When you are first starting out with a new employer, chances are you will not be handed a bag of qualified sales leads and told to get to work. You will have to generate your own leads so you'll have to quickly get up to speed in how make these important connections. Fortunately, there are a number of good sources that you can utilize to come up to begin making your contacts. Here are a few sources to consider.
- Among the most common is the good old-fashioned phone book. This is the most simple way of explaining how to generate leads because most people have phone books in their homes that provide easy access. If you are offering a good or service that is potentially a good fit for a business or non-profit organization, then take to the yellow pages and start making some calls. You may be surprised how easily you can get to the decision-maker within an organization and qualify the lead very quickly. Once you have exhausted the local phone book, fan out to other cities to generate leads. Chances are that there are already phone books for other cities in your office. If not, identify a market you want to work and order the phone book for that area. Phone books are not expensive, and you will make up the small charge with the first sale you make.
- Word of mouth is also a valuable way to generate sales leads. Never be afraid to ask a satisfied customer if he or she knows of someone who would be interested in what you have to offer. Along with the first question, also ask for permission to mention your current customer's name. Often, being able to drop a name will open doors for you that otherwise would remain closed. One of your best resources in expanding your client base will always be a customer who knows and believes in you.
- Do not discount networking at your local chamber of commerce. Often, you will find other sales professionals who are more than willing to exchange business contacts with you and you can be assured that many will be qualified leads. This can help you build up your client base locally, as well as allow you the chance to mingle with business owners directly at chamber events. When you become an asset to the local chamber, chances are its members will begin to contact you about what your company offers.
- With the advent of the Internet, you can often find all sorts of leads by visiting the online membership lists of various professional organizations. For instance, just about every state level attorney's association web site will contain a listing of member attorney firms. If your good or service is something that would be of interest to the legal industry, you can contact not only the association itself, but also every member thereof. You will find similar situations of leads online with just about every professional association that has a web presence. In addition to professional associations, follow a similar course with any chamber of commerce that has a web site. You may find some new customers with relatively little effort that way.
- Buying a bank of leads is another way to secure plenty of contacts with very little effort. However, this method of generating leads can be a tricky situation. There are a number of offers for business leads on the Internet, and despite what you may hear, not all of them are qualified in the way you would like them to be. Many of the lists are not targeted; that is, they merely included individuals who have indicated they might be interested in some sort of contact that is broadly related to the goods or services you are offering. If you choose to use a list, you would do well to go with one that is identified with a specific sector of the business community that you know would be interested in your offering, such as the legal profession or the retail industry. Your chances for success and recouping your investment will improve greatly.
When it comes to generating sales leads, you have a lot of resources at your fingertips. Many of these sources are free and others are available at a minimal charge. The important thing is to get your name out there, using sources that are legitimate and will leave potential customers with a good feeling about you.