When They Offer Semi-Exclusive “Real-Time” Leads…Watch Out!

If you have been in the Alternative Funding Industry for a while you may have come across some ‘Lead Generation’ Companies that offer Semi-Exclusive Leads.  A Semi-Exclusive Lead is where a Company will sell you “Leads” at a fraction of the typical costs as the lead will be sold to at least (2) different companies simultaneously.  There are a myriad of things that are wrong with this model (for you, not them).  You will always pay a price to go head to head with your competitors.  This is true whether you run Paid Ads with Google or Social Media Platforms such as Facebook.  However, when you are hiring a Lead Generation Company to supply leads for you then your time, money, and morale is best spent on Exclusive Leads.

Now, one may argue that they have purchased Semi-Exclusive Leads past time with some success.  I would counter that to find out what the Contact Rate, Responsiveness, Conversions, and Cost Per Acquisition are overall.

If you are purchasing Semi-Exclusive Leads from a company you are actually bailing them out of inevitable issues such as Contact Rate Issues, Lead Already Receiving Funding, and Creating a Frustrated Prospective Borrower because by the time you get to them, they will catch on quick that there information is being sold.  This of course if the the Leads are actually even generated in Real-Time.  In fact, it is important to find out if the Lead Generation Company has the Prospective Borrowers expressed Opt-In Status that their information will be shared with multiple parties.  Find out if the company generating these has LeadiD implemented or provide an IP Address, Search Phrases, or other Characteristics as to how that lead came in.

Within the Alternative Lending Industry there is actually somewhat of marketplace of Pop Up Shops and Lead Companies that actually are Business Loan Brokers as well.  Many of these Pop Up Shops offer “Semi-Exclusive” Leads and offloading the cost to generate their leads right on to you.  You absolutely should know the names of the people with whom are behind the scenes of the Lead Generation Company.  Beware of Fake Names and Aliases also.  Do a simple google search on the Owners of the company if possible.  Look into them a bit.  Your Lead Generation Partnership should not be looked at as a one-time thing.  If you are investing in a third-party to purchase leads, you should perform due diligence to understand who you are working with as your partnerships should be entered with consideration of partnering up long-term.  Try to identify how long that company has been around.  One way of many to check is a simple “Who Is” check on their Domain.  Otherwise if you keep bouncing around from Lead Provider to Lead Provider because you didn’t do the proper vetting, you are going to burn a lot of cash.  Perform your due diligence.

Let me further explain….If you are dealing with a Lead Company while purchasing Semi-Exclusive Leads, you are paying “X” amount per lead (Most Likely 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 of the cost) versus a Standard Real-Time Business Loan Lead Cost.  If that Lead Company is also operated by Business Loan Broker(s) what they may be doing is passing the actual lead acquisition cost on to their customers while giving them first crack at the lead. Subsequently sending the “non-qualified” or “less than quality” leads to their customers.

We have always been candid and realists with our customers because when these other unscrupulous “lead generators” do wrong by their customers, this gives the entire Lead Generation Industry a black eye.   The Good News here is that all of these issues can be easily avoidable  if you simply ask the right questions and conduct some vetting.  Learn More about Questions to Ask Your Prospective Lead Vendor.  When you are outsourcing your marketing and lead generation efforts your main concerns should be about processes and quality.  Lastly, Lead Pricing should be a consideration, but not the core factor in your decision making.

In closing, this article is not intended to deter you from other companies but rather to increase awareness.   There are Lead Generation Companies that deploy a  Successful Semi-Exclusive Distribution Model and do so as a result of  over-or-under lead production or even volatile lead buyers.  However, if the operators of the company are also Business Loan Brokers or you are unable to find out who actually Owns the company, you should be careful.