Friday, June 29, 2007

Buying and Working with Leads

So you've used up your "warm market" of friends and family. Or you really don't have one that you want to contact about your business opportunity or product. And you don't want to get out a phone book and start cold calling. Then it's time to buy some leads! When I first purchased leads about 3 years ago, my expectations were way too high. I thought it would be like picking ripe fruit. Well, sometimes! Sometimes not. Here's what I've learned:

The best leads are those you generate yourself.  The leads you generate yourself are the most responsive. They will answer the phone when you call. And they are the most likely to join your business or buy your product.

However, it can take quite a long time to generate traffic to your website or capture page. Purchasing leads is a good part of your strategy to start building your database. Some companies will sell you biz-opp leads, female only leads, and product oriented leads. Purchased leads means that you know EXACTLY how many prospects that you will get for your advertising dollar. And you can get your leads in as little as an hour.

Personally, I don't recommend that you do any less than 100 leads/month. Work up to 100 leads/week or more. Some trainers say do 1,000/month. It will depend on your business and how you work your leads.

When you purchase leads, you need to have the following in place:

1) An autoresponder for follow up and to keep your name in front of your prospects. Some lead vendors or marketing systems have generic autoresponders already done for you. Some systems require that you write your own. Whatever autoresponder system you choose, find out how many leads you can upload per day. The CAN-Spam act limits some things and everyone is cautious now, so that they don't get inadvertantly blasted as spam. Some of these autoresponder companies, have agreements with lead vendors and then you can download as many as you want automatically into your account.

2) Don't buy leads unless you have an online marketing system. You need a way to process them. Don't put yourself in a situation of mailing DVDs and information packets. Too expensive.

3) Leads come in all forms. If I am using phone verified or phone-interviewed leads, I buy from companies who have scrubbed those leads against the Do Not Call list. If I am buying surveyed leads, only those that are double opt-in. I prefer companies that have an affiliate program or the pay me back for lead referrals so that my lead costs can be reimbursed or offset.

4) I prefer exclusive or semi-exclusive fresh leads. Real time-leads means you get them as soon as they are generated - within minutes. Exclusive, real-time, are the most expensive, sometimes costing as much as $5 - $10 or more a piece. The more exclusive, real-time and prequalified, the more responsive the lead is.

In the beginning, get double opt-in leads. Expect to blow some in practicing and building your skills. It's OK. I don't prefer aged leads, some of those have been sold 10 or more times. However, they are dirt cheap, and I have sponsored distributors from them. Just know that aged leads have the highest negativity because they have been sold so much.

5) Every lead company provides scripts. Some provide extra training as well. Dani Johnson has good scripts. Those of us who've been working leads have developed scripts that work for us. There are lots out there. The goal of the first call is just to introduce yourself and find out what they want. DO NOT try to get them to join/buy on the first call. I've found that if I pre-qualify people, it's a waste of time and the tone of the interview changes. Build a relationship first. Let your propsect's actions qualify them.

6) Don't buy leads that have been incentivized - e.g. "Enter to win an IPOD". They're junk.

7) Know the "territory". When someone looks for a home business online, they often respond to several websites. They have no idea that their name could be sold up to 20 times. Even if 50% of distributors never call their purchased leads, your lead could have received several calls. Even an exclusive lead probably answered several ads. So "exclusive" means that the company you bought from hasn't sold it to anyone other than you. That's OK. It's just part of the environment.

8) Some of your leads will tell you that they never filled out any form. I've had phone verified leads tell me that! 90% of the time, that's bogus, they just aren't interested anymore.

While you are generating your own opt-in list, build your database with purchased leads. I've met some great people through leads. I've met business owners, attorneys, and people that I never would have met otherwise. Be consistent in how you work your leads and patient for the results. Purchased leads can be a great way to grow your business,especially in the short term.

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