What to Ask Lead Generation Companies Before You Sign Up
By Dylan Kuff
A good lead generator can be a great business partner; a bad one can cost you time, money and aggravation. AGRR magazine talked to several lead providers and customers about what to look for in online lead generation companies (LGCs). We developed a list of questions you’ll want answered before signing on with any of them. So, with apologies to pop music hits of the 70s, here’s what you’ll want to know.
What’s in a Lead?
One man’s lead is another man’s garbage. Make sure you know what your LGC will provide as part of the lead. Does it include full name, address, phone and email? How about the car’s make and model or even VIN? Can you discern between price shoppers and those looking for immediate service?
And what happens if the info you are provided is not good, say the phone number doesn’t work or the email kicks back? Will the LGC you are working with provide a refund or credit you for future work?
Time is on Your Side, Yes It Is
Will you know the time the lead arrived at the LGC? Statistics show a direct relationship between the length of time from the lead generation and the percentage of booked jobs. In other words, the faster you respond to a lead, the higher the likelihood of converting it into a sale. Knowing how long a lead has been in a queue helps you know where to focus your efforts.
Whose Lead is it, Anyway?
If you have ever signed up for a worker through Thumbtack or Home Advisor, you know that your name has been forwarded to multiple service providers. If you are buying leads, you will want to know if the lead you have purchased is yours exclusively or if it has been forwarded to multiple auto glass shops.
Start at the Very Beginning, A Very Good Place to Start
Just as you want to know how many other auto glass shops are receiving the same lead from the LGC, you will want to know the origin of the leads. Where do they come from? Are they generated by a first-party website, app or social media? Were they bought from another LGC or via pay-per-click? In other words, has the lead come right from the consumer to your LGC to you or passed through several resellers before it got to you?
Anyway You Want It, Is That the Way You Get It?
Can you define the locations where you want to do work (down to the zip code) and/or the type of work you want and only receive leads from those? Can you reduce your service area or stop receiving leads on nights, weekends or when you are short on installers? Can you start those areas back up quickly?
“Auto glass shops may have a specific service area or limited geographical reach,” says Robert Hoaglum, the founder of an auto glass lead generation company based in Hawaii. “Pay-per-click marketing often targets a broader audience, making it challenging to focus solely on the desired customer base.”
Stiff Competition Can Be a Cheap Trick
You don’t want to pay anyone for work you would have gotten anyway. Do some research to find out if the customer you got from the LGC was aware of you before this work. The likelihood that they did is very low, or they would have called you themselves. It never hurts to check for the cannibalization of your leads.
Built by Association
Has your LGC formed associations and partnerships with other entities that will benefit you? Do they offer adjunct or add-on services that provide advantages?
“We chose our LGC partner carefully,” says Mark Haeck of Mainstreet™ Computers. “We offer some services ourselves and others in partnership with quality providers.”
Can You Have It Your Way?
Getting a lead via email does no good when you can’t look at your email for a few hours. Does your LGS offer different ways to contact you depending on your needs and time of day? Can they text you during business hours, phone you or email you at night? In short, can they provide the leads using your preferred communication method?
Money, Get Away
Pink Floyd may have had it right, but you can’t escape pricing in the auto glass industry. Does your LGC offer show costs to potential customers, and if so, how are they determined? Can you set your own prices? Can you provide that pricing as percentages of NAGS or by loading your own pricing lists? Are your prices confidential?
Can You Stay or Can You Go?
Does the LGC require a contract, or can you join or leave as you please? “Most reputable companies do not require contracts,” says Daniel Snow, vice president of the auto glass LGC called Glass.com®. “Companies that deliver quality leads know their strength is in those leads. They don’t try to tie you up.”
You Don’t Own Me—Or Maybe You Do?
Who owns your LGC? Is it owned by those who understand the auto glass industry? Can you speak with an actual person who represents the company, or is everything done via email, text and chat? What safeguards are in place to make sure your data remains confidential?
Dylan Kuff is a freelance writer based in Central Virginia specializing in digital media. Though not born in the seventies, Dylan still enjoys its music.
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