I’ve run a number of sales teams in my career, and spent some time in the mid 90’s training automobile dealers on how to create an effective sales process working Internet leads that was the antithesis of their traditional sales process. (This was with the very first Internet lead company, autobytel.) Managing my own consumer fulfillment sales teams since those times, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that “the leads were not good,” I’d be a rich man. My response has always been: “Then why is so-and-so consistently making $20k-$30k a month working the same leads you are?”
As a lead generator, I’ve worked with thousands of advertisers over the years. I’ve had the opportunity to share processes with and aggregate best practices. Some of these clients have seen tremendous ROI and consider leads the best thing since sliced bread, yet a few don’t see success using a subset of the very same leads. Why is that? Because: the leads are only as effective as you are. Process, positioning, and competitiveness matter. Engagement with the consumer also matters…a lot. A microcosm of this is why most sales organizations consistently have certain sales people at the top of the board, the middle of the board, and those who should seek other employment.
The top producers are not necessarily more talented than anyone else. (Although that is a small part of it.)
It’s good to be home from an important recent FTC workshop on online lead generation, which I attended with my Chief Compliance Officer and panelists Greg Gragg and Michael Ferree, two fellow board members of our exciting new LeadsCouncil – that you are invited to join. As a compliance-focused member of the Digital Performance Marketing industry for the past two decades, I very much looked forward to this event. After first breaking down all of the lead generation players and detailing exactly what is important to whom, I turned my eye to some often-misleading quotes from the Consumer Advocacy side of things.
Who doesn’t find some frank feedback useful?
Some classic quotes (and my opinions on what they said) from the Consumer Advocates, many of whom paint the industry with the broad brush of misunderstanding or zealotry:
“If a prospective student submits a lead, they’ll get calls from 100s of schools”. – Not true…well most of the time.
David Halperin – Consumer Advocate Attorney
“In the for-profit school business, they use strippers as recruiters” & “If I were you, I would never enter my phone number anywhere on the Internet.” – I am sure a stripper got a job as an admission rep somewhere, but it is not the norm. Mr. Halperin appeared more interested in making a name for himself with his outrageous statements than finding workable solutions. (more…)
We’re headed down a brand-new path for our industry – and an especially exciting one. After nearly 20 years in online marketing without an industry advocacy and standards organization, I’m thrilled by the recent formation of the LeadsCouncil.
In effect, the LeadsCouncil symbol will be a seal of approval to help advertisers distinguish the industry leaders, from those other who are less concerned about upholding ethical values and compliance.
It’s a fascinating time to be involved in Digital Marketing.
I’m honored to have been asked to join as both a plank holder and participate on the Board of Directors to help create the policies and standards we hope to apply to all of the current and future members of LeadsCouncil. Our goal is to promote ethical policies and practices, protect consumer rights, advise and lobby the Federal regulatory agencies that police our industry, and develop a set of standards all LeadsCouncil members must adhere to for the benefit of our advertisers and our industry.
I liken it to the perception of the Better Business Bureau. It’s frankly nice to see our industry maturing!
I have always felt that it was important to be proactive in fighting for our rights. Sadly, so many in our industry would rather hide their head in the sand than participate in helping Federal Regulators form policy regarding marketing practices. As an industry, we must take steps to police the “bad actors” and protect the rights of consumers, or someone outside our industry will take steps to do it for us. (more…)
We’ve already accepted that when sales and marketing aren’t going great it’s not the leads, it’s you, worked on sales culture and contact time, and dipped into the crucial world of communication. We also covered adapting your sales organization to effectively work Internet leads, contacting the borrower, creating an effective sales pitch, how to create an effective email, and how to leave an effective voicemail in Organizing: Understanding Reverse Mortgage Leads. Now I want to get a bit more granular with understanding call priorities and strategies for squeezing more revenue out of your advertising spend as your leads age.
It is important to remember that the Internet allows consumers to “hide” behind their computer screen. Since you often do not have the chance to meet with them, the way you present yourself over the phone is more critical than ever in earning the business. The old adage, “smile before you dial” still holds true.
Understanding 3-D communication. People process information 3 ways:
7% words – Email – Kinesthetic
38% tone – Tone – Audio
55% personally – Meeting – Visual
What this tells us is that you email for show and dial for dough! We lose 55% of our edge by conducting an interview by phone instead of sitting in front of them. To compensate, you MUST improve your telephone presentation skills. Excitement, enthusiasm, personality, knowledge… these are the bedrock skills of an effective phone call. By the time you establish voice contact, your emails have hopefully positioned yourself as the loan solution provider. If so, the phone call should be an extension of any already established dialogue.
Be enthusiastic. Sure, you’ve made this pitch a thousand times, but this is the first time this prospect has heard it, so don’t sound bored. Share the borrower’s enthusiasm about accomplishing their goals and solving their problems. As the breakdown above illustrates, what’s critical is not only what you say, it’s how you say it. Emphasize what is important, and make sure you keep the volume where you can easily be heard. Speak to the level and cadence of your prospect. Be prepared, be confident, be the expert! Prospects are shopping for a salesman, not just a product. Try and avoid industry specific vernacular… we all know what “LTV” is, but your prospect may not, so be sure to take the time to explain everything thoroughly, as it proves competence. The most important things is to have a plan as I have detailed in the earlier posts I mentioned above.
I’ve run a number of sales teams in my career, and even spent some time in the mid 90’s training automobile dealers on how to create an effective sales process working Internet leads – at the time, it was the antithesis of their traditional sales process. In fact, it was with the very first Internet lead company, autobytel. Managing my own consumer fulfillment sales teams since those times, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that the leads were not good, I’d be a very rich man. My response has always been: “Then why is so-and-so consistently making $20k-$30k a month working the same leads you are?”
Because it’s rarely the leads, that’s why.
As a lead generator, I’ve worked with thousands of forward and reverse mortgage lenders and brokers over the years. I’ve had the opportunity to share processes with these lenders and aggregate best practices. Some of these clients have seen tremendous ROI and consider our leads the best thing since sliced bread, yet a few don’t see success using a subset of the very same leads. Why is that? The leads are effective as you are. Process, positioning, and competitiveness matter. A microcosm of this is why most sales organizations consistently have certain sales people at the top of the board, the middle of the board, and those who should seek other employment. The top producers are not necessarily more talented than anyone else, although that is a small part of it. What top sales people do tend to have in common, however, is a better sales process, a better pitch, the ability to connect with people, and personal drive (defined as work ethic), in which excuses are just not acceptable. They hold themselves accountable and find ways to succeed, not excuses as to why they fail. Again, the leads are as effective as you are; the deals are in there.