Five Things to Do to Break the Cycle of a "Leads Loop"

Written by Chalen Jackson

If you stopped buying leads today, how long would your business survive? That was the disconcerting question I posed recently to an agent who had built a sizeable, but transactional business primarily on the back of purchased leads. First direct mail, then email, then web leads, sometimes live transfers, but always leads. Of course a few referrals trickled in here and there. However, this agent had built themselves into a “pay-to-play” corner, and felt like there was little way out.

Leads can help a new agent hit the ground running and get appointments on the books fast. They can help an experienced agent get out of a rut or push through a dry spell. However, being dependent on purchased leads can be a dangerous game to play with ever-changing regulatory guidelines and response rates. If you are stuck in a cycle of buying leads, selling just enough to buy more leads, and repeating that process — here are five immediate steps you can take to build a more sustainable business less dependent on purchased leads!

Call a Current Client to Talk New Products

Current clients have already said yes to you at least once, and should be familiar with what you can do for them. But, just in case, call up a few of them to talk about other products you offer to round out their coverage package. Go through your database and look for clients with only one or two products with you. You’ll be surprised how many times you hear, “I didn’t know you do THAT!” Keeping in touch with those current clients is a great way to cross-sell, retain, and get referrals. Clients with more products on the books have more chances to see you be a hero, and are likely to stick around longer in addition to adding to the bottom line.

Seek Out a New Referral Partner and Make Contact

Just about everyone understands that someone in an industry with similar clientele as you can be a great ally when it comes to new business. Finding these partners can be as easy as saying hello! Research who in your local area your current clients already use for other services, and make a couple calls. Offer to grab coffee or lunch and see if you can find ways to help each other grow. Avoid looking at relationships that may become tit for tat, expectations of equal numbers of referrals in both directions. Explore the bigger picture of how you can help each other grow.

Plan an Educational Event

Educational events are a great way to draw in new and existing customers to learn more about the issues they face and solutions you can offer. Finding a familiar local spot to hold the event is critical, as is getting the word out. Inviting current clients with an emphatic, “bring a friend”, can help, as well as working with referral partners to share the news to their client base. Find a topic that is broad enough to appeal to a wider audience, but not so basic as to seem uninteresting to your prospects.

Try to plan your event at least a couple months out so you have time to advertise it, but start planning today! Where do people gather in the community? A church, community building, social club building? Who can help promote the event? Are there local services to assist?

Get Free Press

Have you recently won any carrier awards? Opened a new office? Hired new staff? Have an opinion on the industry locals may find useful? Look for earned media opportunities by providing your expertise on local radio or TV regarding important issues to your clients. Write an article for the local paper or magazine. Volunteer to be the Master of Ceremonies for a charitable event or local fair. Get in the limelight! The more you are visible in the public eye, the more familiar your brand becomes. Make sure you have a clear and consistent message that aligns with your goals and do everything you can to get that message heard.

Revise Your Own Marketing Strategy

If you are not buying leads, how are you spending that money to better your business? Start evaluating your marketing strategy and look at the channels that you need to drive new business. Are you running consistent campaigns to market current clients? Have you considered mass media like radio, TV, and newspapers? Maybe you still need leads, but should invest in education on generating your own leads. You could do this through Facebook, pay-per-click, or other online systems. Having an in-house marketing plan is critical to long-term success.

No matter which of these strategies appeal to you, the important part is picking just one and getting started today! Reduce your reliance on purchased leads and grow a sustainable practice by increasing your client lifetime value and increasing awareness of your agency in your local market.

If you have questions about these strategies or would like to discuss specific steps to implement any of them, reach out to the team here at Senior Marketing Specialists! Call us today at (800) 689-2800!

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