When was the last time you heard a fellow final expense agent claim “These leads are terrible. I only closed 10 percent.”? A 10 percent close ratio is far below the industry average of 25–40 percent, but the leads may not be entirely to blame. Chances are the agent did one of two things (or possibly both). First, he gauged his overall results based on just the first few days of working the leads. Second, after he determined results, he did what most agents do: went out and purchased another batch of leads hoping to have better results the next time around.
There’s a major flaw with this way of thinking and it is that you NEVER gauge your overall results on a batch of leads within the first few days or even the first week. A good agent will work that batch of leads until “they either buy, they die or say no.” I don’t even let the ones that say no get away; rather, I politely say, “I understand if this may not be a good time sir/ma’am; may I call you in 30, 60 or 90 days?” My goal is obvious. I paid good money for that lead. I realize that I may never close 100 percent, but I am looking to increase my percentage as much as possible.
The following are a list of elements that are essential for a successful lead follow-up strategy. I call them my “Core Four.”
1. Lead quality
It’s no secret that the quality of your leads is perhaps THE single most important aspect to your success in this business. Then why do so many agents “cheap out” and opt for free leads? Usually something that is offered for free ultimately turns out to be the most expensive option. Consider this scenario: You receive 20 free leads from your carrier. You drive around neighborhoods hoping to door knock, but find that some of the leads are as aged as a California Cabernet and the people have either moved or are deceased. The ones that you are lucky enough to find either have already purchased a policy or are “still thinking” and will probably never make a decision.
Compare that scenario to a batch of carefully selected, demographically appropriate, fresh (that means never been re-sold to the masses) leads sold by a bona fide, experienced lead resource with a track record of producing results through many years of trial and error with various marketing pieces. Still want those free leads?
2. Lead management
Now, let’s say you make the decision to invest in a fresh batch of leads and your results are below average, as in the example above. This is probably because you lack an organized lead management system. It’s your job as an independent agent to squeeze every last drop of life out of each lead. To this end, you must have a proper lead management system. This system could be as simple as setting up a tickler file system or as sophisticated as a customizable CRM platform. Some IMOs will even provide you access to a CRM system free of charge. With this system you can enter in all of your prospects or clients (some lead services will generate your leads in a CSV format that can be easily uploaded to your CRM platform, saving you time and money) and manage that lead effectively by starting a campaign that will “touch” that prospect many times over the life of the lead.
I’ve heard statistics that the average prospect makes a decision to buy, not buy or hold after an average of 6.2 touches. If it’s the latter, I then set up a campaign to follow-up with them in 30, 60 or 90 days. These ‘touches’ can range from a phone call to a door knock to a post card or letter. An extra bonus with this system is that it allows me to send my clients something informative at least four times a year. My goal is to constantly be in front of my clients. First and foremost, I send them a card on their birthday, which is always welcomed. Then, I send three informational papers a year that share important tips for seniors. In one of these papers, I always let them know that the average price of a funeral increases X percent each year, and note that they may want to consider increasing their coverage.