Some years ago, like 7 or 8 years, I tried doing some on line trading of stocks. After a couple of months it was obvious I was horrible at it so I hung up my trading software and haven’t been back. To this day I still get calls from stock brokers who always claimed we talked last year about such and such a stock.
The life insurance business has an abominable twin sister to that, online quote websites. They’ve got all of the keywords covered so that no matter if you just type in life insurance quotes or life insurance quotes double bypass prostate cancer gestational diabetes, somewhere on the first page will be one or more of the quote engines promising free life insurance quotes. All you have to do is type in your basic health information, phone number and email address and they promise to have an agent contact you that can help you with your quest to buy life insurance.
That would be really cool if 1. The agent that called was a knowledgeable independent agent and 2. Only one called. Unless it is obvious that the site is a one agent or small agency site the chances are they are generating life insurance leads for sale. 10 years ago you were pretty much guaranteed that at least you could count on number 2. Leads back then used to cost between $15 and $30 and the website sold it to one agent. So, as it should be, you would get a call from only one agent who would review your information with you and provide quotes and an opportunity to apply if you liked what you heard. Then companies figured out that, just in case the first agent didn’t get the job done within a few weeks, they would sell your lead to a few more agents. So, even if you were taken care of by the first agent, after a few weeks you would start getting more calls.
Frankly I think evolution per Darwin is nonsense, but evolution in business is real and depending on if you are the one making the money or spending it, you might consider it de-evolution. As these website evolved they no longer felt the need to give anyone an exclusive lead even if it was only for a short while. 7 or 8 years ago they started selling what they called 3 agent leads. They had a list of agents or agencies that wanted and had paid for leads, and as soon as the website produced one it was emailed out to all three agents instantly. As you can imagine, those of us who won that battle were those who called as soon as the email hit the inbox. If you were the first to call you had the best chance of working with the client because you could explain to them that they were about to get two more calls and if they didn’t want to juggle three agents they could just tell the next two they weren’t interested.
It has now evolved to the point where companies will sell leads to 10 or more agents and agencies and it has become so brutal that some of the large agencies have computer dialing systems so that when a lead comes in the phone is already dialed and ringing on the other end. And then there are at least nine more waiting their turn. When it went beyond three agents, which was abusive enough, I never purchased another lead. If I had not been able to generate leads from this blog I would have rather left the business than been part of the game. It wasn’t any fun talking to a customer who was being beat to death and I really felt bad for the customers. Just to give you an idea how bad it can be, I worked for a large on line agency a long time ago and when we got a lead it had to be called 50 times before we could close it out. So if even 2 of those 10 were big agencies that could mean a customer easily getting over 100 calls. It had reached the level of stupid.
Now, if you are reading this blog, and are looking for life insurance you should know that if you inquire, by call or email, you will talk to me or my office manager and if you don’t go push any other buttons, you won’t hear from anyone else. Each lead I get means someone has read something that has given them hope in their quest for life insurance. The chances of you getting that by hitting one of the 10 agent lead buttons is almost zero. Every agent just starting in the business is buying those leads and they don’t know anything about impaired risk life insurance underwriting. Every mega agency is processing those leads and they don’t have the time or patience to process your inquiry correctly.
Bottom line. I’m sorry on behalf of an industry that for the most part has gone down the crapper. There are still agents out there who have integrity and care about you and your business and it’s not too hard to find them. We’re the ones whose key words lead to an actual article about that subject. An article that actually answers questions. We’re the ones that answer our own phones and do our own followups. 1. If there isn’t the name of the agent on a website, don’t go there. Selectquote is not an agent. 2. If they answer their phone and talk more than listen, excuse yourself and go somewhere else and 3. If they don’t have discernible knowledge about your health issue, look further. If you have any questions or if I can help in some way to remove you from the internet mess you got into, call or email directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.