Getting new business leads can not be equated with conventional marketing methods like advertising. A new business lead is one where your efforts to promote selling your product or service is more focused and the likelihood of clinching orders is better than a generic marketing activity.
Let’s see how and where we can get great business leads.
Your existing customers
New business leads can be effectively got from one prime source: Your existing customers. Customers, who are satisfied with your product or service, particularly when executed with sincerity, commitment, professionalism and post-sales support, will always be happy to spread a word or two about you. In my design services, I got at least 3 major leads, i.e. new customers who were referred to me by my very first customer.
Some times, existing customers can provide you great business leads for diversification too. An industrialist, who was making hydraulic power-packs had been systematically and sincerely serving one of his major clients over several years. When that client wanted some specific Test Rigs to be developed for them which involved more of mechanical systems, electronics and instrumentation along with some amount of hydraulic system, they encouraged this person to diversify into the line of making Test Rigs. They gave him the order, counting on his trustworthiness. He took the plunge boldly and subsequently making Test Rigs became a major and successful line of business for him.
Your customer’s competitors
If your products and services are in need to your customers, it is quite likely that their competitors too would be in need of them. One proactive way of business approach is to get in touch with such competitors and do the promotion. But you have to be extremely careful to make sure that none of your written or verbal commitments to your existing customers about any specialty products / services, any copyright or confidentiality issues are breached. Any loss of trust can backfire not only with your existing customers but with the new clients too, if trust becomes a casualty.
A natural and non-proactive method of getting great business leads from your customer’s competitors is through the “migratory birds”, namely, the executives, who were earlier working with your original customer, now joining the competitors’ firm!
Where your relationship with them has been good, they are sure to call you and ask for your product or service which they were already quite familiar and comfortable with!
Your suppliers, who are happy and comfortable in having business deals with you, are quite likely to have many contacts, who are likely in need of the products or services that you offer. By proactively spreading word through your suppliers, you will be able to get new business leads. Some of your suppliers may even do such a service voluntarily without your asking them.
When time and life carries us along in different directions, we gradually lose touch with our bosom buddies of the good old college days. At times, Alumni associations arrange for meeting of the college mates after a lapse of 20 or 25 years. When such a happy get- together takes place, you will be surprised to meet many of your forgotten and not-yet-forgotten friends, who are placed at various status levels of the society with varying levels of clout around them. Some of them might be industrialists, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, consultants, and even politicians.
You will be really surprised to see several of them showing keen interest in your business activities and would be too glad to offer help without even asking. You may get great business leads, potential contacts and new agencies or dealerships through such interactions.
Participating in Trade shows by hiring a stall and showcasing your product or service is of course one of the time-tested marketing techniques, but it is quite a powerful method in getting very effective business leads. The greatest advantage in trade shows is that you get to meet most potential customers from many geographical locations in one place. You may get the opportunity to get new distributors and agents, possible exporting opportunities, proposals for tie-ups and collaborations and so on, if you properly focus on the right type of trade show to participate based on the potential reach it gives.
Looking for and getting new leads, pursuing them earnestly and making full use of the opportunities when they present themselves are the keys of sustained success in business.