During a meeting this morning the subject of customers using a sample to determine whether or not they were going to purchase leads came up. We sell leads to a lot of call centers who many times want to purchase a small sample to test the leads. For example, they may be interested in purchasing 100,000 debt leads, but first want to purchase 200 leads to call on first to determine the quality of those leads. I have always found this to be problematic because you cannot judge the quality of those leads in terms of conversion with only 200, that is not going to tell you anything because the results could go either way; you could get a horrible response from those 200 or you can get an outstanding response, either way that is not going to be a good analysis of how the 100,000 leads are going to perform. The only thing 200 leads may do for you is tell you if there is a good connect rate, and even that is dubious, if you want to test leads, you are going to need to do so with a few thousand not a couple of hundred.
This is something we have tried to pound into the head of those we do business with for years, and those clients that are experienced in purchasing leads understand this, but I have found that many small call centers do not seem to grasp this concept. I had a company last week that was interested in purchasing 10,000 leads, saying that would probably purchase 10,000 each week if they worked out well for them, and wanted a free sample of 50 to test the quality; I had two problems with this the first being I was not manufacturing these leads I was purchasing them wholesale from a supplier, and most suppliers of leads are against giving away free leads, most will tell you if you want a sample than you need to purchase that sample. See the article I wrote in mayLead Samples, to give or not to give). But the free sample issue aside, 50 leads is not going to do a thing for you, this company that was considering purchasing 10,000 leads each month, and should have purchased 10,000 leads to serve as their test, if the leads were good than continue to purchase each week.
The other issue is that many do not seem to understand the difference between leads and data, and many want to purchase data but refer to them as leads. If you are a seller of data and leads, it is important that you educate your customers on the difference between the two; which I talked about yesterday (Leads or Data, Whats the Difference?).
The important thing is as a business we all want to create long term clients, not one time orders and in order to do that prospective clients need to be educated, and as their supplier that tasks often falls to you, and while many will sing the song the client wants to hear just to close the deal, a good supplier will be upfront and honest and educate the client by explaining the difference between data and leads, and will explain that a small sample is not necessarily representative of what they will be buying. It has been my experience that by educating your clients and by managing their expectations they will appreciate the information you are giving them, and the time you have taken in explaining things to them and this is how a long term client is created.