Are Your Sales Leads Secure?
Chances are you recently had a conversation like this:
“I think Bob’s thinking of leaving.”
“Really? Where is he going?”
maybe he is going to do this on his own. And, I think he is also taking leads.”
Dealing with Sales Lead Theft
Are your former or future former employees stealing your expensive leads? You undoubtedly mentioned you have a “feeling” about one or two of your salespeople–they are, as we speak, probably downloading your lead lists. Then the questions begin, “Mr. Lead Manager, are you tracking their behavior or reporting on their exports? Are you searching for their briefcase before going home? Maybe even wiping their brains so they don’t memorize even one phone number?”
Paranoia over lead theft can keep you needlessly awake at night. In reality, the only time you should really be concerned is if someone erases your entire lead management database, rendering you without leads. Short of that, no matter who took them, they are still your leads too! In fact, if you are building your brand appropriately, you should never lose a wink of sleep.
Are They Stealing Leads or Continuing Relationships?
First, let’s look at behavior. As sales organizations, we ask our people to create relationships and to be the face of our organization. We impute a culture that we want to be communicated to home service leads, we standardize our sales process so that we are all driving them to the same place–a closing. If we could get our salespeople to attend bar mitzvahs of their potential clients’ son we would gladly pay for the gift! Yet, once a salesperson leaves we expect them to completely drop any relationships made under our employ. Unrealistic? Yes. Common? Extremely.
We view our exclusive real estate leads as gold, and anyone daring to walk out the door with our treasure should be prepared to walk the plank. But why? Fear, not confidence. It’s because we somehow feel that as long as we control the leads, we will get the business.
5 Steps to Combat Sales Lead Theft
Here’s the fact: employees will leave. They WILL take deals that they cultivated while under your watch, with leads YOU paid for. But, here is the hard pill to swallow, they did what you asked them to do–they built a relationship. They certainly should give the business to someone else in the company as they left. But, assume they won’t and implement your strategy to combat lead theft.
1) An employee leaving creates a golden opportunity for your team to speak with every single lead in the departing person’s pipeline. Aren’t we always looking for a reason to make relevant contact with our potential clients? Imagine, if everyone in the organization the day an employee left, were to call those leads and say “Hi Mrs. Smith. This is Jim from ABC Real Estate Lead Providers. Your consumer experience is important to us and I wanted to let you know that the agent you have been working with has left the company but I am going to make sure we do not lose any continuity. Let’s discuss your current situation so I have everything up to date…” Chances are good the client (who doesn’t particularly care about your office politics) will tell you whether or not they are still working with the agent who left, giving you an even better understanding of what you need to do.
2) An agent taking a lead when they leave is no different from the 3 other companies that bought the lead the same time you did, or the 30 agencies that bought it as a trigger after you pulled their credit. Understand how to sell your business, not just sell against the competition. If all you are doing is selling against the competition, then you will spend all of your time trying to sniff out who the competition is and what they are doing. Focus on the pipeline and understand their needs and you won’t have to figure out what everyone else is trying to do.
3) Build your brand! Quicken Loans does an outstanding job of being a company that clients want to work with. I may like Joe, but chances are, if Joe leaves, I am still working with Quicken because I trust the brand and assume that everyone there is a Joe. So build who YOU are and who your company is. This is your differentiator so that when an employee takes names upon exiting, the lead providers are simply waiting for the next salesperson from your organization to take care of them. Because they trust your brand.
4) Nurture your leads. Stop thinking this is 21-First century and the only GOOD lead is a fresh lead. Maybe an employee takes leads and even closes them. But be the one to get their refi leads business next October. Be the one to rewrite their policy in 15 months because they got to know you and trust you as you nurtured the lead. Don’t look at the race as over this month. Stay in better contact with your leads than anyone else, be more relevant than anyone, and make them trust you so that when your ex-employee has long since forgotten about Mrs. Smith, you are selling her a car for the third grandson.
5) Lastly, close them! Nothing stops the problem of lead theft and security faster than a good closing. The hottest leads in the house when an employee leaves should be their pipeline. Leave no excuse why the ex-employee would want those names–they are all at the closing table.
So, the next time a salesperson leaves with a list of names (and they will!), look at the opportunity it creates. Can you imagine building sales contests around these newfound pipelines? Have the Lead Manager distribute the leads and see how many you can close in one day. But, above all, don’t focus on trying to stop the salesperson through elaborate “catch me if you can” schemes or FBI raids. Do what you have always done–SELL. It is always your BEST defense.
Author Bio: Andrew Thomas is a Content Marketer, Blogger, Best Lead Providers, and Real Estate Discount Broker. He is a professional storyteller at Zipbrands.com
He has studied the Real Estate Lead Programs Business for years. He enjoys connecting with people, keeping updated with the latest in the field of Real Estate and Business, etc. He has also discovered great shortcuts that can help investors make better decisions when it comes to buying and selling. His work across multiple disciplines broadly addresses narratives of human experience. You can also follow him on facebook.