Exclusive Vs. Shared Leads – What’s The Difference?

Are you looking for insight on the difference between shared leads and exclusive leads.

If you sell insurance like I do, you know the importance of generating leads to stay busy with new prospects. Because without leads, you are NOT in business =).

While my topic on exclusive versus shared leads will mostly reference those selling insurance products like final expense, Medicare Advantage, annuities, mortgage protection, and other product lines, this article will do a good job explaining the pros and cons of each, regardless of what industry you’re in.

So let’s get started…

Exclusive Leads

Let’s talk first about exclusive leads.

Exclusive leads are not rocket science. The name pretty much says it all! Exclusive leads are YOURS, and yours alone. Exclusive leads can never be resold to another agent because you OWN that lead.

The advantage to working exclusive leads is that you don’t have to worry about another agent working the same lead you received. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating that reaching a prospect who was JUST SOLD by another agent who bought the same lead as you did.

The drawback to exclusive leads? Exclusivity costs you more than shared leads. Expect to pay more money per exclusive leads than with shared leads.

One thing to keep in mind. You may consider buying aged exclusive leads to lower your average per lead cost. Many lead vendors are flush with lead inventory that they’ll happily off-load for a fraction of the retail price.

In the insurance world, agents working in my national agency are encouraged to ONLY buy exclusive leads. Selling insurance is tough enough work with every part of your business dialed in, so why make it more difficult by having the competition fight with you?

Shared Leads

Shared leads are the exact opposite of exclusive leads. They are not exclusive to one person or one agent. Depending on the vendor, you’ll find a shared lead is sold simultaneously to 3 to 5 sales reps to work.

How does that impact the experience with your prospect? First, they get relentlessly pounded for days, even weeks. I find that these leads become irate and stop answering the phone after a day or two. The sales reps that I’ve heard that have worked aged leads are successful with them if (a) they are the first person to reach the prospect, or (b), they wait a week or two after the tsunami of calls have died down to speak with them.

Sure, shared leads are less expensive, but the challenge with this type of lead is that you’re in direct competition with other agents.

Which Lead Type Is Better?

Exclusive versus shared leads – which lead will work best for you?

I’ve sold insurance since 2011. I’ve experienced success and worked myself into a six-figure earner from personal production alone. I’ve won several convention trips as a top producer. I say this not to brag, but to explain this to you: as a PRACTITIONER like yourself, a big part of my success comes from working exclusive leads, not shared leads.

In fact, all my top producing agents and other high-performing agents that don’t work with me ALL use fresh leads 95%+ of the time.

And… as the old saying goes…

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Seriously. Why deviate from a proven model of success? Just duplicate the sales and marketing systems that are proven to work. And running the lead program with exclusive leads is commonplace among top producers.

Instead of trying to save money or take short cuts, go with exclusive leads from the start. Stay away from shared leads.

Bottom line, you get what you pay for.

What if the exclusive lead you’re researching is expensive? You have 2 choices:

  1. Find cheaper exclusive lead alternatives. In the insurance business, we have access to a various price-points on leads to match the agents budget. Most likely you do, too, if you look around enough.
  2. Just do it. This is what I commonly recommend to agents. If you’ve done your due diligence and have found a reputable lead vendor with decent-quality leads, take the leap of faith and go all in. There are no guarantees in sales, but the only way you stand a chance of getting better is to get uncomfortable. And part of getting uncomfortable is investing in yourself regardless of your personal doubts or financial concerns.
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