Remember: Leads are People, Too!

lead peopleThrough the course of my career in lead generation, I have worked with many different sized companies helping them to scale their business. One of the key things I always look at is this: How does the sales force get leads, and what do they do with them?

For most business owners, generating leads is at the center of most marketing mandates, yet most companies never really take full advantage of their investment in those leads. And when they think about scaling the business, they think they need to generate even more leads. I see too few companies invest in getting more revenue out of the leads they have.

One of the universal truths I have seen is that sales people basically hate leads that are generated by marketing. Unless, of course, the “lead” is ready to buy.  This is what trips up 90% of sales teams, as they assume the word "lead" equals "sale" which is inherently wrong.

One of the biggest lessons a lot of agency owners come to is this: "Sales people only like hot leads." 

I don’t say this to take a shot at sales people. Effective sales people do a heroic job of cultivating their own business, and getting their own leads based on personal outreach, account development, and referrals.  But it doesn't stop there; in fact, when sales people recognize a lead for what it ACTUALLY is, an opportunity, they find success where others can't.

It seems counter-intuitive to some, however when you approach each lead as an opportunity, you will net a higher close rate.  Maybe not from the "ready to buy right now" leads, but when working with lead vendors like ours, you're speaking with people who have expressed interest in getting a new insurance policy.

Here are some of the top reasons we see some insurance sales people fail:

1. The consumers' previous insurance isn't listed in the national database.
  • This happens sometimes when a consumer has their policy with an online insurer, or smaller insurance companies.  
  • When this happens, automatically assuming that the consumer isn't insured does not get you closer to a sale, but turns away consumers who were a potential sale, ultimately missing the opportunity.

I can't tell you how many times we hear consumers get denied by a sales person, only to call back in and get a policy through another company.  This practice from sales people is lazy, by refusing to get proof of insurance.  Sometimes that extra step is what closes the deal, and do you know why? Because the sales rep became a trusted adviser for the consumer and took the extra steps necessary to close the policy.

2. The consumer does not have the exact filters that were set up.

  • Sure, when setting up a lead or call campaign, you can select specific filters.  But many sales people forget is those lead are people on the other end, and nobody fits into a cookie cutter mold.
  • This happens when consumers either input the wrong information accidentally or unknowingly.

This reason can be a make it or break it for some agencies. However, something many agency owners don't realize is that sometimes in their specific territory, the type of consumer they are looking for as "ideal" who will potentially give them the best return does not exist.  There are, by nature, certain parts of the country where the consumers will not fit every checkbox.  In these areas, agents who don't know the difference between an opportunity and a "free sale" are the most obvious for us to spot.

3. The consumer's previous insurer was a sub-standard carrier.

  • This happens when consumers who may not have the most stellar driving record had no choice but to go with a sub-standard carrier.
  • More often than not, these consumers who have been with a sub-standard carrier for multiple years can now qualify for a policy with a major carrier.

This one is a biggie!  I can't tell you how many opportunities I've seen lost over this reason alone.  Sales reps often assume that since a consumer is with a sub-standard carrier, that they wouldn't qualify for a policy with their company, and immediately end a call, or submit a lead for credit.  This assumption is what loses policies, as these customers DO exist, and often times make fantastic clients!

Don’t Waste Warm Leads

This qualifies as some of the oldest “news” on earth. I bring it up again now only because it is one of the most well-studied AND most ignored marketing practices: Continue marketing to warm leads. It’s cheaper and more valuable than generating new leads.


If you've taken some of the tips above, and are looking at each lead/call as an opportunity, sometimes it doesn't pan out right there and then.  That doesn't mean this person will never be a client, and if you properly work on relationship building and when the time comes for them to shop again, instead of filling out a lead or going through a lead generation site, they'll call you directly.
Remember, "not right now" is not the same thing as "no". Continue to cultivate the relationships with your opportunities and in turn you'll see your business grow.
Tell us what you think!  Does your sales team miss opportunities because of assumptions of your leads? We want to hear from you!
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