The From Line

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Lead Sharing - It works but be mindful how you do it

Many businesses engage in lead sharing with little thought about what they are really doing and how sharing customer and prospect information can actually destroy the relationships they have built or trying to build.  Let’s take a brief look at some important considerations in designing a lead sharing program to maintain quality customer relationships.

Relationships Not Profit Should Be Your Business's Goal
Obviously, the primary goal of any business is profit, but the only way to get there is a strong focus on building and maintaining customer relationships.  People buy from those they can trust and from those who can give them the best product or service to meet an individual need.  People are tired of being sold. They now want to buy and their terms.  If your company is sharing customer or prospect data, even though your privacy and user policies permit such activity, your business is most likely betraying your customers' or prospects' trust.

If Your Privacy Policy Says You Can Share Customer And Prospect Data  - Change It!
Search engines seem to like “Privacy Statements” in business websites.  What does yours say about sharing visitor’s information?  Take a quick look at Google’s Privacy Policy.  Google clearly states that it will not use personal information outside of Google, except with a person’s consent.  If you intend to share information voluntarily given to you on your business website, you had better make it crystal clear to the visitor how you intend to use that information.  If your privacy policy states that you can share pesonal data be prepared for the backlash when you do share.  Some savvy consumer will source you as a breach of trust despite your policies and out you as a participant of bad practices to others.  If you intend to participate in a legitimate lead sharing program, make sure it's explicit, opt-in and transparent to your end users.  Opt-In should always be one to one, not one to many.

Opt-Out = Game Over!
Once prospects or customers have informed you they made the decision to opt-out of your marketing, you cannot sell or transfer their data to third parties.  Doing so can open your business up to major legal heaches and public relations nightmares.  In other words, despite using good or bad lead sharing practices, an opt-out should signal a true end of any value to the relationship.

Lead sharing has been around for a very long time, even before the Internet.  Lawyers, financial planners, banks and the like have always referred customers to other professions.  Today, lead sharing is much more than just exchanging email lists to allow you to start sending mass emails to potential customers. Genuine lead sharing is finding a partner to help look for opportunities to combine the talents and expertise of both businesses in a way that can best benefit the customer.  This way both businesses will get exposure and a real service will be delivered to the general public.

RegReady is a transparent, fair and balanced customer acquisition community helping you develop true opt-in marketing lists and sales leads. We are advocates of quality customer relationships developed through permission-based marketing and education. We help you find prospects motivated to ask for more information. Contact us today to see how it works.


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