Why you should NEVER buy a ‘list’ of potential leads:

In Marketing by Tim Douglass

Leads are the oxygen supply for any business that hopes to grow. Leads mean revenue. The problem: the term ‘leads’ can be a bit ‘misleading.’

Not all leads carry equal weight. There are GREAT leads and horrible leads; the problem – it’s rather difficult to classify and qualify and then correctly ‘attribute’ how the great leads came to the business through which effort. When a roofing company gets a lead interested in re-carpeting a bedroom – you know that is a very bad lead!

A constant flow of the right kind of potential clients/customers is absolutely critical and will determine the health of your business. Choosing quantity over quality is a problem. The steady flow of the right leads is ALL that matters.

A third-party lead-generating service feels kind of risky for a small business. AND IT SHOULD! What assurance do you have that they will build systems that funnel the right leads – in volume – to your phones? What if they just resell you the leads they sent to 16 others – your regional competitors, for instance? You hired them for lots of great leads and now you have to be ‘Quick-draw Johnny’ to try and snag them before the guy across town?

DO NOT ever buy a ‘list’ of potential clients/leads. Just don’t. You don’t know how they acquired that list and you sure don’t know why the lead generation service thought they were a ‘good fit.’ You can’t tell if they are nearing the point of purchase, their motivations, or anything else. That is a bananas way of going about finding good leads.

You’re looking for ‘high-quality leads.’ You want a customer who has indicated an actual interest in your home-service and wants to buy their solution right when they need it. That is the kind of lead that generates real revenue – so you guys grow, add team members, and buy more service trucks. Third-party leads tend to be ‘stink-ers,’ and you’ll likely only have an expensive bill to pay for the hard lesson learned.

It can and should be so much better.

So here are EIGHT BIG THINGS you should consider before attempting to acquire leads – good leads that make you money. The right kind of leads are worth budgeting to capture.

ONE: WRONG MINDSET

Purchased ‘customer leads’ rarely convert, but even if they do – they have a ‘mindset’ that isn’t interested in building a long-term relationship with your company. They won’t likely do anything to help you build your referral network or hire you in the future. That means the lifetime value of your new customer is a fraction of what it could be if they interacted with your company on different terms.

TWO: NO REFUNDS

You don’t get a refund on those expensive ‘lead gen’ services. Let’s say you bought 10K leads from a list, and it only nets 17 real customers. Well, that was a ton of wasted time, energy, and ultimately MONEY. Those are just the kinds of resources you do not want to be burning!

THREE: RUN TO GRAB GRAB THEM BEFORE THE OTHER GUY

Sure, you bought the leads, but so did three other guys in your region. It’s like a shotgun start to grab them quickly and convince them that your company is the right solution. That possible customer is getting phone calls from your competitors – maybe even while you’re reading this! How much better would it be to own leads unique to you, leads for customers who want your service and can see the value you bring.

FOUR: LET THE PUBLIC FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR COMPANY

You must find ways to stand-out from all the other players in the industry. Clients who can tell you care about quality, great interactions, and friendly (prompt) service won’t expect to pay the lowest price. They will pay more than the lowest bid because they will be engaging a company that provides so much more than that. They are also far more likely to be repeat customers. Leads will work much better because they have ‘pre-engaged’ with your business via social media or website. They aren’t getting a ‘cold call’ – those calls have notoriously low conversion rates. Your leads come in ‘hot’ because they are calling to buy from you RIGHT NOW.

FIVE: BAD LEADS WILL MAKE YOU DESPERATE TO CLOSE & PUSH YOU TO GO CHEAP

If third-party leads, lists, etc. are your only lifeline to new business, it will make you sweat bullets to lose a ‘warm lead.’ Remember these are not leads that think your company is great and worth paying your set fee schedule; they’re likely to push you on pricing. In your desperation, you might even give in. The overhead doesn’t take a break and people need to get paid – that’s probably why you bought the ‘lead gen service’ to begin with, right?

If your business is going to stay on its feet for the next decade, you must be able to demand a fair price for your work. You do good work and should be paid for it. The wrong leads undercut this in more ways than you can imagine.

SIX: BAD LEADS ARE LOOKING FOR LOW PRICE ABOVE ALL

The best leads are referrals, word-of-mouth/reputation, or those you have cultivated yourself. They have a built-in trust from the first few seconds of the call; if you could ONLY buy a list of those people – well, it would cost you a fortune! Buying batch leads by the hundreds and thousands put you in the same class as ‘telemarketers’ and cold-call sales. That is NOT how you want to run your marketing. It will kill your business because it will starve your company of oxygen slowly. Those leads want a low price and they will thrash you on review sites if they’re disappointed in ANY way. They won’t know you are the kind of business that seeks to make things right. They’ll ghost you and then trash talk your company. They weren’t ever truly your lead.

SEVEN: ROI BUST!

Your return on investment is going to be LOW, LOW, LOW for purchased, batched leads. Watch how this works. Let’s say you bought 1000 leads (nice round number), 5% won’t be viable phone numbers (950 remaining). 20% will go straight to voicemail – won’t pick up because they won’t recognize your number (760 remaining). 50% already used a different company or no longer need the work (380 remaining). 30% won’t let you through to talk to a decision maker, or they never get back to you (266 remaining). 80% won’t like your price, won’t think your company is the right fit, won’t bite hard on your pitch (52 remaining). By the end of that list, you may actually close 8-15 deals from that initial thousand. Congrats! You got 11 customers that moved to a service contract and pay as they should – six might have even left you a good review! But what about ROI? What did the leads cost you? Did you pay $50 a lead when it all shakes out – the total cost of all the lead list divided by 11 customers? But that wasn’t the total cost! What did you pay your support staff to make more than 1,000 phone calls – how many hours was that? Even worse – did YOU make all those calls? Yikes. Your profit margin on those 11 leads better be enormous to cover all that expense.

EIGHT: LET THE LEADS FLOW TO YOU NATURALLY.

You can find your best customers yourself. Develop your social media networks, connect in your community, boost your brand awareness and visibility, create lead generation campaigns, and produce lead magnets. The big idea: let people see exactly who you are and the quality you bring. Capture your leads through your systems, and then converting GREAT leads will happen naturally.

Instead of attempting to purchase batched leads from self-claimed marketing companies, let us help you develop your own way to get your brand noticed and capture your own quality leads. Schedule a time to see if we are a good fit for you!

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