The Big Sandwich: Why Insurance Agents Should Buy Leads

Fran Majidi February 14, 2023
lead generation for insurance agents

Let's answer the age-old question, "Why should I buy insurance leads?" with another question: "Why should I buy a sandwich when I can make it myself?" Seriously, this is a perfectly appropriate comparison!

As an insurance agent, you should be generating your own insurance leads (i.e. making your own sandwiches) most of the time, whether it be through online ads, print ads, even radio and television spots if your agency can afford it. However, you still need to buy leads just as you would need to buy a sandwich if you were hungry and away from home.

The ultimate goal for the insurance agent is a sale. For the hungry person, the goal is a sandwich. So, let's explore the best way to get that insurance lead (the sandwich) in the best way.

Stay with me...

Ingredient 1: Cost

Now, there are several ways to close an insurance sale but it all boils down to insurance leads, more insurance leads, and even more insurance leads. Buying leads and live-transfer calls are two legitimate ways to increase your chances of closing a deal. So, what's stopping you? The cost of buying leads, the worry that you're cheating somehow, the lack of a guarantee of sales from said leads, and, oh, did we mention the cost?

Yes, paying for insurance leads that are not guaranteed sales is the part that bugs most insurance agents (naturally). Now let's go back to the hungry-person scenario. Remember the two options: making or buying the sandwich. The number one reason most people make their own sandwiches is that it's more cost effective. Most of the time, however, you're paying close to what it costs to buy a ready-made sandwich from Subway. Often, the cost of all the ingredients (including the mayonnaise and the pickle, lettuce, tomato, etc.) adds up to make your sandwich just a little cheaper than the store-bought one.

Now, let's consider the time it takes to make the sandwich and the dishes and utensils you will dirty and have to wash. The gap between the cost-effectiveness of eating a homemade sandwich and the store-bought sandwich narrows down even more, right?

Now, think about what goes into generating an insurance lead. You better believe it costs money! (More on this below, in Ingredient 3: Marketing.) However, you don't need to buy exclusive leads, which are more expensive. Shared leads are good leads but are more affordable to buy in volume. With that said, there is more competition with shared leads so you'll need to work a little harder and dial a little quicker.

Ingredient 2: Time

It's hard to quantify time, really, but most of us know we have too little of it. It's actually more productive and cost-effective to buy insurance leads and spend all day contacting them and following up than it is to sit behind a desk and learn all the ways you can optimize your website to generate organic traffic which may or may not bring in actively shopping insurance buyers.

There's no denying that selling insurance is a numbers game, so what do you think you should you be doing most of the day? Yep, you guessed it: calling prospects and following up until you close as many leads as humanly possible. Time is money, and money is time when it comes to buying insurance leads, much like Subway cuts down on your prep time when you need a sandwich.

Content marketing, email marketing, paid search marketing...You do know that there are humans specializing in these areas of marketing on a career track, don't you? You're not a marketer, you're an insurance agent and most insurance agents cannot afford to buy services from a professional marketing company (aged sirloin sandwich with a dollop of creme fraiche and caviar on top).

Look at what your competitors are doing (or services they're buying). Compare the cost to generate leads with the cost of buying insurance leads.

What About the Close Rate of Insurance Leads?

The success of an insurance agent depends on an innate talent to win over and help people as well as a wide network of people to sell insurance to. No, your close rate will not magically be much higher once you buy insurance leads; it will mimic the close rate you're at when you generate insurance leads -- unless you alter your selling style.

Lead generation companies all differ from one another. When it comes to SmartFinancial buying leads means working with an account manager for the life of your account. This is who will help you place filters on insurance leads so they generate leads that are useful to you and tell you which leads you can refund. They may also offer tips for you to close more leads based on past successes other agents have had.

Lead Companies' Customer Service

Not all lead generation companies boast such great customer service so be wary when buying leads from a lead vendor that is not actively supporting you through the sales process. Also lead companies may specialize in life insurance leads or auto insurance leads. Some lead vendors have a marketing strategy to generate leads for all types of insurance.

Life Insurance Lead Generation

If you're a life insurance agent, we don't to tell you that yours is the most challenging insurance product to sell because it's a time consuming process that requires time and reflection on the part of the buyer. But when you do sell life insurance, it's worth the cost per lead, a huge benefit, especially when you sell life insurance products other than final expense insurance. Now, that's a satisfying sandwich, and SmartFinancial has high quality life insurance leads too.

Ingredient 3: Marketing

The fact of the matter is that marketing is a soft science at best and weak sales at worst. While blogging and sending out press releases are great ways to get people to know that you're selling insurance, this time-consuming activity is really only meant to reinforce name recognition and brand awareness to generate more sales eventually. Yes, we said eventually. Rarely does content marketing yield sales. For the time it sucks you'd think there would be some instant gratification. Most lead generation companies create content in volume and place online ads. Creating stellar online advertisements and satisfying search engines are what a good lead generation company is doing on your behalf and at a cost to the lead vendor.

Doing your own blogging and social media is the equivalent of making your own sandwich (make some at home, yes). Buying a lead is like buying the sandwich (mayo and pickles included). The marketing behind the leads is already done for you and taken even a step further with Google AdWords on the part of the lead company. The active websites pages and blogs do a little dance with the active Google ads, triggering action on the part of the shopper to fill out a form or make a call.

If you want to do all of this work yourself instead, know that not only are there costs involved, but there is no guarantee you will close with the organic leads you generate yourself either. Which bring us to the golden question: Why would you expect there to be a guarantee when buying leads or live transfer calls?

"I've Bought Leads and They Didn't Work for Me"

Okay, so you bought the sandwich and decided you don't really like bologna. Try buying a different kind of sandwich next time instead of banning sandwiches of all varieties from your diet altogether. Seriously.

Not all leads companies are the same. Each lead provider generates insurance leads made up of different pools of people because each lead company attracts a certain type of person (conservative, progressive, hippy, businessmen, etc.), just like every brand attracts a certain demographic.

If buying insurance leads from one company didn't satisfy you, you should try another lead generation vendor and another until you find the one that nurtures you the way you deserve to be nurtured.

Lead quality is important too with new leads and aged leads. Also important to note: Your lead volume will depend on how much you're willing to spend (you get to bid on that yourself when purchasing leads).

Cut the Sandwich and Do Your Part

For you to get the juiciest leads, you've got to follow the guidelines set by the lead provider. For one thing, learn about their credit system and don't lose it if you get a bogus lead or two because it's just bound to happen sooner or later.

A good lead generation company like SmartFinancial will have a generous credit and refund policy in place, but don't try to take advantage either. The relationship you're building with your leads producers should be a lasting one.

You also have to have a sense of urgency. No, don't map out leads on your calendar and let them run cold. You need to hustle just as hard as if you baited the prospect with an expensive direct-mail campaign. Actually, you have to be even hungrier...

With your account manager you'll be building the best and tastiest leads ever. It takes trial and error to get the perfect balance of meat, cheese and veggie in a sandwich. Very similarly, you will actively work with your leads exec to place the right filters. You'll test and try other filters until you find the right combination that yields business for your agency.

Whenever you're ready for lunch, contact us at SmartFinancial.