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Selling Tips: How to Find Leads

September 20th, 2009

find-leads-success.jpgIf you want to find some good leads for your business, the most obvious place to start looking is your own company’s records of previous clients. This is one reason why it’s so important to keep proper records. Don’t ever destroy a lead, even if you think there’s never going to be any business there. Put the customer details into your ‘bring-box’ or copy them into a file somewhere on your local computer. This is simply a card box (or computer file) divided into months of the year, with the front section divided into five weeks.

For example, if you speak to some potential customers and find out that they may be interested in six months’ time, you can put the record card into the section six months hence. When the relevant month is current, divide the cards into the appropriate four or five weeks. The card that you filed six months previously will now appear as a reminder to follow up on the lead. If your customer looks unlikely ever to need your product or service, instead of throwing away the details, put them in the box for a year from now; things can change over that time.

Here are some more ideas for how to find leads and customers. Not all will be appropriate for you, depending on your product, the size of your sales area, etc, but the list will help when you’re sure that you have done everything and there just don’t seem to be any new markets left — we all get days like that!

  1. The trade press is an obvious place to start. Look for reports, articles, and advertisements.
  2. The national press: look for anyone who is mentioned in any capacity such as advertising for staff or winning awards. This is where my own company gets most of its leads.
  3. Kompass: available for reference at most main libraries. This gives directors’ names, size of workforce, and annual turnover. It is useful if you sell very high-cost products or services, but beware of spending too much time in libraries — it can be a wonderful ‘cop-out’! Know why you need this information and how you will use it before you start.
  4. Trade telephone directories give you a very good idea of your potential customer’s range of products and where you might fit in. The number of advertisers in that section says something about the competitiveness of their markets, which may indicate a need for your services. Read the advertisements; don’t just use this as a source of names and addresses.
  5. Council lists: the planning department of your local council has lists of companies moving into the area. Also watch the local paper for planning applications.
  6. The GOYA approach: this stands for ‘Get off your armchair!’ Walk your patch. It’s only by getting out on foot that you discover the potential clients behind the main ones on the industrial estate, or on the eighth floor of a new building. If your market area is nationwide, keep paper and pencil in the car to jot down names and phone numbers from passing lorries, and of course don’t ever be so flushed with success at a sale that you don’t take time afterward to go around the other companies nearby, either collecting information or actually talking to a contact.
  7. General awareness: once you start selling, you read newspapers with different eyes, and listen to radio and TV news with different ears. The advertisements at the cinema are no longer wasters of time, but sources of leads. Conversations in the pub take on a new meaning — you could overhear something that might reveal a need for your goods or services. A warning, though — don’t let every outing become solely focused on leads gathering, or you’ll soon be out on your own.

So, now you’re armed with names and addresses. The next step is to prepare your sale, then make the appointment.

This article on how to find leads was supplied by ArticleGala.com.

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