There are 2 ways leads are delivered. Real time or lagged.
Real time leads are usually internet generated but not always. You can also have print ads (low tech) that direct the prospect to a phone number, web site, or both.
Real time leads can also be generated face to face via cold calling or seminars.
Lagged leads require the prospect to take some kind of action such as completing a request card and mailing it to the solicitor.
Lagged leads can work but they are not (IMO
) as effective as they once were. The mortgage protection market still relies on mail out - reply cards. So does much of the senior market (med supps, final expense, etc.)
If you are going to work real time leads there are two ways to respond. Immediate or lagged.
This is what works for me. Your situation may be different.
Most of my leads are real time, internet shared leads but I do have other sources as well.
I use two sources for internet leads. One has good volume but maintains high quality. The other is very low volume but extremely high quality.
My high volume lead broker has an auto-responder. The low volume one does not.
I cannot compete with the boiler rooms who are almost always the first in the door with an immediate phone call so I give my prospects a chance to recuperate from the onslaught of calls. If someone wants to buy on the spot after a 10 minute pitch then they are not the kind of client I want. If they buy that quickly they will just as easily switch to someone else who comes along with a better pitch.
My real time leads get 3 things from me they won't get from anyone else.
1) An immediate email response that explains (almost prophetically) what has happened as soon as they hit the submit button, and what they can expect from the high pressure pitch. I also seek to distance myself from the others who are desperate to make an immediate sale & move on to the next fish.
2) They get a quote with 5 - 10 plans and the ability to run their own quotes on most of the top carriers with side by side comparisons. They are also provided links to other sites where they can see other plans that are not in my Quotit software. The cover letter for the proposal invites them to look at plans on their own but also cautions them about quoted vs final underwritten rates.
3) The last thing is a personal phone call that usually comes 2 - 3 days after they submitted their request. This wont work for everyone, but is suits my style. By the time I call they have received at least 2 emails introducing me. When I call it is more like a friend than a salesman. If I do not get to speak to the person on my first call I leave a short, but detailed message. My second call, later that day is designed to create a sense of urgency while offering a chance to "air their beef" about their current plan. If I don't get them after 6 or 7 calls over a weeks time their info is either shredded or filed away for inclusion in my newsletter.
My ROI is 5:1 or better. I write 2 - 3 apps per week on average and spread my business over 5 different carriers.