Mortgage Strategy\'s monthly guide to the lead generation companies brokers could be doing business with. Justine Tomlinson looks at the options available to intermediaries

Mortgage Guide has been providing leads via its website mortgageguide.co.uk to financial advisers for two years. One of the key aspects of lead generation this company focusses on is speed, and this is a critical part of conversion, particularly with internet leads.

A customer searching for mortgage information should find mortgageguide. co.uk in many internet locations. If they require contact from a financial adviser they need to complete a form. Before the request is submitted customers are informed as to which adviser will contact them. The inhouse call centre then contacts the customer to confirm the information submitted and to confirm the request to speak to an adviser. Mortgage Guide then sends an email to the customer and adviser. The adviser also has the option to receive a text message. This process takes 15 minutes after the customer’s online enquiry. The customer is then expecting a call from an adviser.

The information the company collates from the client is sufficient to make a warm introduction but does not cross the murky boundary into fact-finding. When customers are contacted by the call centre, verification is obtained about the information already supplied. Further customer information is not sought.

The cost of the lead is 65, which is expensive for an internet generated lead, but the cost of verification has been built into this. The verification process is compliant and is there to sift out the browsers who are fairly prolific in internet-based leads. This service does not provide the option of sophisticated customer categorisation, so be prepared to deal with a spectrum of enquiries.

The company offers a good process, without straying into regulated activities, and as you are not tied into a minimum commitment, it’s definitely worth trying out.

Angel Media is based in Cyprus and according to its website, has been providing a lead generation service for five years.

This company provides a three-tiered process, working from lifestyle surveys. The first tier is a lifestyle survey with an opt in clause. The second tier involves telephone contact asking the customer if they are interested in a remortgage, followed by a number of questions about their existing mortgage. And the third tier provides a double verification process to ensure the home owner knows who will be contacting them. A scheduled meeting is also arranged with the date and time and mortgage information supplied.

The company says: “The proof of effectiveness of the process is in the closing ratio of leads.” But I was unable to verify this.

If you want to speak to the company over the phone you are only offered a Cyprus number so the call needs to be a quick one. You can order leads according to the postcodes you require on a pay as you go basis. The minimum order is one per day but there is no guarantee you will receive your stated requirement. You are required to give 30 days’ notice if you want to cancel the contract. This means if you have opted for four to nine postal areas your minimum commitment could be 1,300 (one lead per day, based on a price of 65 per lead, for a month).

Prices range from 45 per lead for 20 plus postal areas to 65 per lead for four plus postal areas. There are some volume discounts available but the minimum order is 50 leads. These prices are reasonable, particularly as the service is aimed at remortgage customers, but I have concerns about the company’s understanding of regulatory implications.

The company is not regulated and should be performing an introducer-only service. To market ‘qualified appointment leads’ the company is carrying out a short fact-find, making an appointment and then passing the fact find on to the adviser.

Introducing firms, or lead generators, must ensure they are not instrumental in bringing about a sale, which is a regulated activity.

I would be uncomfortable using this company. Under its compliance section it talks only about its contracts with the survey companies. It goes on to say that due to the number of conversations it has with each prospect before they are deemed a lead, there is not the remotest chance of any comeback on you. But don’t count on it as you take the regulatory responsibility.

Angel Media declined to comment. Justine tomlinsonmarketing director,

Mortgage Next

Mortgage Guide had to take stock of what our customers need from an internet lead. After months of consultation with them, it became clear that unvetted leads are just not good enough for busy brokers. They waste time and money and are not cost-effective. In turn, we re-evaluated our service and made several changes to our operation which we feel puts us at the top of the internet lead market. We ensured the site is fully compliant with FSA guidelines and have also ensured the product is a so-called warm product. Each broker has a dedicated account manager to meet their specific needs. Our product is one of which we are proud. We think our customers will find it an essential, everyday tool in increasing their profits.