How to Find Sales Leads. Sales have come a long way since the door-to-door salesman. Retail sales are now exploding on the Internet, changing the methods companies use to both reach potential customers and micromanage marketing to the niche of customers interested in their products. Finding a sales lead has also become much easier with the use of the Internet, but there are many others ways to gather sales leads. Here are a few suggestions to help increase your list of contacts.
Buy or rent a list of potential sales leads from a company specializing in obtaining, cleaning and selling lists. Like many industries, list companies have merged and grown in size to where there are a few major players and a lot of minor ones. Call some of the larger ones and get prices. Buying only email addresses is the most popular and cheapest way to go. Once your Internet ad is developed, the price of both sending the email or having it rejected is free or minimal if you have a specialist do the email blast for you.
Collect business cards at an organization or chamber of commerce meeting. The best salespeople in the largest companies still consider every business card a potential sales lead.
Jot down the names of potential leads as you read your daily newspaper or trade magazine. You can tell from the ad what the business specializes in and whether or not they might be a good lead.
Browse through Internet Web sites when you have a little time to spare. Do searches for companies that may have an interest in your product or service and review their Web sites. You may find not only valuable leads but also valuable information that could increase your success rate.
Ask family, friends and relatives for leads. Ask your neighbor and ask your golfing buddies. Ask the person next to you on your next business flight. Leads dissipate over time, and you need to be constantly filling up your pipeline.
Establish a business relationship with another person to gather leads for you in exchange for some sort of monetary return, usually by sales lead or by a percentage of sales.
The best list companies are the ones that have their own staff constantly updating information. Most lists today should come with the corporate name and address, the corporate parent's name and address and the officers, directors and chief management staff's phones, faxes and email addresses. They also list variables such as the size of the company by gross and net dollar amount and the number of employees. These lists are more expensive, but you will have a far better list of leads, and the extra cost may be worth it to you.
Most list companies either rent or sell their lists for 1 year only. Make sure you understand what you are buying before you sign any contract. List companies plant phony names in the list they sell you that will indicate to them if you are using your list beyond the time your contract stipulates. Lists are considered practically obsolete after 3 months because so many people change jobs frequently, have more phone numbers and change their email addresses. Many small businesses and individuals sell lists that do not belong to them and are not current just to make a fast buck. Make sure you buy from a reputable company.