3 Tactics to Win With Internet Leads (Part 1)

Many agency owners, producers and industry gurus proclaim: “Internet Leads Suck!” But is the contempt of web leads legitimate?


There’s a misnomer about internet leads, and it’s written all over Facebook and proclaimed by many agency owners, producers and industry gurus: “Internet Leads Suck!” Many of the big lead vendors add fuel to the fire with dubious pricing, odd delivery and questionable results. Is the contempt of web leads legitimate? How else can we actually grow our businesses?

My observation from interviewing hundreds of agents on the Insurance Dudes Podcast is that only the best of the best have effective processes to properly build a lead-closing machine — the majority, the naysayers, lack this systemization.

In addition, there’s a disconnect between agent expectations about various lead types’ performance expectations; many agents don’t even know what metrics they should track to effectively create a feasible cost per sale. 

This article, the first of three in this series, will shed some light on the proper tactics needed to support an effective strategy for developing an effective internet tele-funnel.

For the most part, agents who have not been successful with internet leads seem to point their finger in the wrong direction. Most agents, including me (for many years), blame the lead provider. A powerful shift occurs with the epiphany that the common denominator across success AND failure is the same: the lead vendors. 

Well, if some succeed, while others fail, with the very same lead vendors... the issue must not be the leads themselves, but the process by which the leads are worked.

Over the course of making over 13 million of dials, and seeing incredible results, I have seen that most agencies lack a systematized process to follow up on leads. 68% of the time (the first Alpha for you statisticians), your typical live internet lead will take between eight and 21 dials to close — this is the hard data. Using a data set of at least 90 days, these numbers consistently hold true. Because the bulk of leads closed require OVER EIGHT dials for new business to be won, it’s imperative that a highly organized and trackable process is in place. 

Understanding this need for dials, an agent must stay the course for at least a few months to know a true cost per sale. Considering that large companies will commit to a specific marketing budget for the long term, and only pivot once they have insight into performance, why is it that so many agents will eject after just a week or two? 

“Getting your toes wet” is not an option, as it will only lead to poor results. An agent must know the numbers, the spending required and the timeframe of the sales cycle to win with leads — and this framework holds true for any marketing.

Digging further into the 13 million-dial data set, we know that “good” leads have a first-day contact rate of about 15%. Intent, type, cost and everything don’t matter if the contact rate isn’t better than 15%. Let that sink in… to achieve a positive outcome for your tele-funnel’s entry point, the winning metric comes down to connecting on 15 out of 100 dials. This makes for a lot of down time for the people doing the dials, even with a fast (and fully TCPA compliant) dialer.  

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Agents must break through and understand that the need to put the right players in the right positions is critical. In building your tele-funnel, dials are the highest-quantity activity, while requiring the lowest skill set. This knowledge is crucial to moving “leads that suck” from the first, second or third dial (the average times that average agents call leads) to making eight to 100 dials on a lead.

Once we had calculated the enormous number of daily dials required to reach our goal of $200,000-plus in premium per month, we knew mathematically that we needed 5,000 or more dials per day, as a team, just to hit all of our leads from today, yesterday and from the prior 88 days. 

We were in a race to move these leads — our agency’s latent equity — closer to a sale. We discovered that the more dials on a lead, the less it actually cost, because the potential to make contact, quote and close increased with each dial! 

With this realization, we sought to ensure we could guarantee making the dials we needed without burning out our agents and ensuring they were on the phone doing their most important activity, quoting, at least 10 new households per day. Plugging unlicensed, cheap labor into the top of the funnel also allowed us to continue to fill our pipeline with new prospects while freeing up agents’ days to follow up on unclosed quotes.  

After weeks and months of consistency, training and oversight, we were writing $5,000 to $20,000 or more a day. We had handled the first important piece of the equation: We’d created a systematized process to create predictable results. We had certainty that if we added X leads into the tele-funnel, it would result in Y sales. 

There have been ups and downs, but the word du jour is persistent-consistency

In the next article, I’ll take you into the metrics that need to be looked at, and the necessary baselines that need to be hit to ensure that your tele-funnel machine is functioning properly.

Craig Pretzinger

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Craig Pretzinger

Craig Pretzinger has been an insurance agency owner for over a decade. Pretzinger is the co-host of the #1 insurance industry marketing podcast, The Insurance Dudes, who share strategic wisdom in marketing, sales, motivation, training and hiring.

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