A fistful of lead tips

Best Advice

There are currently three main types of businesses in the financial services industry that use lead generation. The first type are the large regional and nation brokerages, often with telephone based models that buy leads because they need a steady stream of quality enquiries. Next are the medium sized firms, usually with five or more advisers that use lead generation as a significant new business tool as well as enabling them to recruit new advisers and grow. The third type are the sole practitioners and small firms that might use lead generation occasionally to “top up” on new business but there are also many firms of this size that use lead generation as their main source of finding new prospects.

Whichever category you fall into, there are a few tips that can help you get more from lead generation and increase your return on investment. Here are five of the most useful.

“Callers aren’t necessarily closers”

To paraphrase an American expression “callers aren’t necessarily closers” which is really just a simple way of recognising that different people have different skill sets within an organisation and nowhere is this more important to consider than when buying leads. If you are paying for every enquiry then you need to make sure you have the right people doing the right things to maximise the outcome of every lead.

The most successful lead buyers will often break up the “calling” and the “closing” so there are different people doing each task. From a purely economic perspective, if on average you have to make four or five calls to get through to each consumer then it often makes sense to give this task to somebody more junior in the organisation. Once the consumer has been reached and their interest has been verified they can be handed over to an adviser. Even for small companies, shifting to this approach can make a material difference to what you get out of lead generation.

Contact is king

An extensive study in the US last year proved beyond any doubt that the speed of contact is the main determinant of lead performance compared to any other single variable. The study was conducted on millions of online generated leads and found that leads called in under 60 seconds converted almost four times more than the average.

The moral of the story is, you can find the best source of leads but if you don’t follow up quickly then you are missing out.

Of course for smaller firms it is harder to dedicate the resources to follow this process for every lead but there are a few simple things you can do to help achieve this. Firstly, make sure if you have an active lead order to receive leads that there is somebody to make that call if you are busy. Whoever this is in your company it is crucial to establish that first contact. The other thing to remember is that many lead providers offer a free SMS alert system so even if you are out of the office you can be alerted when the lead arrives so you have time to react within that one minute window.

Pay what you can afford

Success from lead generation should be measured like any marketing activity, i.e. by return on investment (ROI). To increase the performance of your lead campaigns you can either try to generate more revenue from these campaigns and/or lower your lead acquisition costs.

Lead providers should be able to give you a clear indication of what you need to pay for a given number of leads that meet your criteria. There is no point in paying over the odds for leads but remember, the more filtered your criteria the more you will have to pay as there will be fewer leads available. One option for mortgage lead buyers is to broaden your criteria to get a better price, whether this is to increase your maximum LTV cap or postcode areas.

Do more with what you have

The fact is that lead generation is a powerful marketing tool but it is also imperfect. What every lead supplier is trying to do is find a balance between collecting enough information from the consumer to make it useful for the lead buyer but not ask too many questions or go into too much detail which will put people off from filling in forms and drive up the lead prices.

The resulting situation is that often you will speak to consumers which at face value have nice and straightforward cases that should be placeable but when you get into the details things crop up that can’t be captured on a lead form.

The good news for lead buyers is that there are still many ways to monetise these leads and a great deal of this can be done through referral partnerships. Whether it is through your network or an introduction you have found yourself there are many companies that you can refer these leads to that will help turn them into revenue while at the same time allowing you to maintain the customer relationship. Whether this is for consumers in debt, looking for a secured loan or even short term asset finance there are lots of options in the market and every extra piece of revenue generated should be tracked back to the original source of the lead.


In the current market, while many firms still buy hundreds of leads, the fact is that conversion rates are lower than they were three or four years ago. However, this is more to do with market conditions rather than lead quality. Even if as a lead buyer you convert 20% of your leads and generate a healthy ROI, that’s still 80% of leads that you have paid for that are being wasted – unless you do something with them. Even if you only buy 20 leads per month that’s over 200 opportunities per year that have the potential to generate revenue at some point whether that’s next week or next year.

For just a few pounds per month there are plenty of software solutions available that allow you to keep in regular contact with all your leads and send them automated updates and offers. Over time this will drive people back to your business and generate incremental conversions and revenues that should all be tracked back to the initial source of the leads.

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