Dear Sales Doctor,
I am in new business sales and I really struggle where to get leads from. Are there any places you can recommend?
Prospecting is an important part of the sales process and one that requires a lot of time; however what is very important is you are focusing on the right type of business. I would recommend look at the clients you have acquired or that your company have won and identify which industries or types of company is your perfect customer; only then can you know the type of lead you should be looking for.
Every meeting I attend, I like to build rapport with the prospect and one of the best ways of doing this is to get them talking about themselves. One question I often ask is how long have you been working here and where were you working previously? Firstly this shows a real interest in the prospect and secondly it generates some leads for you to call afterwards. Depending on how the meeting went and the level of rapport you built; you could say to the prospect "you mentioned you previously worked at IBM, who could you recommend I speak to there about how I can help them?"
Another good question to show an interest and generate leads is to ask the prospect "which companies do you normally come up against in a tender?” Again the next two or three companies the prospect shares are more leads for you to call.
If you are out selling in the field, it's imperative that your time is spent wisely. Let's say you are based in London and have a new business meeting scheduled for a week’s time in Manchester at 15:00. I would now look to make further two to three meetings around that meeting to make the most of my time. There are some great free websites that allows you to enter an industry and an area to target such as IT software vendors in Manchester and it will provide a listing of numerous companies in and around that area to call. The websites I recommend are:
The final suggestion I have to generate leads is exhibitions. Depending on your target location and target customer, look up venues that hold exhibitions such as NEC in Birmingham, ExCeL, Olympia and Earls Court in London, GMex in Manchester etc. look up the calendar of events that are running throughout the year; choose the exhibition that is most likely to have your target customers exhibiting at and print off the exhibitor list. This will provide you with lists of companies, contact numbers and potentially a contact name.