I've long wanted to write articles about Internet Leads (Life Insurance Leads, Health Insurance Leads, Homeowner's Insurance Leads, etc) and why they are a waste of money, time, and a drain on the Insurance Industry. Many thanks EzineArticles with this powerful resource in communication!
Insurance Agents all over the USA are getting solicitations everyday for one new lead program or another. The most recent scam is Internet Insurance leads. Internet leads or leads generated on the Internet are 90% bogus junk...a diamond in the rough (in the forum of a great lead) occurs about once every 20 leads. That's roughly $400 to access that good lead - as well as the greatest expense, labor and time allocated to one other 19 leads.
Where are these companies going wrong, then, with their Lead generation? Why don't these leads develop into clients? This informative article will attempt to address these questions.
Interested in knowing which "insurance lead" generating companies I'm discussing? Just type in "life insurance leads", "medical insurance leads", "mortgage leads" on google, yahoo, or MSN...they are DOMINATING the rankings!
The very first problem is the way in which that these companies are generating leads. Some are utilizing pay per click (PPC), some use aggressive (technical) techniques to have ranking in a "natural search" and some pay other webmasters to generate leads and send them to the lead company. NONE of them really know much concerning the Insurance Business...only just how to generate leads.
Pay Per Click - There are several companies like adwords.google.com and that will place your link at the the top of page instantly if you're willing to outbid other pay per click participants. On Google, the going price for the main element word "life insurance" is about $20/click! The lead generating website will likely then take that lead and farm it out to about 4 different insurance agents. All that will pay roughly $20 for that lead apiece. And so the $20 investment there that has been made for that click is multiplied by 4 = $80! And what does the client get? 4 agents calling them and wanting to outbid each other. All using a number of tactics, sometimes shady, sometimes legitimate, and sometimes downright outrageous...but that's another story!
Aggressive (Technical) Techniques - Another way that these lead generating websites manage to get thier site noticed is by getting ranked highly in natural searches. A natural search result could be the links and description of a particular website that is found after dark pay per click sites, about 4 sites down. Head to google.com and type in "life insurance quote ".The very first 3-5 sites are pay per click, then under that you find the natural search results. Google, msn, yahoo, and the like are improving at weeding out the spam here, but it still persists and will likely always persist provided that you can find SEO (search engine optimization) experts which are getting paid! What I'm getting at here's that these lead generating websites are getting to the top of natural searches NOT by knowing all there's to know about insurance - but by being really really great at technical stuff like SEO, link exchange, and artificial means of gaining prominence.
Lead Brokering - The next and most shady way that these sites are getting these leads to sell is via other websites. Other websites that have prominence and "traffic" will get onboard with companies (commission affiliate brokers) that sell leads at wholesale prices to these lead generation companies. Exactly why is this shady? Because these leads are generated by whatever means possible...SPAM, HACKING into other peoples sites and redirecting them to the affiliate site, buying of dead .coms and redirecting those visitors to the affiliate area, and on and on.
Roughly 1 tenth of the sites which are towards the top of a seek out any given term know anything about insurance or have any content of value for the customer!
Another problem with the leads is that they're not screened well (although many companies boast which they screen the leads perfectly - which, within my experience is simply not true!). In my own research, 90% of the leads from these Internet Lead Companies either left bogus contact information, they certainly were not truly thinking about obtaining insurance, they only wanted a "quote", or would apply only to express "nahh, I can't afford it" when the policy came in (as applied for!). This really is where the most waste comes in...manpower. Even with meticulous follow-up, the very best rates in the business, a dedicated assistant and staff, and all the technological resources and underwriting resources at my fingertips - even this might not make this type of lead program work.
So what works and where is the Insurance Industry choosing all of this? I believe that individuals are shopping on the Internet. They'll even head to these lead generating websites, type in their info, and get an eager agent to call to them in hopes of a sale. The client, in this manner, gets quotes! But that Agent RARELY gets a sale. The Agent, then, is spinning their wheels and focusing their resources on a wild goose. The client, when they do truly want to buy, then takes those quotes and finds an agent in the yellow pages or strikes up a discussion with a pal who then refers them compared to that trusted agent friend of theirs.
Therein lies the solution! Insurance is sold within circles of trusted friends and associates. It is certainly not sold over the Internet to any great degree and it never will be. My advise is always to stick to the old fashioned way of marketing - through Optimist Clubs, Rotary Clubs, LOCAL lead groups like BNI, asking folks "what would you do for a full time income" in hopes that they'll ask you what YOU do, and so on.
The insurance "leads" companies available rest easy, though...knowing that they may always claim that their leads are worth the amount of money, that they're generated with the purest of intentions, and that they'll refund your cash for bad leads. The truth is that these companies commonly blame bad leads on the agent's inability to sell or the quality and competitiveness of the firms that these Agents show these clients. They more frequently than not will not credit you for bogus leads - often saying that there IS enough contact information (in the proper execution of an current email address which never gets answered by the client).
This scenario also leaves the door wide open for fraudulent claims in quoting. Contemplate it - if 4 agents get the same lead, what gives one agent the edge over one other Agent? Some competing agents is going to do just about anything to have that sale or outbid one other agent. Outbidding one other agent leads to false claims and unattainable premiums in relation to a client's true rating! You will find so many variables like accurate underwriting, backdating, A+ or better company usage (or not!), and outright lies that harbor corruption. These factors could be abused in order to lure the client to fill out the application. And that client is more prone to take the policy once it comes in (after months of waiting) merely to be done with the ordeal. Main point here - the agent with the very best quoted price wins, not the agent who quotes the client accurately and with good companies.
So if you're and Agent and you are considering buying insurance leads over the Internet, be forewarned. You'll spend your own time on wild goose chases, you'll fill the pockets of the lead generating companies, and you is going to do the industry an injustice by supporting these companies that are using technology, not expertise in Insurance, to win YOUR customers - customers that will in the same way easily be obtained by traditional means.
If you should be a "client" and you are seeking Insurance of any type, contact me and I could refer you to as many Independent, trustworthy, licensed, Insurance Agents in your area as you'd like at NO CHARGE!