The Best Online Leads – Exclusive, Inbound and High-Quality

So, leads are kind of what we do here at Client Source. We are lead generation specialists.

Not the low-quality, shared kind you get with well-known lead-selling services (you know who they are — I’m not getting sued here! ;)), or the text leads you might get from small niche services here and there.

We deliver the best leads in the industry at half-price compared to our competitors.

But, there’s a lot of confusion out there about leads, so we wanted to spend some time here to set the record straight.

If you’ve come here looking for “leads online” or “lead generation services”, chances are, you know what leads are.

But chances are, you could use a primer on the different attributes your leads may have, and the different possible sources.

Typical Attributes of Online Leads

There are two principal dimensions that really matter:

  • Shared vs. exclusive
  • Lead “temperature”: hot vs. warm / cold.
  • Lead quality (apart from hot / cold)

First, shared vs. exclusive leads

What is it: suppose someone out there is looking for a water damage solution, ASAP, and I know this. I can sell this information in the form of a “lead” to companies able to perform the service. Now, I can sell this info to just one long-term partner, or to 5-10-15 companies.

This makes an enormous difference that isn’t adequately “priced in” when the leads are purchased. Mathematically, if I sell the info to 10 contractors, 9 out of 10 of them are guaranteed not to get the job. And yet, the price of shared leads is not 1/10 the price of exclusive leads — far from it. In fact, most of the time the price of shared leads is 1/2-1/3 the price of exclusive leads — when they are 1/5-1/10 the value — meaning shared leads are vastly overpriced in the marketplace, and exclusive leads are underpriced. The reason for this is, most contractors don’t have the time to really run the math on their client acquisition numbers, and the details of how many contractors a lead is shared with isn’t truly publicly available. This is the reason for so many contractors’ frustrations with shared leads — they bleed money, but deliver value only for the most commercially aggressive contractors able to “pounce” instantly and aggressively on the leads they receive.

People have become so accustomed to services such as HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack that most people just assumed all leads are shared. This is not so. The largest sellers of exclusive leads are Google, Bing, Yelp, and similar services — however they tend to sell “clicks” or “calls” rather than “leads”, which is truly not the same thing. But nevertheless, because they’re exclusive, generally speaking you will get a much better deal.

Now, lead generation services have an obvious incentive to sell whatever leads they get to multiple contractors — because it’s extra profit for them at no cost, since how many contractors the lead is sold to doesn’t fully get “priced in”. The extra profits are then reinvested into hyper-aggressive marketing and cold-call sales. And, any time a lead is a web form lead, it is impossible to resist the temptation to sell that lead multiple times. However, a phone lead by definition cannot be sold to more than one contractor, so it is exclusive by definition. Therefore, phone leads tend to be the only exclusive leads that are available, whereas all non-phone leads tend to be shared.

Now, lead “temperature”

Lead temperature has to do with the prospect’s buyer intent, and ultimately this boils down to the time factor.

If I need a plumber and I call the plumber Bob that I know from prior engagements, I am a “hot lead” — I’m ready to engage his services right them and there. Now, if Bob can’t service me because he’s busy, but then passes along my information to his competitor Joe — but it takes him 20 minutes to do this — I become a “warm” / “lukewarm” lead for Joe, because it’s quite likely that by that time I’ve called a few other contractors. But there’s still a good chance to get the job. Now, if Joe waits until the following business day to call me back, I’ve fully gone “cold“, because by that point I very likely engaged someone else to solve my problem.

Studies repeatedly show that leads deteriorate EXTREMELY rapidly — think minutes, not hours. A lead loses 80-90% of its temperature within just 5-10 minutes.

For this reason, if you rely on web forms for some of your leads, it makes sense to deploy special software that actually immediately dials the lead by phone the moment he/she submits their web form (yes, such software exists, it isn’t difficult). This way, the lead never has a change to grow cold.

Generally speaking, an inbound phone is the only true form of a “hot lead”. Dialing back on a web form lead within 1 minute would also be a hot lead, but you truly must dial within a minute. Most web form leads are by definition “warm” leads, and that’s assuming you can get to them within 20-30 minutes or less. If you respond within a day, the lead has gone fully cold by then.

For this reason, obviously, inbound phone leads (such as what you would get with Google Ads or with Client Source’s services).

Lead quality

Now, this is a somewhat complex matter vs. the prior two points, but please bear with us.

Let’s say we have two people, Aaron and Bruce, both of whom have a leaky roof.

  • Aaron is a busy executive and needs the job done right by a reputable contractor he/she trusts and has a rapport with. He does not have time to speak with 10 different contractors. He will go on Google, find the contractor that’s #1-2 in the results and has great reviews, appears reputable, have a conversation. And that will be that. If the price seems unreasonable, he/she may get some competing quotes, just to check if he’s being charged market rates. But as long as he’s getting a reputable service at market rates, he is happy. He chooses based on reputation.
  • Bruce, by contrast, is a stickler. He MUST make sure he is getting the very best deal, so he will get quotes from 5-10 different contractors. He will ask each of them for a free assessment, and choose the one with the lowest price. And then likely not go along with any additional service suggestions, because frankly, he’s a penny-pincher. He chooses based on price.

Aaron is likely to go on Google or Yelp to find a “reputable” business or two, call those, get quotes, and go along with the one he likes better. He is not likely to engage 10 contractors for quotes because frankly, he does not have time for that, and because he can’t really vet 10 contractors in terms of their reputations.

Bruce is likely to source his contractors through a shared lead service such as Thumbtack, where he knows he only needs to submit one form, and he’ll get callbacks from 5-10 contractors. With some of these services, the service itself will even try to suggest the price the service should be worth (!).

Do you begin to see how Aaron would likely be a better client than Bruce would?

Aaron is the type of client you would get with an exclusive lead generation service such as ours, whereas Bruce is the type of client that’s likely to use shared-lead services.

We at Client Source are lead generation specialists.

We hope by now the picture is emerging that exclusive inbound phone call leads are the way to go (hot, high-quality, exclusive), whereas shared leads generally are not (cold, low-quality, non-exclusive).

Fortunately, that’s exactly what we do here at Client Source.

Let’s have a conversation about how we can help your business grow.

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