Where to find potential clients? 13 ways to get new contacts
There are never enough good business contacts, so I’ve compiled a list of possible sources. I hope it’ll help you gain new business opportunities, too.
Look through spreadsheets of contacts you made in the past. You can also reconnect with contacts you tried but failed to do business with in the past.
It’s a good idea to browse through your business cards from time to time. And last but not least, your CRM (customer relationship management) system is sure to contain a lot of old contacts. Investigate deals lost in the pipeline or even failed outreach in the lead database.
Try addressing them with a little more than just a simple “Hello, how are you? Would you have a moment to revisit my offer?”. Help them associate you with something that has added value to them. For instance, send them your latest blog article or an invitation to an interesting event.
Focusing on a single target group, for instance the toy shop segment or other children’s products, create a database of all the interesting companies which you can offer your service or product to.
Get their contacts and start reaching out. Be creative and come up with an engaging lead generation campaign. Why not send an intriguing letter in the post?
Never forget that cold calling is still in play, although many business owners don’t like to do it. You can also incorporate other channels into cold calling, including email or LinkedIn.
Marketing generates leads in many ways, so I won’t go into too much detail. In short, I will say that at Visibility, we make our own inbound marketing philosophy and I fully stand by it. It’s a mix of different channels and methods, so it’s a good idea to prepare a comprehensive marketing strategy. I’ll mention some of the basic channels:
- Content marketing
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Video marketing
- Online conferences
- TV advertising
Try a website visitor tracking tool, such as Leady, or the more sophisticated Lead Forensics. Using these tools, you’ll learn what businesses are visiting your websites and what content they’re viewing.
In addition to a source of contacts, you will get many hints about what people are interested in, including what might interest your current clients.
The use of LinkedIn is on the rise, and you too may be able to find your target audience there. There are several options on this social network:
- Cultivate your connection network – if you want your posts to have good impact, the recommended number of connections is a minimum of 3,000.
- Events – read the list of attendees at a relevant event and select potential clients from it.
- Competition – check out some of your competitors’ connection networks. It will have connections suitable for you, too.
- Actively generate leads on LinkedIn – create content, interact with others, write messages, and try to get a meeting at the right time.
This can be one of the best sources of business contacts. However, systematic work is required here as well. It isn’t enough to negotiate good terms with someone and sign a framework agreement on business cooperation. Mutual understanding, trust, motivation, goal setting, and regular administration of your cooperation are essential.
By administration, I mean regular meetings, updating the contact database, and optimising processes. In the case of a larger partner network, cooperation also requires a shared vision, like the one we have for the Visibility 360 Group.
The more complex your product or service is, the more you want to educate your partners and support them using sales materials.
If the nature of your company’s organisational structure permits you to do so, try asking your colleagues for leads. From time to time, a colleague of ours might say that an acquaintance needs marketing. We try to encourage our colleagues to do so and naturally, there is also a substantial commission if we successfully establish cooperation with the referred company.
The more you talk about your work and what your company does, the sooner you will be contacted by people you know on their own. Chances are that you, too, have your target audience within your community, or know “someone who knows someone” and can recommend you.
Marketers frequently attend various forms of “offline” networking events or conferences. However, this can also be done online, and I can recommend the https://events.b2match.com/ platform, where many virtual events could be found during the pandemic.
They are very well organised and the main advantage for businesspeople is fast and efficient matchmaking, which you can plan ahead for a large number of attendees.
Ask your current clients for referrals. Try this during a face-to-face meeting or send out a mass email to all your clients where there is even a minimal chance they would refer you on. You can get quality leads this way, and if you’re clever, new loyal clients. 🙂
You may have had a successful collaboration in the past, but for whatever reason, communication fizzled out. Some of your past clients may have walked away because they wanted to try something different. Or they thought things could have been better, only to discover things could also be much worse with their new provider and would now give anything to return to you. Whatever the reason, be sure to keep them in mind.
If you’re too busy to do lead generation on your own, you can try external cold calling specialists or other forms of lead generation. Besides, they often have a lot of data already and may readily provide you with just the lead databases themselves. The rule here is that the more complex your service or product, the more information you need to provide to the external contractor.
This resource can be controversial, but it can also be very effective as your competitor’s clients need precisely what you offer too. The important thing, however, is to identify your USP (unique selling proposition) and distinguish yourself. Find testimonials or other sources where your competitors communicate with their clients and compile a contact list. Just one final note: Under no circumstances undercut your own price. That’s just not done :).
Try one of these sources to populate your CRM with new leads, whilst not forgetting to qualify your leads. You only want to collaborate where it really makes sense and has a future. There are certainly plenty of other ways. Just be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment in creating new opportunities.