Prospect Development

You have gone to all your friends, family and contacts and now you are searching for more people to reach out to and introduce to your business!  The internet looms as a tremendous information source and it is.  In fact there is so much information that it can be overwhelming.

Depending on your style, whether you reach out as soon as you get a name or prefer to develop a strategy, there are lots of sources.  Your type of business and your target market should influence the area (s) of focus.  Normally, local first then widen the geographic reach.  However, it could be industry driven.  Some sources could be Dun & Bradstreet and provide them with the criteria and they will provide a list of companies and their contacts within that criteria.  You can look to associations within the target markets such as IADC if you are chasing drilling companies or companies servicing the drilling industry.  What about the books handed out at conventions.  Usually you can get a one day exhibition only visitors pass and get leads, cards and directories that way.  Possibly the internet might have lists of companies in certain industries and you can build from there.  If you business is more geographically oriented search for companies within zip codes.  You can also go to the public library and make copies of the volumes of directories that are there.  What about driving around an area, take a picture of their main sign or take voice notes and look up their website later.

There are no limits today on the various ways you can obtain prospects.  The real issue is in defining what that really is for your business and how to qualify all the various company names you obtain.  Then you have to determine who is the appropriate person to contact.  That process of cleansing your list is not easy and in essence forces you to define your target market and to get in depth into what that entails and who.  This cleansing process is unique for each business as it depends on the target market.  Once the list is defined and possibly prioritized by potential or urgency of need, you need to have a strategy for each.  It may be you walk in the front door and ask to see the purchasing manager or whomever functionally would make the buy decision for your product or service.  It may be you use their web site or LinkedIn to develop specific people to reach out to or who you may know in the company to introduce you to the right person.  The actual effective strategy for you may vary by company and by style, no one method is necessarily the right one.

How to approach them or what to provide is a topic unto itself and is one that is successful in many different ways, but one thing is consistent; it is only as good as the person bringing the message!

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