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Generating sales leads is often a long-term process that involves consistently making contact with potential customers. Most people won’t buy from you the first time around, so the more points of contact you have with them, the more likely they will grow to know, like and trust you. Half the battle is building meaningful relationships. Here are the most effective sources of sales leads to get you connected to the right people.

  1. Former Clients
    Possibly, the most trusted source of information about a company will come from previous clients. If you recently served someone who was happy with your product or service they can become an “evangelist”. Ask for the name and contact info of someone they know who may also need your help.
  2. Referrals
    You may be just starting out and not have many previous clients. It’s okay to reach out to people in your network to find out if they know anyone who could benefit from your offer. This is a “warm” lead and an easy way to break the ice with someone who you’ve never met.
  3. Other Companies Who Serve Your Clients
    Once you figure out who your target market is, you can connect with other companies who serve them. These are not necessarily your competitors, but others who have access to these people but don’t do exactly what you do. For example, if you are a plumber, connect with companies that do bathroom renovations and see if they would like to take you on as a subcontractor.
  4. Trade Shows and Conferences
    Participating in trade events is a great way to gain exposure for your brand and meet new prospects. It doesn’t always result in an immediate sale, but it creates awareness about your business, and you can offer a giveaway in exchange for a business card. Later, you can follow up to make future offers.
  5. Google Searches
    Google is like a modern-day genie. Need something? Just ask! Do searches to figure out where new opportunities can be found. For example, if you are selling a product to people with dogs, search Google for “pet services near me”. The results will lead you to businesses in your industry that may be able to partner with you.
  6. LinkedIn Searches
    You can search for people on LinkedIn by job title. If you serve executives, try searching for people with job titles such as VP, CEO and Director. Be careful though: don’t try to sell yourself too hard or they will not engage with you. Instead, research their recent posts and activity and connect with them on interests you have in common. This is a slow process, but very effective.
  7. Community Organizations
    It’s been said that million dollar deals often start on the golf course. It doesn’t matter what sport you play, what your hobbies like or where you volunteer. Belonging to a community organization is a great way to develop relationships that will build trust and lead to referrals.
  8. Social Media Engagement
    Building a social media presence is a popular and cost-effective way to build brand recognition and awareness of your business. When done right, your brand messaging can create a huge demand for your product or services. As people become familiar with your brand and how you can help them, you will be their number one choice for who they would like to work with.
  9. Online Sales Funnels
    Building digital sales funnels to drive traffic to your website or build a mailing list is a great way to expand your reach. Be aware that to build these funnels you must be very tech savvy and understand how to advertise online. It may be worth hiring an expert to help you reach people through digital ads.
  10. Write for Industry Publications
    People like to work with experts and writing articles for respected journals or magazines will give you credibility. Your article will not only be seen by an audience of hundreds or thousands of people, but you will be in the spotlight and may get several incoming leads as a result.

BONUS: Local Networking
Connect with your local Small Business Centre or Regional Innovation Centre. Take advantage of their workshops, advisory services and networking events to learn, grow and expand your network! They offer invaluable service and support for free or (low cost) to small business owners. 

If you’re ready to take the next step, book a meeting with an experienced Business Advisor at Small Business Centres Ontario. We have 54 offices across Ontario.  Working with a Business Advisor means you are not alone and that you can get help to build your plan.  Find a location near you.

Want to learn more about effective sales processes? Check out our free online course, “Sales”.

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