Lead generation industry should move with the times
Pete Mugleston (pictured) is managing director of Online Mortgage Advisor
Where do you get your business? Word of mouth? Repeat customers? Advertising?
For many there is a spread across various channels, with many new or fast-growing firms either taking to their own costly PPC campaigns or buying enquiries online to feed their newly recruited and often newly qualified brokers.
Greater activity online has caused the cost per acquisition (CPAs) to rise for all manner of competitive terms, which is a barrier of entry for many, and has been the demise of several new tech firms in recent months who underestimated it.
When brokers meet what can often be trickier customers to handle, success stories are harder to come by – creating an increasingly difficult challenge for firms to monetise their enquiries at the back end.
Why? Because the profile of the ‘average’ consumer has changed. In short, there’s no such thing as average anymore. We’re all living, working and spending differently. We have different forms of income, more complex credit profiles, more complicated needs.
Providing access to the right advice has never been more relevant, from a customer and commercial standpoint.
As an adviser, if you accept a customer who could have any number of different considerations and requirements,you have to research the whole market every time on criteria and policy and have back and forth with customers fishing for more info you didn’t know you needed.
If, however, you work with customers of a certain type regularly, you already know what to ask, what information and documents you need, how to help and which lenders will consider them, so the time to convert is far less. If you are the expert, outcomes for customers (and brokers) are much better.
Traditional models of selling “leads” to the highest bidder created a culture of reward for volume over quality, and did little to serve brokers, or indeed those at the heart of every sale, “customers”.
In today’s market, lead generators have a key role to play in helping, sometimes the most vulnerable customers, find a willing and skilled broker who is best placed to give the advice they need, rather than selling their data to a broker who pays the most.
A model, where the needs of the consumer and the experience of the broker are both considered because it’s clear, some leads are only as good as the adviser – in the wrong hands, an incredible opportunity looks worthless, and a creditworthy customer is rejected.
The new model for lead generation, we believe, is matching the types of customer with the skills of the broker.
Specialist knowledge is the future of the industry, and given the ever-increasing threat of automation that will continue to grow in mainstream markets, the lead generation sector must adapt.