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Shared vs. Exclusive Leads: Which is Right for You?

Buying Insurance Leads
Jun 8, 2021
minute read
Nectar Team
Shared vs. Exclusive Leads: Which is Right for You?

One of the biggest challenges of being an insurance agent is generating leads. Even when potential customers are actively shopping for insurance, you may find yourself facing additional challenges. And if you're a small agency, you have a substantial amount of competition.

The big-name insurance companies are typically the ones that first come to mind when people start looking for policies. They're the ones that typically rank first on search engine results pages. They're the ones with the ads everywhere.

Sure, you can optimize your agency website and build a strong social media presence. These and similar tactics can help you generate a few more leads. They may not, however, provide you with the actual volume you want or need. But what if you could generate more?

Purchasing insurance leads is an excellent way to get more leads quickly. As you start looking into your options, however, you may quickly become overwhelmed.

Should you go with a lead aggregator or lead generator? Should you buy shared leads or exclusive? It's a lot, and things can get confusing very quickly. Keep reading to learn more about your lead-purchasing options and find which one is right for you.

Lead Aggregators vs. Lead Generators

The terms "lead aggregator" and "lead generator" are often used interchangeably. While they both sell leads, aggregators and generators are two very different things.

Lead aggregators

Lead aggregators are companies that purchase leads and then resell them to insurance companies. Some may generate their own, but most of their business consists of leads they obtain from third-party sources.

The best companies get their leads from quality sources, but they don't deliver those leads in real-time. Another thing to keep in mind is that these companies sell the leads they gather to multiple insurance agents.

The main draw of lead aggregators is often the price. Leads tend to cost less because these companies are reselling leads to multiple agents.

The downside is that by the time you speak to the leads you purchase, they may have already decided to go with another agent. Or, they may have changed their mind and decided not to get insurance at all. Now you've wasted your time and money, which can be very frustrating.

Lead generators

Lead generators, on the other hand, source their own leads organically or via a partner. They don't purchase and resell pre-generated leads.

Lead generators drive traffic to their websites using various traditional and digital marketing strategies. The leads are fresh, and generators generally deliver them in real-time as soon as customers submit their online forms.

The advantage of working with a lead generator is that you can opt for a flexible schedule that allows you to buy and receive leads in real-time during the hours that work best for you and your team. You can then reach out to your leads as soon as you receive them to get the ball rolling.

What Are Exclusive Insurance Leads?

Exclusive leads are those that go to a single recipient. The leads you purchase are yours alone. They are often available only in limited volumes, and companies tend to sell them for a premium.

For example, one of the most popular types of exclusive leads is live-transfer via click-to-call functionality. These leads come from verified customers who match the specific filters you've set, such as geography, risk type, or demographics. The shopper reaches out to the lead generation company through a phone call or online form. After screening these individuals for intent, the company then sends the matching leads to you.

Keep in mind that even though your leads are "exclusive," that doesn't mean shoppers are always ready to buy. Lead generators need to sell these leads, but they can't guarantee you'll always make the sale.

Additionally, though a prospect may be exclusive with one website, that doesn't mean they aren't checking out other companies. They may very well provide their information to others for additional quotes, which means other insurance agents may have access to them.

Advantages of exclusive leads

There are several distinct advantages of choosing exclusive leads:

You get access to higher-quality leads. Exclusive leads typically have a high purchase intent, which makes them better quality. It's also easier for lead generation companies to identify bad calls and track them back to their source, enabling them to adjust and improve poorly performing channels. Plus, if you do get a bad lead, most companies offer a return policy.

You gain a competitive edge. Exclusive leads belong only to you, which effectively eliminates the competition. For smaller agencies, this can be invaluable.

You can target more specific demographics. You can set specific filters for geographic location, age range, risk, desired benefit amount, and so forth, allowing you to target your ideal customers more effectively.

They offer more opportunities to meet your goals. Maybe your current lead generation strategies aren't gaining traction. Perhaps you're close to meeting your numbers but not quite there yet. In either case, buying exclusive leads can help you meet your sales goals.

They can help increase awareness of your brand. If you're a newer agency, potential customers might not know who you are yet. Exclusive leads help to generate more business and can even boost your brand awareness.

Drawbacks of exclusive leads

While exclusive leads offer several benefits, they're not perfect. Nor are they necessarily the right fit for every insurance agency. Here are a few disadvantages to consider before making your decision.

They cost more. You don't have to worry about other insurance agents having access to the leads you receive, but you will have to pay more for this benefit.

You may get fewer leads. Lead generators send insurance shoppers your way based on specific filters that you choose. While these filters allow you to pinpoint ideal customers, they can also limit the number you receive.

They require more of your attention. If you lack the time to contact leads promptly and effectively, you could set yourself up for poor results.

What Are Shared Insurance Leads?

Aggregators and generators sell shared leads to more than one insurance agency. These companies may sell such leads to five or more insurance agencies, and buyers can range from local to national. The result is much more competition, especially if the leads you receive also go to larger insurance providers.

Typically, those insurance agencies with recognizable, trustworthy names and the ability to reach out almost immediately are the ones that win out. That's not to say smaller insurers can't gain new customers, but you will have to work a bit harder.

Advantages of shared leads

There are some advantages to shared leads that can make them worth your time and money:

They cost less. One of the most significant advantages of shared leads is cost. Given that aggregators and generators sell to multiple insurance agencies, they can keep the cost lower.

You get a higher volume of leads. You can receive more leads, which offers more opportunities to convert.

They can be a great place to start for newer agencies. If you're a young agency just getting started, shared leads offer an excellent opportunity to hone your skills, gain new customers, and grow your business — all for a more affordable price.

Drawbacks of shared leads

There are also a few disadvantages to shared leads. Some of the most common include:

The leads are often of lower quality. Companies that sell shared leads do their best to prevent fraud and mistakes. It is, however, more difficult for them to track down the sources of bad leads, which means that you could end up with erroneous contact information.

You have more competition for customers. Shared leads comprise the bulk of the insurance lead market. Since contact information may go to multiple insurance companies, there's significantly more competition.

Leads may be more challenging to convert. As their information travels to multiple insurance agencies, customers may become overwhelmed by the number of phone calls they receive. They might become annoyed, making the process frustrating for them and you. Moreover, if your brand awareness is low, you have to jump a few more hurdles to convert these leads into customers.

They may cost more in the long run. Shared leads cost less initially. Yet lower conversion rates may compel you to contact even more people, which could lead to spending more in the long run. You must typically pay a flat rate regardless of whether the lead converts. Some companies may also charge service fees, subscription fees, and other hidden fees.

Which Type of Leads Are Right for You?

If you're considering buying leads to help boost your insurance company's business, you may be trying to determine whether you should purchase shared or exclusive leads. Comparing the pros and cons of each option can help. There are also few other factors to keep in mind as you make a decision.

Most insurance companies prefer buying only shared leads because they cost less. However, if you want less competition and you have experience converting prospects, you might opt for exclusive leads instead.

If you decide to purchase shared leads, consider investing in a predictive dialer. It can help you move through larger quantities of prospects more quickly, which can help you obtain the results you're looking for.

If you're in the early stages of your insurance business, don't be afraid to try both shared and exclusive leads. Choose lead generators that don't make you sign a contract. You can test out each option without getting bound by long-term agreements that you might not be able to escape.

Be sure to track your results, too. Divide your conversions for each type by their respective costs to see which one gives you a better return on investment.

Tips for Success When Buying Insurance Leads

Are you ready to get started with buying insurance leads? Here are a few tips that can help you achieve success:

Buy leads on evenings and weekends

The overwhelming majority of insurance companies operate from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. They also tend to buy their leads during regular business hours.

You can reduce your competition by purchasing leads in the evenings and over the weekend — you may even be able to negotiate your price.

Call leads immediately

Even if you purchase exclusive leads, don't wait too long to call once you receive new prospects. Again, you may be the only one that a lead generation company sends a specific lead to, but that prospect may continue to visit other websites for additional quotes.

The next site the shopper visits could end up selling their information to another insurance agency in your area, which means you now have competition for business. You'll want to move quickly, given that 78% of new business typically goes to the first company that calls.

Need a little more motivation to call prospects shortly after you receive them? Calling within the first five minutes is 21 times more effective than calling within the first 30 minutes. In other words, the sooner you call, the less time you give leads to go elsewhere.

Personalize your contact

When you reach out to your leads, personalize your contact with them. Address them by name. If they noted any specific pain points, mention them.

Additionally, be sure to respect their time. If it's not a good time for them, offer them a call back at a more convenient time.

Use automation

Technology has made running a business so much easier. You can take advantage of automation to increase the number of leads you can contact in a timely fashion.

Be quick when it comes to responding to prospects, no matter which type of lead you choose to purchase. Invest in a predictive dialer or lead nurturing system to help boost your results.

Filter for more targeted results

Many lead generation companies offer preset and custom filter options. Using these filters allows you to target a specific audience more precisely. You can pinpoint potential customers based on demographics, geographic location, and so much more.

The more filters you apply, the more targeted your results. Just remember that more filters will narrow the focus to fewer leads. The best thing to do is test them out. Start with a couple of filters, and then add a few more. If you find you're not getting the lead volume you want, you can always remove one or two filters.

Track and measure your success

Finally, whether you opt for shared or exclusive leads, you'll want to track and measure your results. If you don't, you'll have no way of knowing whether purchasing leads is actually doing you any good. The last thing you want is to waste money on tactics that aren't working.

Track and measure all of your lead generation strategies, including lead buying. This way, you'll be able to calculate your revenue and profits accurately. You can also make any necessary adjustments to your strategies to attain better results.

Find a Method That Works Best for You

Every lead seller has slightly different standards concerning shared and exclusive leads. At the same time, every insurance agent operates a bit differently. For this reason, certain agents love shared leads, while others can't stand them. Some of the most successful agents prefer exclusive leads and find that they bring the best results.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. To determine if you should choose shared or exclusive leads, you should explore both options a try. You'll then be able to compare them side by side and pinpoint the results they can bring you. Then, you'll be able to identify which version works best for your agency.

Let Nectar Be Your Source for Real-Time Leads

No matter what insurance industry you represent, Nectar helps you to connect directly with the shoppers you're looking for in the best way for your business. The referrals are real, and they're fresh.

What's more, Nectar doesn't buy third-party leads and then resell them to you. Instead, Nectar generates all of its original leads through various marketing channels.

By taking shoppers' information and comparing it with your applied filters, Nectar works to bring you the best leads possible. Connecting the right shopper with the right agent assures a better overall experience for both parties.

In the end, the quality of the shopping experience can make a world of difference for insurance shoppers. Sign up with Nectar today and start connecting with high-intent insurance shoppers looking for the types of insurance products you sell.

This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.

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