Buying Business Leads – an Editorial

So you want to gain exposure, find out who is buying what, get the inside scoop before everyone else does. You proceed to purchase several hundred, even thousand, leads that you “researched” and intend to market your offerings via cold calling, direct mail, email marketing, etc. What you didn’t research is the fact you just paid for leads that you could have found yourself, custom-fit to your product or service; the money you just skillfully blew on a list of people you don’t know could have been driven towards people you do. And you didn’t realize it.

for sale
photo credit: the sea the sea

A few days ago, a friend of mine had asked me if he knew people that would be interested in buying his scooter so that he could purchase another one. Not being astute in the field of various conveyances such as 125cc scooters, I proceeded to tell him that I would keep my ears and eyes open. I ended up making a few calls for him, gave him some good leads (word of opportunity), and he eventually sold it. He received the desired end results, and he didn’t have to go far to obtain the lead (again, word to watch).

I have scoured the internet over the years. I’ve completed my homework on companies that offer leads, paid leads, lead generation, mailing lists, etc. Here is the results of my findings; I hope you take heed to this information before you decide that buying ‘quality leads’ is your goal.

Free Leads Can Be Found Yourself.

You have a product; say, an electric cigarette lighter. You have set aside marketing dollars to find people that you feel would be interested in this (notice – this is money spent correctly) – more than likely cigarette or cigar smokers. How do you find them? Going door to door is time-consuming, and could get you bitten by a family dog. You know people smoke, so what is the best place to start? Smoke shops. Smoking areas of restaurants. And yes, your local yellow pages. Because developing a local brand will render revenue that will allow you to go national.

Call, or send a mailing, to every number in the yellow pages business section that you feel would be relevant to cigarette lighters. Set up appointments with the managers to see if you could put out a display, allowing an “x” amount of the revenue to be given to the store owner or company. You have now made leads and contacts.

Now ‘Billy Bob’, who smokes 2 packs a day, sees these lighters and notices he needs one. He buys one and brings it home. During a conversation with another one of his smoker buddies, he showcases his lighter before lighting his smoke. His friend takes notice and likes it, asking where he can get one. He buys one. So now, you have made a network contact.

‘Archaic’ Marketing Never Died – We Shied

Yes, you may think this is prehistoric. But consider this: people are not going to stop talking to each other; it is who we are as living organisms. Don’t you want them to talk about your product? Also, not everyone in areas (in Ebonics, we call this B.F.E) unreachable are going to be Tweeting, Blogging, or Facebook posting.

business networking
photo credit: Oli Studholme

These are the people that need your product or service yet have very little time, or capability, due to the fact they: a) have no internet access, b) could care less about internet access because they are too busy working or c) have a disability that prevents such interaction. Does this rule them out? Are these people marketable? I know so. It takes finding leads through a network in a city, usually found at any town gossip area such as a diner, barber shop, festival.

And this concept of lead generation can apply to any field, niche, and genre – however you care to put it.

Buying Leads Is a Redundancy

Why would you spend $5, $10, or more dollars buying the name and address of a person/group simply to throw that money right out the window? Your traditional lead databases are leads, generated by others with leads, found by people that search for leads…and endless chain of money and lead passing.

In the case of buying quality mortgage leads (quality is usually a word of attraction – nothing more), consider this: If you are a business that relies on mortgage refi’s, new home buyers and the likes, and you scour the net to get ‘live transfers’ streamed to you for calling, what chance do you think exists that as quickly as you get the lead, so did 20 other people? If and when a couple, or individual, becomes ready to make that jump into the world of home buying, the person(s) will first look towards their bank. Then, flip through their phone book.

Then they will ask their friends who they used. Once exhausted, they will scour the internet, looking for a competitive rate from a mortgage company or bank. Then they will sit down, crunch quotes, and go with a company that is reputable, closes quick and cost effective, then they are done. Once time for the refinance, the cycle will begin again.

In Closing: Mandatory Time Wasting?

Do not waste the time or effort in attempting to publicize your leads for sale. They were aged the day you got them, and as much as you want to believe you have a hot, fresh off the press lead, you don’t. Get over it. When people are ready to purchase a home, and they need to find you – they will find you. This falls into a marketing category – if you have marketed your business effectively, then you wouldn’t have the need to buy leads – the leads would find you!

These are more than facts – it’s reality. Buying leads is strikingly similar to pumping premium gas into a tank with a gaping hole.

Think about it. Seriously. Put two and two together, then before you waste your time on lists, leads, etc., realize what you can do on your own to find leads; you will see that the equation falls back to the good old fashioned ways of harvesting buyers.

About the Author: Roger Kowalewski is a freelance writer and entrepeneur from Indiana. You can follow him on Google+.