Some time back, there was a conversation born from another post as to whether or not companies are really selling Internet leads in real-time.  I have to admit that the suggestion that companies are not, caught me by surprise.  The suggestion was that lead providers – and I am talking about the legitimate ones, not the bottom-of-the-barrel lead aggregators – are actually selling leads that were not generated in real time.  I think that this is nonsense.

There are exceptions to this rule.  For example, I know from some of my clients who participate, one major lead provider has a legacy program that is either called, or is simply referred to as the, “Lender of Last Resort,” program.  In this, lenders can act as a “safety net,” and leads that would otherwise go unmatched would be sent to these lenders of last resort at the end of the day, or even maybe the following day .  But in this example, the participating lenders know what they are getting, I have to believe, and are paying a significantly reduced price for these leads.  But other than that this, as well as other aged lead opportunities that other reputable lead companies provide, it is my belief that the lead companies are genuinely selling leads in real time.  I would love to hear from some representatives of the lead companies chime in on this to validate my position.

One concern was that companies allegedly stopped sending a time/date stamp as one of the data components with a lead.  I did a little investigating on behalf of my company and learned that while we do send that data, many of the lead management systems don’t capture and pass this data (if I am wrong, please jump in and correct me.  I’ll give the lead management companies a special invitation to do so since they are all always so shy about touting your wares [a little sarcasm]).  My suspicion for this is that in years past, there were some issues with the lead management systems delivering leads in real-time.

Specifically, I had numerous first hand experiences with a certain LMS (and I won’t throw them under the bus here because I know they have fixed this issue), where there were sometimes as much as 15 minutes between when we delivered the lead into the LMS and when the clients actually received the lead.  So, my guess is that because of this inefficiency in the past, maybe this data was not captured or provided on the LMS’s end.  But I would still maintain that the credible lead companies capture and send this information.

I would challenge you, the lead buyer, to verify that you are getting this information from your lead providers.  If you are not, find out if it is the result of the lead provider not sending the information, or the LMS not capturing the information.

The reason why you need to know this is because when your LO comes up to you and claims, “I just called this ‘real-time’ lead as soon as I got it but I was the 93rd person (a little more sarcasm) to speak to the consumer,” you will now be able to address the facts.   The facts are, if the lead is time/date stamped then you can show this information to the LO.  If you don’t trust the time/date stamp, then you can take it up with your lead provider.  But odds are it is a real-time lead and the consumer simply did what most consumers do and that is go to multiple sites and fill out multiple forms and then complain as if they had no idea that they would get multiple calls per inquiry that they made.

So, I am not saying that re-selling doesn’t happen, but I do believe it to be the exception and not the rule.  What are your thoughts?

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