Margie Barrie, a veteran long-term care insurance (LTCI) agent, marketer and educator, has been writing articles about long-term care (LTC) planning and related issues for years.
Here she gives a reader ideas about how to use services that sell leads.
Q. I need to order leads so that I have more prospects to contact. I’ve never purchased leads. What suggestions can you provide?
A. Purchasing leads has become a significant part of many agents’ marketing budget. In order to take my sales to the next level, I have definitely decided to go that route. That’s why I was really fortunate to get guidance from Jonathan Gardenier, president of Sigma Marketing Services, a company that specializes in providing LTC and Medicare supplement leads. Before placing my order, I sent him a list of 10 questions. Here are his answers:
1. What is the first step for an agent looking to buy leads?
Make sure the lead company understands your practice, so they can recommend the right solution that fits your needs.Ask questions until you are very clear about what they are offering and how they will service you after your purchase.
2. Some agents have seen the prices of direct mail increasing but their conversion to sales decreasing. Is direct mail dead?
What agents are finding is that certain types of direct mail are in fact “dead.” With LTC, you are trying to reach an affluent consumer. The old pop-outs, bi-folds, and mini-letters from the 1980s don’t cut it anymore and agents are seeing that they don’t convert to LTC sales. Instead, consider using full-letter and legal-sized materials for LTC.
3. What can agents do to maximize their results with direct mail?
Make sure you have proper prospect selection. This goes beyond age and income filters. Ask about the modeling and the number of data points to rank prospects that the firm uses. (Jonathan recommends using at least 15 data points.) Make sure you have a large enough territory so you don’t have to remarket the same households too frequently. Some companies only restrict remarketing for 90 days. This is a fatal error that decreases response rates and increases your cost per lead.
4. What is the main factor that impacts response rates?
Territory has a huge impact on response rates. Many areas have been “over fished” and see response rates substantially lower than average. A good marketing company will advise you of this, and it is the reason so many agents are going virtual, so they can work a lead anywhere in the state or in other states.
5. What should an agent use to measure and evaluate their results with leads?