Last week I shared some ways that you can build your contact database without having to buy a list. Here are some more ways that you can grow your lead list on a limited budget. Sometimes it may seem obvious but it amazes me how many people think they are good networkers, yet they do not have a strategy for actively meeting people and creating a system to manage their prospects. The keys are to be proactive and interactive.
- When you attend industry trade shows, conferences, conventions, or other events that will attract members of your target market, interact at the event, proactively engage in conversations and exchange business cards.Write down details of your conversation on the back of the card and do not forget to follow-up.Personalize your follow-up for anyone you spoke with directly.
- Consider speaking at a conference or local event and gain credibility as a subject matter expert. Create a compelling topic that will draw interest. It is important to interact with people before and after your talk and exchange business cards.
- Try targeted telemarketing. I am not an advocate of dialing for dollars, frankly it is no fun to do and very annoying to those you call, BUT if you have a strong value proposition and your have done some research go ahead and make the call. Have a powerful opening line and most importantly state right up front the reason for your call and why they would benefit from talking a few minutes and talking to you. Whatever you do, DO NOT read word-for-word from a script.
- Embrace social media to share newsworthy information and create awareness about your company. LinkedIn is a business resource that you can use to interact with your target market through online communities. Twitter can be used to keep people up to date about interesting details about your product and/or service and Facebook is a social resource, but there are applications for small businesses. This is a valuable tool to stay connected with people and share information.
Always remember to embed networking into your day-to-day life and think of opportunities to find new contacts and build relationships with those you meet by following up and staying in touch.