Final expense leads are one of THE most important elements to an agent's success selling burial insurance.
In this article, I've created a comprehensive final expense leads article with the objective of giving you a totally revealing, transparent, and detailed introduction to what final expense leads are, what to pay attention for, and what to know, so as to empower those agents who are getting started in the final expense business. Or who are searching for new leads and want to know what their options are.
In this article, I will discuss why final expense leads and lead generation are important, and completely fundamental to your success in the final expense business. Then we're going to go into what I would categorize the top three sources and types of final expense leads, specifically direct mail, telemarketing and self-generated leads. Lastly, I'm going to conclude with some takeaway points as to my overall thoughts on leads, which ones are the best and how to get started properly with them.
The Number One BIGGEST Challenge To A New Life Insurance Agent
Let's address possibly the most important factor here, and this is really addressed to brand new life insurance agents that are just getting involved in the final expense business.
You've got your license, you studied for your test, you're now allowed to solicit for life insurance, so you're ready to go... right?
Now after you've accomplished your first goal, you're really in front of the biggest problem that all life insurance agents, whether they're brand new like you are perhaps, or whether your experienced in this business, and that is... how do I actually sell anything?
In the final expense business, and really true of any life insurance niche, you have to find a system to generate people to talk to consistently like clockwork. Whether that's going business-to-business or door-to-door, the important thing is that you have people to see.
Final expense leads are absolutely required in order to master the craft of selling burial insurance. Without them, you are nothing! Even if I have a charismatic, Tony-Robbins-type of personality who is just completely raw in his talent and level of salesmanship, he is worth nothing as an agent if he doesn't have anybody to see or anybody to sell to.
In fact, a mediocre salesman time and time again will do far better than the charismatic salesperson who has zero leads than the Mr. Mediocrity who sees prospects daily and constantly works to see them.
So it's important to make this distinguishing factor. Without your final expense leads, you are nothing and so it's of your utmost focus and worth your time to figure out how you can develop a lead generation system so as to get people to see when you sell final expense.
Is There Really Such A Thing As A "Best" Final Expense Insurance Lead?
You can sit down the top 10% final expense producing agents in one room and probably talk hours on end about what the "best" final expense leads are. We all have our opinions as experienced agents about which leads work best or better than others.
What I'm going to try and demonstrate - depending upon your situation financially and where you are in your career - is how to determine what kind of final expense leads are best for you, because that's what it ultimately is about; what leads are going to work best for your situation, your experience level? Hopefully what I'll try to do is give you a better idea of where to go and what leads are going to be best for you.
Finally, very important aspect to this entire conversation while we're describing final expense leads and how they work. Consistency in lead flow is absolutely paramount. It doesn't matter what kind of leads you get if you generate leads in a haphazard manner without consistency, or even if you use some sort of unicorn lead (the kind of lead where they just throw their checkbooks at you, they cannot wait to buy).
If you can't generate a final expense lead consistently, what worth does it have really? That's what I want to underline with this article. While it's important to figure out what final expense leads are good, just like the talent versus hard work and people to see comparison, it's more important to have leads consistently than it is to have anything else (assuming they're not complete crap, but hopefully you get that point).
Best Final Expense Lead Source #1 - Direct Mail
Virtually all successful final expense agents use what we call 'business reply mailers'. We don't simply send out a standard post card like you get in your mail box every day. These are what I would describe as a solicitation with a detachable portion on the bottom that the recipient reads, fills out and then sends it back.
These are people who take the time to read them and fill them out and return them. These are what virtually every final expense agent who uses direct mail actually uses, so as I go forward, understand I'm talking about business reply mailers.
In general, it takes about 4-5 weeks to generate your direct mail final expense leads. Namely because it takes time to setup the direct mail campaigns, to print them, to mail them, for them to be received, be read, filled out and put back in the mailbox and returned back. Generally speaking, I've seen campaigns go 3-4 weeks before they start returning, it depends on how closely you're located to the mail house. It's more common to see it take before 4-5 weeks before you start to get leads back.
It's important to understand you won't get all your leads back that you would from this campaign. You'll probably get about 80% of your leads within the first 4-8 weeks, and then the 20% remaining over the next 9-12 weeks and you'll get the occasional straggler after. Some people actually take you card, shove it in a drawer somewhere and come back to it later. So understand you're not going to get all of the leads that you ordered. You'll get all these crazy stragglers coming down the pike later on.
With final expense direct mail, it's the largest up-front investment relative to the most common lead sources. Most mail programs make you pay up-front because the mail house has to come up with the money to drop the leads, so you have to transact immediately even though you're not getting them and have a lead time of between 4-5 weeks.
That means if you're spending $500-$600/week, which is typical in this business for direct mail, you're in the money $5,000 before you have an opportunity to even work anything which, compared to other lead sources, is going to require the most money.
There are some advantages like no 'do not mail' lists, so when you drop final expense leads you can stay very consolidated. You don't have to jump all over the place like you would with final expense telemarketing leads and when you sit down, there may be a fight over which kind of direct mail is best, but if you sit down a bunch of experienced final expense agents, they're all going to tell you that direct mail leads are the most consistent and the best type of lead.
One last factor here. If you're new to this business you've probably seen all sorts of different agencies that are offering up their lead programs as the best thing ever. Pretty much all of them do direct mail to some extent. And what's happened is with all the people getting involved in the final expense business, it has pushed up the cost to generate final expense leads because of the saturation levels of direct mail.
Twenty years ago you could get 20-30 leads back per thousand that you drop. Now you're lucky to get back 10! In conjunction with the price of mail going up, it's becoming more and more difficult to generate leads consistently at a lower cost. We'll come back to this when we talk about fixed price final expense leads, but this is important to remember because it should make a big difference on who you decide to work with.
Vanilla Versus Specific - What Type Of Direct Mail Piece Is Best?
Let's have a conversation about specific vs. non-specific final expense leads. If you're experienced in this business, there's all sorts of different final expense leads, but they really fall into two different categories.
You've got what I've termed 'specific' final expense leads. These actually say 'life insurance' on the card, hopefully in the first line, sometimes in the second line. What that does, in my experience, is it better designates what this card is all about.
When I show you some samples, you're going to see what I mean by that because pretty much all the direct mail in final expense kind of looks like official government correspondence, so they're all kind of non-specific in a sense. I think a little more non-specificity helps you develop a better quality lead that actually is interested in life insurance.
However, with the advent of more and more saturation in this market, a lot of agencies and a lot of marketing companies are using non-specific leads, where the final expense leads don't even say 'life insurance' on them, but they may infer it. What that's done is it has lifted response rates for those types of cards, but as you can probably imagine, the less specific, the more difficulty in generating a more quality lead.
The card reads like it's government correspondence and then when there's no specific language that designates it as some sort of investment or you're going to pay for it, you're going to get a lot of people back who what I jokingly refer to as looking for 'Mutual of Obama', they're looking for their free handout. That's just what to expect, but that's kind of how it works.
There's always an inverse ratio between specificity and return rates. The less specific you are with your verbiage on the copy of the lead, the higher the response rate is going to be. Additionally, there's an inverse ratio between specificity and quality of return rate. There are agents that will argue with me about that, but I think it holds true more for the aggregate versus the agents that are exceptional and are top guns.
I'm more concerned about what will work for the majority versus the chosen few who have skill levels that are really out of this world. I would much rather have an agent working with a more specific quality type of lead. Let's go ahead and take a look at some samples here.
This is a sample of a state-regulated life insurance program direct mail final expense lead. As you can see where I've indicated here, the word "life insurance" is clearly designated in that first line and generates a more quality prospect. This is more specific and it's going to give you more quality responses. You're still going to get people who think it's free, but it's going to be a cut above what you see with leads like below.
This is a completely vanilla final expense mailer. Very similar verbiage, but notice here on the first line there's no mention of life insurance. When you have a situation like this, this is where you're going to get more responses, but not necessarily better quality responses. Hopefully that makes sense.
My Final Thoughts On Direct Mail Final Expense Leads
I am of the complete persuasion that fixed price direct mail final expense leads are absolutely necessary to a final expense agent's success.
At Final Expense Agent Mentor, we work with a third-party, very large, very well-run mail house that specializes in controlling costs, so that we can get a very affordable life insurance lead that actually says 'life insurance' on a fixed price basis. I would not ever want anybody, at least my agents, in most circumstances to pay on a per thousand basis for the leads. It is just becoming very, very tough to generate final expense leads on a costly basis so I really push my agents away from doing that.
Newer agents should always use a lead that says 'life insurance'. I think you've got enough challenges as it is as a new agent to selling final expense insurance. Make your life easier and use the lead that says 'life insurance' on it on the first line or the second line. It's just going to make your life that much easier!
As you get more experienced, if you're one of the more elite agents, you may want to use a generic lead card. One of the advantages to doing that is with the increased response, if you're good at getting in the door, you may be good at replacing inferior policies. There's a long mountain to climb, I think, in those circumstances, and again I think it's the exception to the rule so I don't really prefer that method.
I like the life insurance lead. In fact, four years into this business, I use a lead that says 'life insurance' still because it just makes my life easier.
Don't commit to a direct mail final expense leads program if you cannot maintain the weekly investment of 6-10 weeks minimum. Nothing sucks more than an agent coming into this business planning to fail. If you don't have the money to do the investment of leads that it takes, don't do direct mail.
I have agents all the time that come aboard and can't initially afford direct mail final expense leads. I'll put them in a final expense avatar program in conjunction with a seminar program that's going to get them leads affordably and get them the bank roll eventually to direct mail. The highest producing final expense agents all use direct mail leads, like I said.
If you'd like more specific information on direct mail final expense leads, check out my article here.
Best Final Expense Lead Option Number 2 - Telemarketing Leads
Moving on, let’s talk about final expense telemarketing leads. Telemarketing leads are great and kind of different compared to direct mail leads.
Fulfillment usually takes about 5-10 business days in most cases, but they do require a larger geographic area in order to generate the leads. In my experience and talking with top producers is that less of them use them on a consistent basis than direct mail. They're really used more to fill in the gaps, as we'll talk about.
What types of final expense telemarketing leads are there? You've got your traditional type. They're usually between $18-$25 a lead where a person that lives in America that's calling on your list, or they work for a telemarketing company to they generate the leads for you.
Next, you've got final expense avatar leads, which are really cool. In fact, if you go on YouTube and search 'final expense avatar leads', you'll see a video I created. It'll go into great detail for you. These are basically what I call 'terminator leads'. Filipinos press a sound board of an American voice-over giving the responses and rebuttals and so forth.
The advantage of it is that you pay third-world wages and then use American speakers and the recordings and it does sound pretty good. It keeps the cost extremely low, especially relative to traditional telemarketing final expense leads.
At Final Expense Agent Mentor, I have access to the avatar leads for $7.50 each. That's incredible! I've seen a lot of them in the $10-$15 range. "Can I get this mailed to me? Is this really a person?" They've thought about everything. It sounds really good and the type of people that buy final expense just honestly are the ones that are going to think that this is real.
Final Expense Voicemail and Press-1 Leads Are ILLEGAL!
The last point to discuss are the 'press-one leads', these are your robo-call leads. I'll tell you right now, if anybody's out there selling a press-one lead, it's completely illegal. There's no non-press-one robo-call lead. If you see a press-one lead or a voicemail lead, what they're doing is broadcasting or robo-calling a huge group of people and they're played a recorded message and then press one and leave their
information. They're really good leads, but they're completely illegal.
It's important that you never, ever buy anything that's a press-one lead or a voice mail lead. I don't care if they look honest. They're not! The vendors that sell these are breaking the law and what you may run into is that you will be sued. I have heard of agents who have gotten sued or named in some kind of shakedown by a lawyer if they're cold-called. And they've got to pay a fine of thousands of dollars. It's just not worth it. There are plenty of other final expense leads out there to avoid a lawsuit.
Final Expense Telemarketing Leads - Great For Agents With A Low Budget
My final thoughts on telemarketing leads are that the best way to use them are when you don't have the money appropriate to properly fund the final expense direct mail leads, but you've got enough to get you going, get the ball rolling and do several weeks' worth of avatar leads.
This is where final expense avatar leads are a really good investment. Again, they're best used a bridge to bank roll and eventually step into using direct mail and with telemarketing leads, what I have found is that they're either complete garbage or they're gold.
Your closing ratios aren't going to be as high in most cases compared to direct mailer leads, but with the fact that the price point is so much lower with the final expense leads, you don't need to close as much. You can return your investment a lot higher even though there's a lower hurdle to cross. Like I said at the beginning, avatars are what I suggest to my agents when they come aboard if they can't do the direct mail.
I have more information on final expense telemarketing leads in my new article posted here.
Best Final Expense Lead Number 3 - Free Leads, Referrals, Cold-Calling, and Seminars
Lastly, the types of leads I would deem to be free final expense leads are leads you don't pay cash-money for, you just spend your time generating. Honestly, they're the toughest way to generate final expense leads.
I'm not sure anybody on here wants to cold call. I'm sure there are a lot of people on here who are afraid to present in front of people. These are the kind of lead that takes a little more hutzpuh to do and quite honestly, in many cases, are just difficult to sustain over the long-run.
The ultimate self-generated leads are referrals. You have to ask to get them. I, personally, am not very good at asking for referrals. I've just usually got too many direct mail final expense leads to work, so I don't think about it as often as I really should.
But after several years of doing this, I get unsolicited referrals all the time. What I mean by 'all the time' is I probably sell about 4-5 policies a month just from people who call on me. Existing customers, referrals from existing customers, people who maybe lost their policy and they keep it and wanted it back. It's kind of endless and it's nice because they usually fill the gap when you have a poor week.
That's the advantage of staying in this business. You get people calling you after you spent your whole life calling on them!
The Basics On Cold Calling For Final Expense Leads
Most likely as a beginning agent, and if you just don't have any money, you can cold call or you can cold canvas door-to-door. Just pick the phone up to call or use some kind of power-dialer to call a list of people at virtually no expense. Or you can just go knock on doors. Nobody is really doing this anymore and if you pick the right areas it can be fruitful, as long as you do enough activity.
Lastly, you can generate final expense leads from seminars where you go talk to a group of seniors and tell them about final expense options and coverage.
The last point I'll make about free final expense leads is this. If you can help it, do NOT start in a free final expense leads program if you can afford to invest in your own leads. Free final expense leads can cost you big time! So make sure to check out my article above for more information as to why that's the case.
In Conclusion, Final Expense Leads Are VITAL To Your Sustained Success Selling Burial Insurance!
The take-away of this presentation on final expense leads is that no leads means 'fail'! If you don't think leads are important to be successful in final expense, you've already failed and you should go back to whatever job you had before and don't even get involved in this business.
Taken further, if you don't understand the value of investing your money into your business to generate final expense leads, you've already failed before you've even started. This business is a risk-- all business is a risk. It takes you to step up to the mat and take a jump, take a risk. With risk, there is reward.
Every business, it doesn't matter what kind of business, has an operating cost requirement. Whether that's rent, paying employees, marketing, all business experienced owners understand that.
Final expense is no different and in many ways is actually a lot better. In final expense you don't have to have an office space, there's no rent, and the only expense you really have is your gas bill, your food and then your final expense leads, that's it! You can scale this up and you don't have to pay any employees to work with you, it's fantastic!
You've got to take this business seriously and treat it like a business and if you want to have serious success, AND you've got to make a serious investment and be committed to it, too. Hopefully that makes sense. I've said it several times, but the most successful final expense agents are committed to an ongoing, consistent, final expense direct mail order.
As I mentioned earlier, fixed price direct mail leads are vital to your success and control of your cost. Unless you live in Alaska, Montana or Wyoming or some of these states that probably don't have a lot of final expense agents, most likely if you're reading this, you're on the west coast, Texas, the southeast or parts of the northeast. In these areas, final expense is becoming more expensive to generate leads in, so it's important you shack up with a fixed price vendor. It makes a tremendous difference in controlling your cost and is becoming more and more necessary with each passing day.
Telemarketing final expense leads and seminar lead-generation models are best used to build up a money ball to eventually get into direct mail. I haven't seen many of the top agents I've conversed with who have actually completely and continuously depended upon telemarketing leads. I've talked to one or two, but the vast majority of agents are just using direct mail.
If you don't the money, you don't have the money. That's OK. If you've got a little bit of money, it's better to get involved in a little avatar business than it is to cold call, in my experience. Like I said, this business is tough enough as it is. I really don't want my agents cold calling face-to-face or over the phone, it just doesn't result in success from the people that I've seen do it. It may be a temporary solution, but it's a temporary solution to a long-term problem, and that is you don't have money to buy leads.
In fact, I would much rather agents start off in this business the right way, like I mentioned, go ahead and get a part-time job or keep your current job and fund yourself properly. Give yourself time to experience the business and time to have the money to invest in this business. Nobody has to jump into this business right away and there are plenty of agents that flunk this business prematurely because they just weren't well-capitalized.
With that said, my last little tidbit here to you is that as I discuss and present this knowledge to you, I want you to understand that if you're a new agent into this business, or if you're experienced in this business and kind of looking for somewhere to land (maybe your current setup isn't satisfactory), at my agency at Final Expense Agent Mentor, we do the fixed price direct mail final expense leads programs and we do offer an avatar lead program and we do train agents on how to self-generate leads via seminars.
These are the three primary lead programs I have seen done with consistent success. I have done all three of these consistently, successfully. I know how to implement them and I know how to get my agents the results that they can see in order to build a successful career and I teach all this stuff in an experiential, relevant way and I can show you the system to put into force to help you succeed in this business.
I want to conclude that if anything I've said in this final expense leads seminar has been useful to you, or has been intriguing, if you're new to this business and want somebody to work with and want to learn more about my program, or if you're experienced and you're not satisfied with your final expense lead program or you're not satisfied with your contract levels, I want you to visit my website at FEAgentMentor.com for more information on final expense sales training and on more about how my program works.
Once you're there and you want to talk to me, just simply go to the 'Contact' page, fill your contact information out and click the 'submit' button and I'll get back to you within the next 24 hours. Thank you so much for reading this final expense lead seminar. I hope you found it useful and, more importantly, I hope you found some information here that's applicable to your continual success in this business.