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How to Choose Lead Generation Company

By Ryan TenBrink | |

If you’ve been in network marketing for any significant length of time, chances are you’ve already approached your "warm" market (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) with a network marketing opportunity. Perhaps, you’ve pitched them more than just one opportunity.

Successful MLM distributors tell us that working the warm market is the best way to go. I agree….but when you run out of warm market people to prospect, where do you turn?

The answer is in the "cold" market, where you purchase leads and start working with people you don’t know.

In this article, I’m going to discuss the types of leads available (with pros and cons), types of suppliers and what might work best for you.

Types of Lead Suppliers:

Wholesale Providers – These are known as the "source". They run the campaigns that actually generate the leads. Then they sell these leads to lead generation companies.

MLM List Suppliers – Quite a few companies specialize in selling MLM databases. These "leads" can come from MLM companies’ databases that have gone out of business, or they might do their own lead generation and sell those contacts.

Lead Generation MLM companies – These are the companies where you can get your leads for "free" if you sponsor 3-5 people who each pay a monthly amount for a given amount of leads. Yours are free because your commissions cover the cost of your leads.

Email Suppliers – Many companies specialize in generating email leads. You can buy a "targeted" list such as: business opportunity seekers, health/nutrition, home-based business, etc. Some of these companies are up front on how they collect their email addresses while others are not. IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a company that can provide time/date stamp and opt-in source information.

Fax Blasters – Another way to generate leads is to send out fax blasts. Several companies have databases of MLMers fax numbers. You simply pay a given amount to send your flyer to many fax machines.

Co-op Programs – Some publications allow you to "co-op" your leads. This means you are splitting the cost of the ad with other people and the leads will be rotated to each participant in the co-op through a voice-mail system.

Direct Mail – Traditional direct mail can be fairly expensive if you develop a custom mailer and mail it directly to the consumer. An alternate method is to participate in a card deck where you offer is placed in the same deck as 30-40 other offers.

What to look for when choosing a lead supplier:

One of the first things you should look at when choosing a lead supplier is:

How are their leads generated?

In other words, how do they gather information of an individual and what qualifies this person as an MLM lead?

It has always struck me as curious why lead companies are so secretive about the way they generate their leads. What’s the big deal? If a company won’t show you where they place ads, where they place banner ads, where they actually market their own service, how can you be so sure you are actually getting a good lead?

What about lead generation companies that are MLM companies themselves?

Some of these companies claim to give each "customer" 150 – 1,000+ "fresh, responsive leads" every month! How can that be? If this particular lead generation MLM company is actually doing what it says and they have say 1,200 customers for their leads….how is this company generating 1.2 Million leads per month? Or are they selling the same leads over and over to different customers?

If they are actually generating these types of numbers…Is there any way to verify this?

Another issue is their refund policy? What is it? If you buy 1,000 leads and 80 of the leads have disconnected phone numbers, bad email addresses, etc., will the company give you 80 more leads for free? Will they double that and make it 160? Make sure you know this policy before purchasing leads.

Are there any terms and conditions you need to adhere to? Do they allow you to upload these leads into an autoresponder? Are they yours to use indefinitely, or are they "rented". Are there any other stipulations that come with these leads?

What are the different types of leads?

  1. Private Label – This type of lead is specific for your company or opportunity. It includes specific information rather than just a generic "work from home" offer. The more information you give up front….the better quality the lead.
  2. Telephone Surveyed – A few companies offer these types of leads. These people have been called on the phone and asked if they are still interested in a business opportunity. They often include survey questions.
  3. Internet Surveyed – Basically the same as telephone interviewed, but this has been done through a web page or email that asks them the same qualifying questions as the telephone surveyed.
  4. Opt-in Email Addresses – Many web properties ask for registration to use their website. Often, these leads are sold to other companies and are considered opt-in because the individual requested to receive offers from this company and its "marketing partners".
  5. Fax lists – A set of fax numbers that you can fax your offer to. Most companies that offer fax lists, also offer a fax broadcast service, so you won’t have to fax these yourself.
  6. MLM lists – These are people that have been involved in network marketing before. These leads usually contain name, address and phone number but generally not email addresses.
  7. Exclusive/Non-exclusive – An exclusive lead is sold to you only. A non-exclusive lead is sold to more than one person.
  8. Incentivized/Non-incentivized – Did the person filling out the registration get an incentive for doing so? What was the incentive? Typical incentives include: register to win $500….register to win a vacation….etc.
  9. Spam/Bulk Emails – This is the lowest form of lead and will usually do more harm than good. Do you really think 200 million emails on a CD-ROM is the best way to "target" your offer? Probably not.

Pros and Cons of Each

Lead Type



Private Label

Unique lead to your offer, custom designed lead page or ad, highly qualified responses

Price – these are usually the most expensive

Telephone Surveyed

These leads have verified their interest to another human and answered qualifying questions

Price – these are also generally expensive

Internet Surveyed

These leads have filled out an online form and answered qualifying questions

Price and Validity – some will enter bogus info just to get to the offer

Opt-in Email

Cost is lower than the above – can be loaded into autoresponder – efficient way to sort through prospects

Hard to verify where and why they opted-in – people get many emails per day

Fax lists

Your offer won’t be deleted – it will be seen by the recipient

Impersonal – Cost per fax can be high

MLM Lists

They’ve been in MLM before – they’re not


Their info has been sold to many people in most cases


You’re the only one that gets this lead!

Cost is higher than non-exclusive


Cost is lower than exclusive

Many other people will be pitching their MLM to this same lead


These leads have filled out their info without the promise of something in return

Cost is higher than incentivized


Cost is generally low

They may have no interest in working a program – just looking for a free ride



We all hate spam – you’ve got to send thousands to get any response!


Which type of lead is best for you?

The type of lead that is best for you depends on how you want to contact these leads after you purchase them, what kind of "system" you want to put them through to get them information on your business, and many other factors.

Don’t let price fool you. Just because bulk e-mail is cheap it is not the best answer for someone on a limited budget. You risk your reputation, (let alone your ISP connection) and other things when you try to take the "cheap" route.

The old adage remains: You get what you pay for.

If you can get 10-20 people on your team to commit to spending a couple hundred dollars per month, then you should consider a private label program. These will be, by far, the best leads that you can get. Your lead capture page can completely qualify a lead to your specifications, thus weeding out the non-serious.

If you like working the phones and getting to know people, then you should look at the telephone surveyed, Internet surveyed and MLM lists.

If you like to work your business more on "auto-pilot", then purchasing targeted leads from an opt-in company might be your best solution.

However you look at it, there is still work to be done. Purchasing leads is simply a way to present your opportunity to more people. When you get good at working the "cold" market…nothing can stand in your way.

In the next article we will discuss "How to Work a Lead".

Until next time, good luck with your prospecting!

Ryan TenBrink

The author, Ryan TenBrink is Managing Director for, a company specializing in marketing and public relations for MLM companies. Having spent over 12 years in the field as a distributor, he now works with network marketing companies directly on a variety of levels to enhance sales volume. This includes providing private-label/company specific lead generation for MLM companies and large distributor groups.

Mr. TenBrink can be reached at: (972) 418-0614


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