Are you a final expense insurance agent looking into generating better leads? Have you found your IMO or agency isn’t providing the kind of leads you are looking for?
The purpose of this article is to provide the best sources to find final expense leads and to identify the worst sources you should avoid.
I will be basing these suggestions off of the results of a recent survey I conducted sometime in the middle of December 2021.
I analyzed 92 different final expense agents comments. The agents provided their personal testimony based on their results and experience in the business.
So, if you want to know where to find consistent sources to generate leads and how to avoid the bad leads, this article is for you. Keep reading!
Quick Navigation Article Links:
- How The Data Was Collected
- How Agents Sell And Their Level Of Experience
- And The Best Type Of Purchased Final Expense Lead Is…
- What’s The Worst Type Of Final Expense Lead?
- Why Do Agents Think Direct Mail And TV Leads Are The Best?
- Why Direct Mail Leads Are So Dang Good =)
- Top Benefits Of TV Final Expense Leads
- What Agents Have To Say About The WORST Final Expense Lead Options
- Aged Leads: You Get What You Pay For!
- How To Best Work Final Expense Leads & Guidance For New Agents
- Survey Takeaway
How The Data Was Collected
To start collecting data from other agents, I put out a couple of social media posts and videos. The videos were posted on Facebook and on YouTube from December 6th to December 23rd, 2021.
A lot of the survey results came from agents that are associated with my agency, but a large percentage of them also came from my agent list that I have, people who go to my website that are agents.
They fill out their information to receive updates and resources, including surveys like this.
Because I collected data from a variety of agents, this information can be used by final expense agents who work with me or on their own.
How Agents Sell & Their Level Of Experience
So let’s go and jump into it. These are the results of the survey that I conducted, and we’ve got a total of 92 responses. Again, this is what we call the aggregate; so this is what everybody says, no matter experience or background.
I will run through this list, and then I’m going to show you the deeper dive into the year plus results and what is considered to be the best and the worst final expense lead. Then we’ll look at commentary on what agents actually have to say that took this anonymously.
How Respondents Sell
So first of all, let’s consider who was actually filling this out. Are these people who are face-to-face agents, telesales, or a hybrid agent? So what you see on the screen here is just kind of a cross-section of who is filling out this information.
Here are the results:
- About half or a little more in half of the agents in this survey are focused on face-to-face sales.
- The red identifies those who work virtually or with telesales, about 36%.
- Lastly about 11% are some kind of hybrid final expense agent.
This, to me, is what I would consider to be the average in this business. There’s going to be a little bit more face-to-face agents than telesales.
Experience Level Of Respondents
Next, I also asked my respondents, “Tell us how long you’ve been selling the final expense.”
And you can see the big green number there is for a year or longer, and everything else is less than a year. So, a big portion of these results here are people who have been doing this for more than a year.
My personal opinion here, I tend to trust the agent who’s been in this business a lot longer than a lot shorter; they tend to have more experience and thus wisdom than the shorter period. That’s why we’re going to look specifically at the experienced pros in more depth here once we get through this initial phase.
And The Best Type Of Purchased Final Expense Lead Is…
The first question on my survey, “In your personal experience selling final expense, what type of purchased leads is best?”
Here are the results:
- Fresh and exclusive direct mail constituted 54.3% of the survey results. That means more than half of the respondents voted that direct mail, fresh and exclusive, is the best source of leads.
- Live transfer leads, the agents that considered this the best method account for 12%; part of the reason for their response is that if you’re new to final expense a face-to-face agent isn’t going to do live transfer leads.
Likewise, a telesales agent probably doesn’t do direct mail. So this probably constitutes a lot of telesales agents. I don’t have the data for that, but that’s kind of what my gut says.
And then it actually probably is a little bit better than 12%, because if you start to look at the results here. You’ll see things like TV live transfer or TV call leads.
A lot of people said TV, even though I considered at the time, maybe a mistake of my own, that the live transfer fills that gap, or does include TV leads as well.
So this number probably is a lot better than it looks, I would say a solid second place; that the second best lead is one that is calling you, and you’re probably doing telesales to work it.
- The third place goes to digital leads, anything other than Facebook leads. Probably a close third.
Most agents don’t really have a preference when it comes to one being better than another. They all are kind of the same, as far as how you work them and what to expect. So digital leads would be a pretty much a solid third, close third.
- Telemarketed leads are fourth. And then really, this is just kind of a mix of a bunch of other things. Age leads; notice that wasn’t number one.
What’s The Worst Type Of Final Expense Lead?
The next question asked, “In your personal experience selling final expense, what type of purchased lead in final expense is the worst?”
- Number one, Facebook-generated leads. Almost one out of three said Facebook-generated leads were the worst leads available. I include Facebook generated leads in digital leads which were at third or possibly fourth place on our pie chart.
- Second is aged direct mail leads. A lot of people seemingly don’t like aged direct mail leads.
- Third would be telemarketed leads, and then fourth would be fresh and exclusive direct mail leads.
Notice that the vast majority of people here don’t think that direct mail leads are the worst. Most of them think they’re the best, as we saw above.
- And then as far as all these little parts here, you’re going to get kind of a mix: word of mouth, age leads, auto-dialers, not answers, foreign voicemail. Notice live transfer leads seemingly one of the, considered the one of the least worst options by the crowd itself.
Why Do Agents Think Direct Mail And TV Leads Are The Best?
So, it’s important we ask:
Why do the majority of respondents think TV leads or direct mail are the best final expense leads?
Why do the majority think that digital leads are the worst leads?
I’ve compiled some commentary from the agents that answered those questions.
Why Direct Mail Leads Are So Dang Good =)
So, when it comes to direct mail leads as being the best, this is the commentary the agents provided:
Best Recall & Intent
- “Direct mail leads are more intentional on the client’s part, and they remember it better. Plus, you have a valuable tool to door knock with, to show them they requested this information.”
So in other words, one of the reasons direct mail is considered the best source of leads, especially for face-to-face agents, is because of the engagement factor. The benefit from this method is that they remember it more.
When you go to the door, if you’re face-to-face, you can actually show them, “Hey, you sent this in.” They see their signature and remember. I agree with this finding as well! I have used direct mail throughout my entire career, 10 plus years as a final expense agent and agency owner as well.
- Direct mail cost, quality, predictability, consistency, and close geographic distribution. No other type of lead gives you all of these. It’s 2021, now 2022, but direct mail is still king.
Direct mail tends to be more expensive than pretty much all the lead sources except live transfers. I like to tell my agents who are joining my agency, “You get what you pay for when it comes to leads.
This is an investment, so why not invest in quality, not cheapness.” Right? But the cost is still acceptable in most markets to where you can scale it up and still leverage a high multiple of return if you’re good at this business.
You know what to expect when you work these leads. USPS can’t shut you down as easily as, say, Facebook can. Right?
That’s a common problem you hear with anybody marketing on Facebook, is they’ll just cancel your ads or your account willy nilly, and it’s a nightmare to try to get it re-approved.
Close Geographic Distribution
To me, this is one of the biggest selling points to why I think especially face-to-face agents should be doing direct mail selling final expense.
I could go drop mail in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in specific zip codes that between each door is like a five minute or less drive.
But if I take a Facebook lead program or a telemarketed lead program, I’m going to be spread out. I have to take a radius of approximately 15, 20, 30 miles around Chattanooga. So I might be as far north as a 45 minute drive into Cleveland, or as far south as into Summerville, Georgia, which is about 50 miles away from where I live.
What tends to happen with agents face-to-face, at least, working Facebook leads, is there is so much windshield time between running appointments.
You are less efficient than if you had just purchased direct mail leads, set the same number of appointments, if not more, but run more appointments, because you’re just like five minutes from the next door.
This is the problem with cheap leads. People think it’s less expensive. “Well, I’m going to save money. I’ll just buy more to make up for it.”
But there are these hidden costs you don’t think about like, “Well instead of five minutes between houses, I’m like 20 minutes between houses. I can’t run 10 appointments a day, because I’m driving so much. I can only run seven or six.”
That tends to add up in less efficiency, more sunk cost of time, and less closure potentially, arguably speaking, than if you work something like direct mail.
I think the geographic distribution is not harped on enough. A lot of agents are used to running the roads, going between multiple counties in a day’s time, and really just putting a ton of miles on.
That can be largely avoided, not completely, it depends on the market. If you’re more rural, there is more drive time; but it can be largely avoided with direct mail, where you can isolate down to the zip code, and really be efficient.
Fresh Leads That Remember The Interaction
- “They’re fresh and generally remember filling it out and why they filled it out.”
I think that’s a good way to kind of summarize the benefits of direct mail for final expense agents, as they very often remember doing it.
Even if they don’t, if you show up at the door with the lead card in hand, they cannot deny their signature.
I mean, I guess they could deny it. There’s been clients I’ve seen that said, “Yeah, that’s my signature, but I didn’t fill it out.”
So I guess that can happen, but it’s less likely that they’ll say that than, “I don’t remember filling out a Facebook card or lead.” Or, “I thought I was going to win an iPad.”
I think that’s why most of the experienced people who have ever worked direct mail leads absolutely know and understand that’s why the majority of final expense agents feel that direct mail is king.
Top Benefits Of TV Final Expense Leads
Higher Contact Rate
TV live transfer leads. The comment here that we got is:
- “100% contact rate.”
What do we mean by 100% contact rate? That means the cool thing about working a TV lead or a live transfer lead, is that when that person calls in there is a live person that’s on the line that actually wants to talk about insurance.
The benefits with live transfers and TV leads is that you’re doing presentations now! Not the prospecting process.
Removes Agents Discomfort
What you will observe with a lot of telesales agents that are doing outbound, is that’s the most grueling process of selling final expense over the phone. You got to pick that cactus up so to speak and call an individual.
You got to talk to people, listen to no thank yous, get hung up on, or listen to the phone ring and ring. Not fun is it?
And with a TV lead system or a live transfer system, you can overcome that to a certain extent, you’re immediately talking to people that are interested.
For example, I’ve got a call center in my agency, they’re taking a live transfer variant, they’re closing 25% to 30% of those transfers.
They’re writing a good bit of business, I think between two agents, about $10,000 to $12,000 a week. It works wonderfully well when you’ve got a good vendor. It removed the uncomfortable aspect we would rather avoid, picking up the phone and prospecting. Right?
Callers Intend To Buy
Second comment on this:
- “Clients are calling you, which means they’re more interested in purchasing, and usually will result in a higher average premium.”
I definitely see this with any kind of call-ins or live transfers. In my experience, most people tend to be a little bit more interested and a little bit more willing to buy more when they are calling you with that initial interest.
Same Cost Less Effort
- “Customer acquisition is the same cost as a telemarketed lead but with less effort.”
So what this agent was saying is they’ve done the math looking at telemarketed leads and calling those leads versus taking inbound TV leads. They make the same money free and clear after expenses.
What he’s saying is, “I don’t have to do all the grueling effort to do outbound work, to filter through the junk, to find the gold. If I just do TV leads. Yeah, it’s a little more expensive per lead, but I’m talking to the gold all the time without the painstaking effort of working and prospecting through that list of leads.” Does that make sense?
This could be why you’ll see TV leads or any kind of live transfer that has reduced quality is the gold standard.
I don’t think this means you can’t be successful if you do outbound; plenty of agents who do outbound do very well. But this is one of those advantages that TV leads have that I think is the reason why a lot of telesales agents think TV leads, live transfer leads, are the cat’s meow.
What Agents Have To Say About The WORST Final Expense Lead Options
Now let’s go back to the worst leads.
This agent said about Facebook digital leads being the worst leads:
- “Your info is auto saved for anything you inquire about.”
So a lot of the time your info is saved automatically, so you’re receiving a false lead.
- “My previous IMO pushed internet life leads and often had discounts. That was my primary lead source. I would have to use an entire day dialing the book appointments twice weekly, and a good amount of the booked appointments were no-shows.”
So a lot of the complaints that I hear about any kind of digital or Facebook leads, first of all, it’s too easy to request a quote, or to request information.
Think about it when you go in and you make a purchase online; all your information, if you’re using most browsers, is saved. They don’t have to go through the painstaking effort of manually filling it out with their fingers. So there’s less engagement.
But what we find is, if it’s too easy, there’s not much at stake; and a lot of people will request information on leads, but won’t be that intrigued or interested. You’re going to get cheaper and faster results, as far as conversions.
The argument most agents who don’t like these leads tend to be that they’re just not as interested, they don’t pick up the phone as much, because they’re just hammered a lot by telemarketing anyways, and they don’t convert as well as other sources.
Now with that said, plenty of agents do well with Facebook leads in my opinion. They do well because they overcome that hurdle.
They just don’t purchase 20 or 30. They purchase 50, 75, 100 plus if you’re telesales. Because that’s how you overcome some of the shortcomings, just by sheer volume.
That stands in contrast with TV leads, direct mail, because it’s a high quality lead, where the intent is higher; you don’t need as much volume. So a lot of people are like, “Man, 100 leads to sell a handful of policies? That’s crazy.” Well, that’s just the way it is.
Low Contact Rate
Again, talking about what we mentioned before; a lot of them simply just won’t pick up the phone.
If you’re out there face-to-face, you can still overcome that by just dropping by, knocking on the door, and seeing them, and getting in the door. That definitely works.
But if you’re telesales, there’s always going to be a sunk amount of leads, a sunk cost that you can never really refire up, because they just won’t pick up the phone.
Digital/Facebook Leads Lack Intention
And the last comment here is:
- “It’s just the nature of Facebook and digital leads, the lack of intention and a lot is in the responses. Have you seen old people on Facebook? Success is definitely achievable with them, but sometimes you want to know how some of these people get involved. Half the time, they don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. Other half it’s a good response. I would like to work with a much larger group of informed who are serious about what we’re offering.”
Again, this kind of comes back to what the best leads are. There is a night and day difference if you are tired of this and frustrated with some of the better versions we talked about earlier.
- “The lack of transparency with direct Facebook and digital vendors, combined with pyramid agencies driving up demand, has made purchasing Facebook leads the worst. They are overpriced, low quality, and lack scalability within a single geographic area. To sell consistently, you need to travel from metro to metro area.”
The downside of a digital lead is you just have to work a larger area. It’s hard to work in one city exclusively. There was a time like four or five years ago, when Facebook was totally different than it is now as far as leads go.
The other thing too, is as far as the transparency, this is a big thing that has always bothered me about any Facebook or digital lead.
You really don’t know what you’re getting. Right? Think about it. You place an order with one of the vendors, you hope and cross your fingers that it’s going to work out.
But what does the lead say? What’s the copy on it? Is it a life insurance lead? Is it a burial, state regulated lead? Is it a gift voucher to a vacation lead? Is it a Walmart giveaway lead?
All of these variants have been used in ads. And the problem is, if you don’t know and have not had anybody that’s vetted the vendor, you really don’t know what you’re getting.
Even if you did, the vendors commonly change the image up, they change the copy up to try to get conversion rates down on the cost. And you don’t know what you’re really getting.
So when it comes to buying from vendors for Facebook or digital leads, you’ve got to work with people you trust, and that have a street cred, that have a track record of success; because you’re kind of hoping that they do well.
They won’t share with you the actual ad copy; and that’s kind of the big problem. But with direct mail, certainly TV leads, you can see what they’re watching on TV before you actually buy the lead.
Aged Final Expense Leads: You Get What You Pay For!
- “Clients are dead, moved, or completely unaware of what they sent in. These are age direct mail leads. Most of my areas had older age leads, so the less than a year aged lead might yield different results.”
This is a common complaint working age direct mail leads, really any age leads. You show up and the guy died six months ago; you’re a little late to the party. Right? Or they already bought, and they’re happy, and you’ve got to move on.
Now, in my experience, that’s just the nature of working a cheap lead. You get what you pay for, right, to revisit what I said earlier.
However, there are opportunities in age leads. First of all, you wouldn’t believe how many agents don’t ever actually work their leads. They just sit out there in a stack, and people just never get the courage to go work.
So there’s a lot that are purchased that have never actually worked.
In some cases, an agent can unearth sales opportunities. Sometimes, people lapse their coverage inadvertently; and the agent never follows up.
So it takes a lot more sweat equity to work age leads. But this is the kind of stuff that hopefully your upline is filling you in as the technical difficulty there.
- “Anything aged is a tougher sale and lower contact percentage.”
That’s just the nature of it. If anybody tells you a lead is a lead is a lead, they’re not telling the truth.
A lead that’s fresh and exclusive is different from a lead that’s five years old. It simply is and it’s going to be harder to get deals out of your age leads than it is through your fresh exclusive leads.
How To Best Work Final Expense Leads & Guidance For New Agents
The last question I ask my survey takers is this:
“Imagine you’re speaking with a new final expense agent, who will soon place his first final expense lead order. What advice would you give him on lead selection and the proper mindset to have about working his purchase leads?”
The first one is:
- “Call them quick, and assume the sale. They requested the info for a reason.”
So again, take action. There’s a lot of competition out there in final expense these days. I one hundred percent agree with this perspective.
- “When you get leads, move fast to work and close them. There’s always some other guy behind you who’s right on your heels, that if you don’t move fast, he’s going to shift in, and close Mildred before you get a chance to.”
Another comment, “Take new leads.” Again, the best advice I could give y’all out there is make sure that you’ve got the money and the willingness to invest in new leads.
There’s a lot of agents that enter this business that are told, “A lead is a lead is a lead,” that an age lead is equivalent to a new lead.
They buy them and they suck, and they leave this wonderful business with such a financial opportunity with a chip on their shoulder, thinking it’s a racket. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Taking new leads really makes a huge difference, in terms of your success in this business.
- “Be sure you can afford to purchase leads. Don’t come into this business with a hope and a prayer, and pushing a few pennies and hoping that it works out. Make sure that you’ve got the proper capital in order to invest in leads.”
I recommend at least $3,000 for a month’s worth of leads. If you want an honest college try, chance to be successful. That’s full-time; if you do this, part-time, somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000 a month will be fine, too.
And then a big question here:
- “If they work with me at my current IMO, and if they wanted to work solely final expense leads, I would tell them to stay the hell away from our company CRM leads, and do a weekly mail drop with Need-A-Lead or another mail vendor if their budget permits. Or if they want to run immediately and not wait for the mailers to get sent back in, just grab 25 to 40 new final expense mailers available to buy immediately, and really have a good expectation of what’s going to happen. Make sure you dial them appropriately, make sure to organize your schedule. And most of all, make sure to door knock and resolve every single lead after the first week or so, or after you’ve dialed them through 12 to 15 times each and on two to three different dial lists.”
Second to last one:
- “Number one, what you will learn working leads, is proven in work; so whoever you work with, whatever they’re recommending, follow it. It works. How you speak is everything, so listen and learn. Number three, the system will always beat your talent. Follow it exactly.” Great advice; just do the system, do the script, follow the training system.
The beautiful thing about final expense, we’ve already figured out how it works. We’re just trying to scale what works, at least us agency owners. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
- “Ratios; expect them and you will have expectations. Again, understand what your close rates are, your show rates, what your dial percentages must be to hit your goals of numbers every single day.”
- “Time blocking and never deviate, schedule time to get on the phone. Schedule time to get in the field. Stick to your schedule and stick to your plan. Practice and know your pitch to a needle point and every element, or don’t buy your first lead.”
And then the last one here:
- “Leads are just opportunities. They are designed to give you an excuse to approach somebody about buying life insurance.” Definitely true to an extent. “It shouldn’t matter if whether they wrote their info down on a card, a flier, or a napkin at McDonald’s.”
I guess a napkin at McDonald’s, if they said, “I want life insurance,” I would consider that a high quality lead.
- “All that matters is that you have the opportunity to close them. It’s not the lead’s fault if you can’t close.”
Again, my opinion on that, I kind of stand in contrast to that. I do believe the leads matter to a certain extent. They’re not everything. They’re not sales. They’re opportunities for people who are marginally interested, raising their hands, and expressing an interest.
But ultimately, there is a variation in the perception of the quality of leads. And I think at the end of the day, optimizing your chances with the best leads is the best way to give yourself the best odds for success. Right?
And last but not least, certainly important, “Stay positive. It’s a numbers game.” A hundred percent agree with that.
So, what are the main takeaways from this survey?
- Direct mail is king, no contest to this. There are costs to using direct mail but the prospect engagement and information you collect proves to be the best lead source.
- If you’re in the telesales world, consider live transfers; there’s definitely some benefit to those. The agents are able to take calls with individuals who are already ready and willing to talk about insurance.
And guess what, we’re about to start our process, and begin to offer TV leads and live transfer leads to our agents.
If you’re interested in that, please go to my website, hit the contact button and reach out to us for more info. They’re going to be really good. We’ve got some great vendors online ready to roll, having great results. So if you’re interested in that, let me know.
And as far as the worst leads go, guys, you can still get results off the worst leads. If that’s what you got to work with, that’s what you got to work with. But take the consensus as it stands.
- There’s a reason why digital leads and telemarketed leads and age leads kind of get voted down the most as the worst, because they’re cheaper and they’re cheaper quality.
So I hope you enjoyed this training, at least this part or segment of it, got some value out of it. I really wanted to survey my audience and get their perspective, because I think that is very valuable.