Here are five key questions to ask before buying personal injury leads – and the red flags you want to listen for in the answers.
Anytime you’re buying personal injury leads from lead generation company, there are certain questions you want to ask up front to make sure that you’re working with a reputable company and giving yourself the best chance of success and of getting the highest quality leads you can possibly get. Because frankly, there is some shady people out there and the lead generation business is certainly no different.
What Questions Should You Ask Before Buying Personal Injury Leads?
So, here are five important questions to ask any potential lead generation company you’re thinking of working with, as well as a little bit of what you might want to hear and want to listen for in terms of both red flags and in terms of the company you probably do want to work with to help you generate personal injury leads.
Question #1: How are Your Personal Injury Leads Generated?
You’re going to get a lot answers to this question. Keep in mind that the people that work at these companies don’t necessarily want, or need, to get into proprietary information or the real technical aspects of how their leads are generated. That said, they should be able to give you a relatively clear, concise, understandable answer and that answer should generally be either search engine based or potentially television or radio with a lot of phone screening on the other end.
What you really want to get to is, are you generating these yourself, and if so what is the web property that you’re sending traffic to, and what are the methods of getting traffic to your website that you use. One small exception to this – a good Facebook ad strategy can work. It’s generally not going to convert as well as search and obviously, this also depends somewhat on what you’re willing to do in terms of sorting through bad leads, what you want to spend on your leads and things like that.
A lot of the law firms and attorneys that call us asking about buying personal injury leads ask the wrong questions – or at least not the right ones. They usually ask how much per lead, how many leads/cases per month, what happens if I don’t sign a case, what’s your return policy, and what’s your conversion rate.
It’s not all that often, surprisingly, that they’ll ask… “where are these leads generated?” And the majority of the people who do, will typically accept a one word answer (that word is usually “online” or “digitally”), without digging any deeper. Unfortunately too many people will just accept an overly vague and simplistic answer – when this is a question worth digging into.
The reason why more law firms should ask this, is that it really does separate who is full of shit from who’s doing an actual good job of generating real opportunities for your law firm to sign more personal injury cases. That’s a conversation we like having.
So, if/when you do ask about how the leads are generated, and you do get a simple one word answer, like they’re generated online or they’re generated digitally; dig into that question.
Any lead gen company worth their salt should be able to show you some organic search terms that their website ranks for at a minimum, and preferably some sort of showing where their traffic comes from, ads they are running, etc.
Chances are, if they can’t show you that, they’re probably not going to be sending you very good leads. That’s not to say they’re scamming you or they’re not providing what they say they’re going to provide, but not all leads, particularly when you’re talking about something as refined and esoteric as personal injury leads, are created equal.
Understanding that it would probably be hypocritical to call out other lead gen companies for lack of transparency, then not be transparent ourselves… here’s a link to the website where we generate our auto accident leads, https://lawsuitinfocenter.com. For anyone who asked, we can provide screenshots of our analytics showing that roughly 60% of our traffic is organic search, over 20% is paid search, and the final 15%-20% all other traffic combined. And here are a few searches where we are currently ranking organically in positions 1-5:
- T-Bone car accident settlement
- Average semi truck accident settlement
- How much is a rear end accident worth
- What to expect after being rear ended
- Average whiplash settlement
- Passenger in car accident settlement
- Average settlement for head on collision
- Compensation for death in car accident
- Average motorcycle accident settlement
Essentially, there’s only one reason lead generation companies will not show you where their traffic comes from… Put simply, they don’t want you to see. Here’s what they more than likely don’t want you to see.
Assuming you don’t want to sort through a hundred crappy leads in order to get to one potentially good case; I’ll say that the two acceptable answers to that question would be Facebook and search engines. So, you want to hear things like Google, Bing etc.
Red Flags To Watch Out For:
If they say email or they say traffic partners or they say we put our ads on a network of sites and things of that nature; usually that’s going to be a bit of a red flag. If ever say the word Co reg or incentive traffic, that’s definitely a red flag if they say anything about traffic partners or network partners; things of that nature. Usually that’s an indication that these people are buying in cheap traffic, a lot of times incentive traffic. So, you fill out this survey and answer a bunch of questions and we’ll give you a free gift card… in my experience, usually those people are not very serious about speaking to an attorney about their car accident. These are worth digging deeper into, so let’s take a look at how some of these leads are generated, and what to avoid before buying personal injury leads generated from one of these sources:
Affiliate marketing sounds fantastic to the legal lead generation business owner – at first…. you’re only selling when somebody comes in and fills out a form and meets criteria – there’s no risk, no conversion data or click through rates to stress out over – it’s simple. And this isn’t to say that affiliate marketing doesn’t work for certain products or leads, or that there aren’t reputable affiliates and affiliate networks out there… certainly there are.
The problem is, is affiliates are anonymous in most cases because it’s done through networks, so there’s no accountability, no relationship, and no buy in for the product their promoting. And number two, most don’t understand personal injury marketing (or bar association non-solicitation rules) at all. The combination of this usually leads to an affiliate trying the campaign, putting out some thrown together ads in an attempt to test if they can make some easy money, failing, and moving on… leaving the lead gen company (and their end client) holding the bag. Some the messaging and their ads is at best misleading and not going to lead to people who know what they’re getting when the attorney calls them back and at worst, potentially downright in violation of a bar association rules and you know, endanger and getting firm in trouble.
There’s going to be virtually no way to track every ad that every affiliate is running, and in most cases the lead gen company is going to hesitate to show you any data because if the law firm can see who the affiliate is, they may be able to advertise directly and cut the lead generator out.
An affiliate is in it for the short term, just like the lead gen guy who’s going to do display advertising to try and cut costs and get more volume at a better rate. But it’s short term thinking because the quality is not going to be there, they’re not going to have sustained relationships with the law firms and in the end, they’re only going to hurt themselves. Affiliates tend to think very much the same way. It’s very much a churn and burn business model where they’re just trying to make a quick buck, renewal business be damned. Think of a restaurant in the tourist town, for example. They have no incentive to get regular customer back in the place, so they’re probably not going to use the best ingredients, they’re probably not going to pay top dollar for their head chef, they’re not going to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service. Because they know no matter what, you’re leaving and you’re probably not coming back. And that’s unfortunately, the mindset of a lot of affiliates in the affiliate marketing space. And unfortunately, a lot of lead generation businesses do use affiliate marketing to get their leads, so ask if they’re using affiliates before buying personal injury leads from that company.
Co-reg, short for co-registration, is about the worst way for a law firm to start to buy personal injury leads. If you’ve ever bought leads and called one and they said oh yeah, I was just filling out a survey – that’s a co-reg lead. How it works is, people will sign up for these email lists to take surveys and get paid, or get gift cards in exchange for participating. These email list will get up into the millions and the owners of these lists will send out “surveys”.
For example, they’ll send an email saying “complete this survey and you’ll get $100 gift card to Starbucks”. And so the person fills out the survey, and on the survey they’ll ask 20 different questions. “Do you need auto insurance? Have you filed for bankruptcy in the last three years?” And as one of those questions a lot of times will say, “Have you been injured in the last 24 months as a result of a car accident, work, accident, etc?”
If you answer yes, then they take you down another set of questions that are used to further qualify you as a lead – Were you found at fault? Do you have an attorney? The problem with that is most of those people either aren’t looking for an attorney, don’t want to talk to an attorney, or have already spoken to an attorney and their case either wasn’t winnable, or wasn’t big enough to be worth them taking the case. So the quality ends up just not being there. And ultimately, most people just fill these things out mindlessly anyway. So, if they click yes, sometimes they’ll just keep clicking away and not even know they submitted anything. So, you can call and they’ll answer the phone and they’ll generally hang up on you, possibly with a “take me off your list” or something to that effect. In short – you should’t be buying personal injury leads if you hear the words “co-reg”, “incentive traffic” or “survey”.
Similar to co-reg, people build these lists and then send spammy, shot in the dark email campaigns… because why not, it costs them nothing. And just if you have a list of a million people, you know, some affiliate offer will come out and say, you know, send out an offer that says if you’ve been injured in a car accident, click here for a free consultation and as you send it to a million people, chances are .001% of those might be actually interested speaking to a car accident lawyer, but you know, it’s again, there’s no intent, and as a result low conversion rates. You’re also being spammy and depending on your state bar association’s rules around solicitation, you may be violating bar rules without even knowing it.
This isn’t meant to scare you away from lead generation… just bad lead generation. The types of lead generation that give the rest of us a bad name. So if a legal lead gen company isn’t willing to say “here’s where my site shows up, and here’s what it looks like to somebody who might be looking to speak to an attorney” or “here are some actual traffic numbers from analytics”.
If they can’t do that, chances are they’re hiding something. And chances are, if you’re speaking to them, and you’re asking questions, and they’re stuttering through their answers to your questions, trying to come up with answers on the fly… chances are, they’re probably hiding something.
So ultimately, make sure to ask the right questions, demand transparency and be smart about who you’re doing business with, and buying personal injury leads can be an incredibly powerful tool for building your law firm.
In this instance (and even with the best social media generated leads) you don’t have the big key part of the urgency of intent right, that you get when you advertise on search right. So, you have somebody searching for a lawyer, searching for information about car settlements or how to file a claim. You can safely say that they’re proactively out there searching for information pertaining to their car accident, and more specifically their car accident claim. And so it’s just much easier to get include quality lead when you’re putting your ad out there when people are searching. So, anybody who tells you anything other than we get our traffic from either organic search or paid search on search engines primarily.
There are people who do Facebook with success; it’s just the intent isn’t there at the time that they’re clicking on the ad and we found that in the end that tends to back out to a lower conversion rate for our clients. So, depending on the price point per lead again, a good Facebook strategy can work.
Question #2: Are These Leads Exclusive?
The only real acceptable answer, unless you’re getting your leads incredibly cheap and have a very good system for intake is “yes, these leads are exclusive”. There are some companies that have success sending it to four or five attorneys at a time. Obviously, they’re able to sell their lead a lot cheaper because rather than selling a lead for $200 one time to one person, they sell that leads for $75 five times to five people. And it can work. I have spoken to attorneys in the past that have had success with that model.
However, if you’re buying personal injury leads that aren’t exclusive you must be really good at intake, and you have to be really quick on the draw, because if five people are getting that lead at the same time, you have to think two or three of them are calling within five minutes. So you’ve got to be fast and you got to be good at converting. So unless you’re really on top of it and want to race against a bunch of other attorneys to try to get to somebody and even if you do get there first they’re still going to get bombarded with the other four. The only real acceptable answer to this question is yes.
Question #3: Are These Personal Injury Leads Delivered In Real Time?
Before buying personal injury leads, the answer to that question has to be yes. Anything that’s aged, anybody that’s calling old leads or anything like that; again, just assuming you don’t want to sort it through 99 to get to one, you don’t want anything but real-time leads. And by real-time, I mean as soon as the person on the other end click submit on the web form that goes through your lead generation companies software to make sure it’s a valid personal injury lead or workers compensation lead or motor vehicle accident lead or whatever that may be. And then ultimately, get sent to you within the nanoseconds that it takes to sort of make sure that that person’s checked all the correct boxes. So, are these leads real-time, answer has to be yes.
Question #4: What’s Your Return Policy?
Ask what their return policy is on bad leads, and there are a number of acceptable answers to this. But in general, you want to hear that you’re not going to be billed for somebody who filled out spammy info of these sorts, John Doe type names 5-5-5, phone numbers, things like that. You want to make sure that you’re able to return any disconnected phone numbers that you get.
Further, and this is where differently generation companies have different policies; you want to be able to credit based on having spoken to the person, right not based on what somebody filled out on the form because people rush through things, people are on their phones, people are doing 10 things at once. So, you need to be able to talk to somebody and make sure that just because they said on the form that they don’t have an attorney that in fact they don’t and that you can return for whatever the criteria for a valid lead is. If you talk to that person in that is in fact not true whatever was said on that form they you’re not going to be billed for that lead.
To summarize, make sure that you get the return policy and again, depending on what the price per lead is generally, most reputable lead generation companies are going to allow you returns for anything disconnected number, anything that has an attorney, anything that’s outside of the geography, anything that is outside of the statute of limitations will actually return these for if you were found at fault for the accident. Not a lot of companies do that but we do. Obviously, any kind of disconnected phone numbers, spammy name; anything like that. So, just keep in mind that’s an important thing in a company you should stand behind those leads as they’re generating.
The only other acceptable answer is something that’s known as a “scrub rate” which certain times companies will decide that it’s easier to just say okay, my return rate across the board is 20% rather than arguing over all of these differently leads and this lead is billable versus this lead is not billable. They’ll just say all right, across the board our average return rate is 20%. What we’re going to do is we’re just going to discount the retail price 20% to account for that or give you a 20% sort of bonus in addition will be on top of whatever you’re paying for to account for any of those disconnected numbers, people that have attorneys and things like that. And that way nobody has to waste the time in returning leads and verifying return leads and things like that.
So, those are sort of the two acceptable answers is the leads that are absolutely not leads. Again, these aren’t going to be cases but anybody that says something on the form turns out not to be true or disconnected number outside of statute of limitations all should be returnable in lieu of a good return policy. You can negotiate a good scrub rate with some of the gen companies depending on yeah, usually you want to do track records first and just do a couple batches of leads and then make sure that yeah, you can return until you know that the quality is there and at that point if the data says okay, I’ve been returning on average 20% of these for the past three months great. We can just go to a scrub rate model.
Question #5: Can I See the Website You’re Sending Traffic to?
This kind of comes back to the fact that you want to just make sure that this is a company that’s not just sending you spammy incentive type traffic, people that have an email list they’re just blasting away at a million people that have no idea what they’re talking about. So, you want to make sure that the website that these leads are being generated at least has some semblance of professionalism and intelligence behind the content on it and, does give some people information about how to speak to an attorney, how to handle their car accident claim etc, personal injury claim whatever it is. You also want to make sure that it has all the applicable disclaimers right and that a lead gen company is not a law firm and needs to have a disclaimer saying we are not a law firm; your information will be forwarded to an attorney in our network that pays to participate. No attorney client relationship is formed by you filling out this form and so on.
And again, you really just want to see how they answer that question and if they’re not willing to show you the site where the leads are generated from; chances are they probably have something to hide. Meaning, you probably don’t want to be working with them.
So, those are five really important questions to ask whenever you’re thinking about buying personal injury leads or worker’s compensation leads or motor vehicle accident leads, just so that you can kind of get a feel for the company that you’re working with and how they get their leads, how they handle those specific situations when it comes to returns, are they sort of crossing their T’s and dot in their I’s and making sure that everything is above water from a marketing standpoint. Do that and make sure that you’re asking the right question, listening for the right answers and you should end up working with some good reputable lead generation companies.