Like many executives and business owners, several lead generation businesses approach me on a weekly basis. It seems they run the gamut from those simply selling data lists to those who provide a complete marketing automation approach.  Recently, as part of our expanded marketing efforts, I’ve responded to some of these overtures.  I always start the dialogue by asking the following questions:

1.     How confident are you that your efforts will provide us with results, i.e. at least some demographically qualified leads? (They always respond that they are very confident in their services)

Then the acid test…..

2.     Are you willing to share in the risks as well as the rewards?

I should explain that in our business, telecom cost reduction, we are paid on a contingency fee basis for results.  If we don’t deliver, we don’t get paid.  Based on our track record of success, we are highly confident that once given the opportunity to address a client’s telecom spending, we can produce significant savings for them.  At no cost to the prospective client, we will travel to meet with them, gather data from their service providers’ bills and contracts and then perform a detailed current market benchmarking analysis, which we share with the prospective customer.  Nearly 70% of the time, if we are given the initial opportunity to speak with a prospect and analyze their situation, the effort results in an engagement.  In other words, we take the up-front risk to invest the time, money and resources because we are highly confident in the rewards to our customers and us.

Silver Lining Telecom is looking for a quality lead generation company that is just as confident in their abilities and is willing to truly partner with us to share the in those risks and rewards.  Time and again when I bring up this concept, the response is that they have internal expenses such as the costs to buy/develop contact information as well as personnel costs.  Guess what?  So do we!  Call it “putting you money where your mouth is.”  That’s our business model, and we do it every day!

I’ve even tried to get creative and offer a significantly higher fee than originally proposed, with no success.  In fact, in one recent call with a lead generation company that had impressed me, I offered to literally double their fixed fee and to give them a share of our contingency fee as well, but they would not accept.  Makes me wonder just how good or sure of their service they really are?

So, unless or until we find a lead generation firm that is as confident in what they do as we are and willing to truly be a partner, I guess they’ll continue to be pests.