How Sales Leads Work

By: Dave Roos

Real-time and Opt-in Sales Leads

Real-time sales leads allow salespeople to contact leads immediately.
Real-time sales leads allow salespeople to contact leads immediately.
© Photographer: Paul Moore | Agency: Dreamstime

Dozens of companies sell real-time and opt-in sales leads. These companies collect leads online through Web ads, surveys and affiliate programs with online retailers. Let's look at some important differences between real-time and opt-in sales leads.

Real-time sales leads are more expensive than opt-in sales leads because they are sent to salesmen seconds after the lead has filled out an online form or survey. This way the salesmen can contact the lead while the product or service is fresh in the lead's mind. A disadvantage of real-time leads is that there's little time to verify if the lead is a legitimate lead with real contact information and a demonstrated interest in the product or service being sold.


A new development in real-time sales leads is something called voice leads. With this technology, voice mail inquiries from leads are sent directly to salesmen so they can call the lead back immediately.

Opt-in sales leads cost less than real-time leads because they aren't as fresh. But the advantage of opt-in sales leads (or even double opt-in sales leads) is that the lead not only filled out an online form or survey, but responded to a confirmation e-mail. Even if the lead is a couple of days old, at least the salesmen know they have a real name with a real e-mail address. The opt-in process also allows for additional product promotion in the opt-in e-mails.

The prices of real-time and opt-in sales leads vary significantly depending on the industry and type of lead. Real-time real estate leads can cost as much as $60 per lead, while dozens of opt-in leads for a home business like Avon can cost as little as $40 [sources: MyBizLeads and RealTimeLeads]. 

In the next section, we'll look at business specialty lists, another way to purchase sales leads in bulk.