Selling Internet Leads can be profitable for Insurance Agencies

Most of the Personal and Commercial Lines Insurance Agencies we speak with about selling internet leads often have the same response. “Oh yeah, we tried that months ago, spent thousands of dollars and didn’t get one sale out of them”. When we ask about their procedure for calling, quoting and selling internet leads, they often look at us puzzled.

“Well, the lead comes in and we’d rotate them equally between our Staff”. They’ll go on to tell us how they’re sales people begged to discontinue receiving the leads and the Owner obliges. After all, if the Owner spends thousands on leads and doesn’t sell one policy, they’ve made a good business decision by discontinuing these horrible leads. Or have they?

The internet is not coming, it’s here. Agencies dependent on Yellow Pages, Walk Ins and traditional methods of advertising are going to have a hard time growing their agencies. Do you think GEICO, 21st and dozens of others spend 10’s of millions of dollars online because they’re not writing business on the internet? You don’t have to quote and issue online, but the internet is the best lead generator ever devised.

The best way to approach selling internet leads is to track every single Insurance lead that comes through the door (or inbox in this case). Every lead should be entered into FSC and called the minute (yes the minute) it’s received. When someone clicks “submit” and receives a call 1-2 minutes later – they’re impressed. If they’re not available, your Sales Person should leave a detailed message AND email the client that you need to confirm a few pieces of information to complete their quote. If the client doesn’t call back, they should be called a second time a few hours later.

If you still haven’t been able to get this prospect on the phone, you should email and US Mail them a quote based on the information you received and follow it up with a 3rd phone call. Within 24 hours of receiving an internet lead, they’ve been called 3 times, emailed twice and they receive a letter 3 days later.  That’s 6 contact attempts within 72 hours. If the prospect is serious about buying insurance, they’ll call you.

Our Insurance Agency sold thousands (yes thousands) of policies generated from internet leads and we have the following stats for you to consider. You will quote about 30-40% of the leads you receive. Once you contact a lead, you should close the standard 30-40% which means, you should be closing 12-15% of the leads you receive from the internet. (If you generate leads from your own site, this number should be substantially higher) So, the 100 leads received from the agent above, should result in 12-15 policies. As you continue this process, you’ll increase your closing percentage because some of the internet leads will send referrals; purchase other lines, while others will call you back when they actually need coverage.

The biggest mistake you can make is to try it for a few weeks then quit. It must be on going and you have to be willing to invest in them for at least 3 months. As far as the productivity, your people have time. It’s up to you as a Manager to delegate the leads and follow up to ensure the leads are being called, emailed and “snail” mailed. Check your Agents sent items at the end of each day or have them Blind Carbon Copy you on all the emails they send, listen to them make calls and make sure they’re dialing every phone number on the lead. Have them document the date and time they called on the printed lead and check their progress throughout the day. Spot check them from a phone report (if you have one) or by calling the client and conducting a Customer Service satisfaction survey.

For some reason, when a lead isn’t calling in, Sales People consider it a bad lead. It’s almost like the phone weighs 400 pounds unless it’s ringing. You need to change the mentality of your Sales Department and set goals for each CSR and/or Agent to call 25 leads daily whether received today or not. If you have 2-3 agents calling and emailing 25 people per day, you’ll touch 75 prospects daily which equal 1,500 contacts monthly. You’ll write business with this kind of outflow – guaranteed!

I’ve seen internet leads sold that have been called 12-15 times before they finally got a hold of the prospect. Some people say “Every lead we called already bought insurance”.  When people tell you they already bought insurance, they’re trying to get you off the phone. Tell them it’ll only take a minute and give them a quote. Take charge – be a closer.

Some Sales People will let the prospect hang up and actually be relieved that they didn’t have to give a quote. It happens! These non-sales people shouldn’t be given the privilege to quote any lead you spend hard earned money on.

You don’t have to follow this exact method for calling and emailing internet leads, but the more you try to contact them, the better chance you have at converting them into a client. Track your progress and create detailed stats on your offices’ progress. Publish the stats weekly and discuss them in your office meetings.

Lastly, not all Internet leads are created equal. Shop the different providers; ask for 15 free leads to become familiar with their format. Negotiate pricing and get your staff fired up about selling them. Put a presentation together and let your Sales People know how calling, quoting and selling these leads will benefit their paychecks.

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