Understanding what aged and real-time leads are enables insurance agents to set expectations for what each can deliver. How you approach and communicate with these leads, the cost of each, the time difference between when each was submitted, all indicate a different sale approach. It’s important to understand what each type is and how they work. Both have pros and cons, dependent on how you prioritize conversion metrics, and knowing what those are will go a long way towards making either type work best for you.

First, some basic definitions:

Aged Insurance Leads

These are leads purchased by sales agents, on average, somewhere between 31 and 85 days after they were generated online. The source typically is no different from real-time leads, they just did not convert for other agents, the prospect may have said they were not interested yet, or they may have been vetted longer. If you consider these leads, it's worth asking your lead generation company how they are generated.

Real-Time Insurance Leads

Just like the title indicates, these prospect leads are hot out of the oven, generated that day and often sent to within seconds of the insurance lead submitting an online application or contact form. That is the obvious difference between the two. The more nuanced, but potentially more significant differences, show themselves when you dig deeper:

Difference in Cost

A huge difference between the two lead types is going to be cost. Your average real time lead is going to be somewhere between $7 and $10, exclusive leads going upwards of $25. Aged leads in contrast can cost you as little as a few dimes per lead. This might appear to be a no-brainer as to which basket you want to put your lead budget into, but keep in mind you’re definitely going to get what you pay for. This paves the way for a difference I’m sure you’re interested in…

Understanding the ROI

The return on investment difference here is going to revolve around how much contact time you’re wanting to put in. Real-time leads offer the opportunity to get to the front of the line in terms of reaching the prospect and converting them before anyone else, that’s where the real value of real-time insurance leads come in and the payoff can be the backbone of your income. With aged leads, the ROI is going to be based on playing the numbers game. The chances of the aged lead prospect having already bought a policy are vastly greater, but dependent on what kind of volume of aged leads you purchase, the return you get on those leads can be significant.

Lead Management

The volume of aged insurance leads that are required to be managed in order to be cost effective quota-wise, raises this question: How much do you love to dial? If you want to optimize the time necessary to make aged lead conversion a successful practice, you should really consider a power dialer system. All the time you save from not manually dialing and handing the task to an automated dialer allows you to get through more leads, which then leads to more opportunities to reach more prospects and convert them.

Another consideration to take into account when managing your leads, whether they be real-time or aged, is your optimization of them. If a real-time lead prospect proves to be unavailable or says no, do not give up on it. At that point there is absolutely no shame in letting it go for a month into aged status and trying again. In insurance sales the number of times that “no” simply means “not right now” is incredibly frequent, and not taking advantage of that is just leaving money on the table and not making the most of your investment.

Aged leads should be handled as equally precious. While real-time leads do have a strong upper hand in getting you to the prospect first, keep in mind that many of those aged leads you have can be prospects whom other agents with their lead never called at all, never followed through on an appointment, or didn’t have the right policy. For all intents and purposes, the only difference opportunity-wise between that aged lead and another real-time lead is the time it took for you to handle the situation the right way.

In short, when looking at how to approach purchase of aged and real-time leads, consider the pros and cons of both in relation to your quota achievement strategy and what it would take to leverage both towards the best possible results. You're going to be the one who has the best ideas on how to achieve your end goals, so make sure you've considered all the options available to you.