Leads are the lifeblood of your business. And if you’re just waiting for new potential clients to find your website, you’re probably losing opportunities.
While you still may use content-marketing techniques to draw people in electronically, try some of these methods for old-fashioned beating the bushes.
Reconnect with Your Rolodex
Whether you still keep track of your contacts with a Rolodex , or you’ve transferred all the info to an Outlook file years ago, the point is to pick up the phone and call people. Identify who you know at a company you’re targeting, or who you can be introduced to at a company. Make some calls, and ask for a meeting. Your goal is to meet with the buyer. At smaller companies, this will often be the owner or principal partner. Likewise, be generous with your referrals. If you have a client who would benefit from connecting with someone in your network, then link them up.
Buy a Book of Lists
Nearly every major metropolitan area in the country has a Business Journals publication. For each area it serves, Business Journals publishes an annual “Book of Lists,” that rank local businesses on a number of topics, from overall revenue and number of employees, to things like “Largest Software Companies,” or “Biggest Law Firms.” It’s a wealth of data you can use to methodically prospect new business.
Swap Leads with Other Consultants
The best consultants to swap leads with are those who offer services that are complementary to your own and who have the same or a similar target market as you.
Browse Competitor Websites
Who are your biggest competitors? Visit their websites to see if they promote the clients they work with (check any section marked “Portfolio” or something similar). If they do, then those client companies are fair game. If they’re working with your direct competitor, you know they have a need for services like yours. Then, follow the same steps listed above for getting a meeting.
Getting involved in your community is a great way to make new connections and organically create new leads. Always carry your business cards. But, look, folks: when you do this, don’t be pushy, and remember you’re not there to make a sale. Your goal, when you volunteer at your church function, or with your daughter’s softball league, is to actually do good in your community. While you’re there, you can also build real relationships, which — if you’re being authentic when you get involved — may pay off once you’re back at your desk.
Read the Newspaper
Both your local newspaper and industry publications have “People on the Move” sections that chart movement in the business communities they cover. Use them as a resource to find out who’s been promoted or hired. Maybe someone you know just landed a C-level position at a company you’re trying to break into. Get in touch with that person and see if you can schedule a meeting.
Go to the Pub on Election Night
There’s a different crowd watching the election returns come in at a bar than you’d find watching, say, Monday Night Football. People who are out and watching election returns socially are often connected to local politics, or are involved in businesses that care about what happens in your statehouse or the White House more than the average patron.
Talk to Your Lawyer
This is always good advice, because your lawyer knows pretty much everyone.
This all takes time. You’re trying to develop a critical mass of leads so you can keep your pipeline filled with new work. Be patient and persistent, and you’ll eventually see the payoff in new leads and new clients.