When I was consulting to an airfreight company, some salespeople mentioned to me how they got their leads.
"We follow the UPS and FedEx trucks around, and we write down the businesses that have a lot of pieces going out.
" This is an interesting approach to list building, don't you think? Why, not? How are you going to buy a list that is so fresh and accurate as that which you can assemble, yourself? Yesterday, after an upbeat session at the office of one of my coaching clients, I dropped off a letter at the Post Office and noticed just my kind of prospect, in the category that I'm going to be testing, a few doors down.
I popped in, introduced myself, asked for a business card, noted they were busy, and quickly said I'm a coach and consultant and I'm going to call in for an appointment.
No problem, smiles all around, and I've accomplished several things: (1)I could see how busy this enterprise is, counting their customers in the middle of Thursday afternoon.
(2)I can sense the overall mood of the place, positive or negative.
(3)I can sense its openness to, or hostility toward receiving input from outside.
(4)I can break the ice, later mentioning I stopped by, and therefore, not being a stranger when I call.
(5)I can disqualify them from further attention, if they are obviously inappropriate.
Right now, I have a catalogue on my desk from yet another list company.
And while it is helpful as a planning device, because I get to examine available lists by industry, if I buy a thousand names and phone numbers, that list is "dumb.
" Even if it has financial data, the names of key functionaries and the like, I still can't easily eyeball the operations or learn what I can learn by driving around.
Granted, given security measures at larger firms, it's somewhat impractical to expect admittance, but you can canvass smaller firms on foot.
I've walked along with insurance and office machine salespeople and have seen them prospect this way, and there's no question, it works.
While it seems you're assembling perhaps 1-5 names per hour, they're updated, and they have a certain quality that you won't get, merely through buying them from a list source.
Plus, you can call your list in a very specific geographical manner, setting a tight pattern of appointments that will optimize your time, later on.
After you've gathered the business cards, you feel confident, and this carries over into your phone calls.
And of course, if someone can give you a few minutes right on the spot, then go for it!