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Sales Tips For Discovering New Leads

Mar 5, 2008
As a sales or business development professional, you know there is nothing quite like the deal that puts you over quota. That signed contract coming across the fax machine. That phone call telling you that the board approved your plan. That eleventh hour email on the last day of the month giving you the green light. But all great sales closes start with great leads and we all face the same challenge:

Where do you get great leads?

To help readers get the best sales leads possible we're offering the following tips to help generate great leads from great sources.

1. Networking. People like to work with others they trust. By joining local business groups or chapters of professional groups you can make connections with other professionals who can help refer new business to you. Just don't forget to return the favor by bringing your associates in to new business when it makes sense. In fact, if there's a contact that can help you, go out of your way to help them first. Also remember, networking isn't just about coffee and morning presentations, the online world has changed the way people network. If you aren't a member of LinkedIn already, sign up today. The site allows you to quickly connect with current and past colleagues on line and tap into their networks. If you are a member, make it your goal to reconnect with new associates every week.

2. Become the unofficial Human Resources department for your city or industry. We all get emails from friends and associates about someone either looking for a job or looking to hire. Become the matchmaker! When good companies find good candidates with your help everyone wins. Companies get an employee they trust without the expense of recruiting. Candidates win by avoiding long frustrating job hunts. You win by having another "in" with a company.

3. Use the Internet for leads. Sites like JigSaw and Goliath.ECNext.com allow sales professionals to build targeted lead lists. Need to talk to the VP of Operations at a regional manufacturing firm? Just type the title or company name into JigSaw and you'll probably find who you need, including their name, phone number and email address. Want to know the name of every marketing executive at software companies in Boston? Goliath allows you to name parameters and instantly download lists!

4. Eat Your Competitors Lunch. Many companies post the names of their clients on their websites or in press releases. See who is currently working with your competitors and look to make inroads. If a company is working with your competitor they are probably qualified...they have budget and a need for your product or service. Now, get your script together to highlight how your product or service is better and reach out!

5. Use Your Own Website for Leads. Don't bury the "contact us" button on your website. Make it prominent on every page. Allow multiple options for site visitors to convert. In addition to a standard "contact us" form, offer whitepapers, web seminars and other freebies for anyone who provides contact information. Also, don't require a lengthy form. The last thing you want to do is drive a prospect away with a 20 question firm. A name, phone number and email is plenty to get you started.

New business is out there. By using multiple channels to drive prospects to you, you can quickly build your own pipeline, make great contacts and start busting that quota!
About the Author
Charlotte Buelow is a contributing business writer for Goliath. Goliath is one of the Internet's largest collections of business research, news and information. Learn more about Goliath.
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