One of my first businesses, back in 2003, was one of the UK’s leading life insurance lead generators.

Back then, things worked differently. We were paid a commission, which was split based on policies sold by the brokers we sold to.

We only earned if brokers converted our leads.

The work depended entirely on our partnership with the brokers. If we sent poor quality leads, no one earned anything.

It was in our interests to supply the best leads we could

Things worked well at first, because we’d only supply leads to brokers we knew would convert quality business. And they’d only work with lead generators who supplied quality leads. It kept the system balanced.

But the lead generation space changed.

Rather than splitting the commission, lead generators began charging per lead.

The lead generators could now risk selling leads to anyone who would pay.

Several other distributors popped up, since it was much easier to start a brokerage… and because you could buy leads from anywhere!

(This also raised lead prices artificially, as very few brokers were factoring in the long-term effect of clawback in their initial marketing cost. A problem that remains even today.)

With payment per lead, lead quality dropped

Suddenly, lead generators could “cook up” their own lead supplies to carve a better margin for themselves.

They put in a certain number of their poor lead quality sources, which they made more margin on, while making sure there are “just enough” good-quality leads for customers to keep buying.

Lead generators look after their big partners the best.

As a smaller buyer, the law of averages rarely plays out in your favour. You might see big changes in the conversion and quality of your leads. One moment, you may think the leads are great, and the very next minute, they’ll fall right through the floor. You’ll be constantly wondering what you’re doing wrong!

So how can you evenly distribute your risk and gain more control?

  1. Lead Generators
    If they’re good, they should be willing to work with you. Ask them to break down their supply on a source basis, so that while you may not have knowledge of the name of the source, you can at least break down their supply into management elements and cut off the poorly performing sources.
    If they refuse to work with you, then initiate dialogue with other distributors using them. You’ll find that discussing as a group makes it much easier to combat the sales patter used by the lead generator.
    Distribute your risk. Always use more than one lead generator.
  2. Direct PPC
    Even if in small amounts, there are some magic pockets that you can find which will generate healthy returns. They’ll look really expensive, at first, but will typically convert better and result in lower clawback. You just need to look in the right places and be patient. It is also critical that you measure your Marketing ROI and Clawback accurately in order for this to work.
  3. Automated Marketing
    If implemented correctly, automated marketing and cross-selling techniques for your “unsold to” customer base can lead to more than 10% additional revenue from your business at a minimal cost.
    It depends on the content, timing, and method of communication applied to attract the unsold customer to get into your sales journey in the way that’s right for them.
  4. Native Advertising
    Native ad networks, such as Taboola and Outbrain, operate ads across most mainstream media using “content marketing” to generate leads. These are typically lower value, in the beginning, but produce a good ROI when directed first towards a warm up telephony team as opposed to directly towards more expensive sales people.
  5. Trust Referrals
    Trusts are a great way to maximise the number of possible referrals from every life insurance policy you sell while also greatly improving your clawback. The key is to use an automated system to do it.


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