You see the websites, you see the ads: exclusive, never before sold, prospects eager to buy, insurance and annuity Leads. Some leads cost a few dollars - others are over one-hundred a pop.
I was curious, just how good are these insurance and annuity leads? I decided to find out.
I'm not going to name specific insurance and annuity lead websites, but I will give you a summary of how it all shook out.
Insurance and Annuity Lead Website A:
Results: Terrible. 10% of the leads my staff called got number no longer in service recordings. The rest: the people had no idea what we were talking about. They were not interested in annuities, insurance or investments, nor did they remember filling out a request for information form on the internet.
Insurance and Annuity Lead Website B:
Results: Terrible. Prospects didn't recall filling out request for information on anything related to annuities, insurance or financial planning. Most just hung-up.
Insurance and Annuity Leads Website C:
Results: About twenty percent remembered filling out a request for info. However, they had been called numerous times by different agents. Most were getting sick and tired of the calls. A few had begun working with other agents. Most hung-up angrily.
I spent two-thousand dollars on this experiment. I did not find one-receptive buyer. I had thrown away my money, not to mention time spent by my phoning staff to contact these "hot prospects".
What the heck was going on? How could these websites sell such garbage?
I poked around, wrote a few e-mails to 'industry experts', not surprisingly, nobody got back to me. Luckily, I did end up making contact with a marketing person who had previously worked for a big lead selling outfit. She gave me the juicy details of how the majority of these lead companies operate, whether it is insurance leads, long-term care leads, annuity leads, or MLM/Work-from-Home leads. They all employ the same methods.
Method #1: You send cute E-card to your mother wishing her a happy birthday. You fill out name, e-mail and click send. Your name and e-mail are captured. If the site is a lead harvester masquerading as an e-card site, you will now be e-mailed by people looking to sell you annuities, business opportunity offers, etc.
Method #2: Leads site buys huge database, often just regional phone book listings. They sell these 'leads', which are nothing more than names and numbers picked from the phonebook. Some of these people may even be on the Do Not Call list, which could land you in hot water.
Method #3: Harvesting leads from search engines. Often these leads are quality, but are expensive to capture, so the leads companies will sell the leads over and over. By the time you buy the lead, it could have been sold twenty times. Sometimes you're the first to buy and you will find some quality prospects, more often you're not.
Method #4: Internet robots crawl web sites hunting for e-mail addresses associated with insurance and annuity content. Somebody might be inquiring about annuities on a newsgroup or forum, next thing they know they're getting offers from annuity companies. The Annuity Lead companies don't let you in on how they've harvested the leads. It's called spam and you could get in serious trouble for contacting these people unsolicited.
My contact did say there are decent leads sites. She said to check their policy to see if they guarantee the leads. Keep in mind, just because they have a guarantee doesn't mean you'll get your money back if the leads fail to produce results. But often sites with some kind of guarantee are sites that harvest only quality leads and only sell them once.
If you're still of the mind to try internet leads my advice is to try just a few. Don't buy into a huge program that requires a minimum monthly or a large upfront purchase. Experiment a little with a cross-section of sites. Who knows, you may find one that's legit that'll help you make some money.
Bill Broich is the founder of The Broich Approach, an annuity selling and marketing system based in Olympia, Washington. You can find more information about him and his system at: http://www.broichapproach.com