Paying Double for Online Leads?

Jim Luff
Posted on March 31, 2010
DONE DEALS? Price conscious shoppers using multiple online limo finder services can cost you big money to get the sale as you pay for the same lead to multiple brokers.
Over the years I have joined many programs such as, Decidio, LimoPros, LimoFinder, and other search systems in my quest to dominate my area. I have lost track of how many brokers we belong to. Recently I really began scrutinizing all the various charges on my credit card related to broker lead generation services. The amount I am paying for lead generation is approaching what I used to spend monthly on yellow page ads. And I thought the Internet would reduce my advertising costs.
That began an exhaustive process of going back to the beginning of 2010 and reviewing every lead sent that was charged to my credit card. We began comparing the leads with the names and dates of our reservations to see how many leads actually became orders and which companies sent us the best leads that panned out the most often.
That is when we began to unravel something very disturbing. It seems that Internet price shoppers are basically asking every single available broker on the Internet for a rate. Each time they get a quote, we get charged. In one case, we had delivered quotes to the same individual on five different systems. While ultimately we did get the sale, I found that I had paid a total of $18 between all five companies to get this airport transfer. The entire transfer rate, all-inclusive, is $63.25. This pushes my actual revenue on this job down to $45.25. To add insult to injury, the order actually came in on the weekend and I pay my night and weekend dispatchers 10% of each sale they make as contractors working from their homes. That was another $5.40. That pushes my gross revenue down to $39.85 for the job. You don’t have to do too much math to determine that after I pay a chauffeur and fuel, my company will be lucky to clear $10 from this job. And what was the point of being in business again? Oh, yeah, it was to make money.
We are now evaluating all the services we deal with. Many are free. Some charge one flat annual fee. Others charge by the lead with fees ranging from $1 per lead to as high as $10 per lead. On some we have to bid the job, and if we are the low bidder, we get the job. It is literally all over the chart.
I do not see any way to stop the tire kickers but I am certainly going to be trimming those lead providers that charge annual or monthly fees and don’t deliver anything to us. I always had that fear that if we were not a provider for one of those online broker services that we could miss out on a prospective client doing an Internet search. Well, considering I pay an SEO every month to keep our name as close to the top of the search results as possible, I am not going to worry about it anymore.
I can do a better job selling our service than any broker can or will do since they are only interested in making a buck off my back. I would like to hear from others about what lead generation services you have found that work for you and which ones you dumped for doing nothing more than taking your money.

— Jim Luff, LCT Contributing Editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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