the same quality of the new internet leads or live TV leads but again they are a viable option.
Off-Shore Telemarketed Leads need to avoided at all costs. There are huge compliance risks and the quality is far too low to invest in these leads.
Direct Mail is king in the face to face world. Telesales is the exact opposite. Direct mail takes a week or two to get back after the client has returned the mail piece. The odds of the client answering the phone and allowing you to present are too low. Leave these for the face to face guys.
A Hidden Gem
Time is money and you are a new agent looking to make money, right? The key to maximizing profits is to mix your lead flow so you get the most bang for your buck. However, the downside of this strategy is you will need to spend time calling on prospects instead of presenting. UNLESS, you find a pre-closer to do the calling and pre-screening for you. This is the hidden gem that allows you to spend your time selling and not prospecting. When searching for an IMO to partner ask them if they offer live transfers. Very few do so if you get the expected NO then ask them if they can help train someone you hire. In the event they can’t you would be best served to continue your search.
We won’t spend much time on this topic because it is very simple. You get what you pay for and you pay with the level of commission you receive.
Captive agents accept less commission for free leads and a ton of support. Independent agents usually look for the highest comp they can find with an IMO that still provides them some value. Make sure to do your research to find a good opportunity and not some low-ball deal that sets you up for failure.
The Highest Contract isn’t always the most Valuable
Access to leads is probably the biggest value proposition when deciding between two IMO’s that offer competitive contracts. Compare the lead options and pricing to make your final decision. I am in favor of partnering with one IMO to get access to their top-notch leads. Often they will request all your contracts. I am fine with this as well. Some call it semi-captive but in the end if you’re getting competitive comp from an IMO that can supply various lead option then it is a win-win.
Whether you go captive or independent you need to get your commission schedules and understand the full value of the IMO’s offer before signing anything. Too many unsuspecting agents sign up with IMO’s that simply don’t know telesales and have nothing other than a high contract to bring to the table. Partner with an IMO that is willing and able to give you a competitive deal and support your needs. That is where you will find the most success and make the most money.