Free Sales Leads:
How to Create Call Lists
Free sales leads are not that hard to find at all but you do need to do some work in order to be able to turn them into cold call lists. In this article I will show you some of the main resources professional sales people and lead generation organizations use in creating lists of companies to cold call. As you will see, most of the information you need to get started making cold calls is right at your fingertips!
If you are looking for a ready made list of companies with contact information, email address and phone numbers all set out for you to start calling then there is a good chance that you will have to pay for such a list (anywhere from 25 cents to over 1 dollar per contact). Apart from the expense, pre-built lists are often outdated and contain a lot of irrelevant information that may end up wasting time .
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Doing the Work
I am a big believer in doing your own work when cold calling and prospecting. or at least making sure that everyone involved is on the same page and follows the same process. You need to make sure everyone has the same message in order to engage customers and is asking the right questions in order to properly qualify prospects.
If you are looking for a list of free sales leads who are already interested in your company, product or service then that is not likely to happen, unfortunately. The reason for this is that unless you – or someone else – has actively marketed your message, how can you suppose that there are people out there that are going to be automatically interested in what you have to say? The closest you can come is by defining who your ideal customer is and then going after those kinds of companies.
For each of the sources of free sales leads listed below, you will still have to put some work into creating a sales lead sheet in Excel or in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application if you use one. After reading this article you should have no problem compiling lists of companies for you to contact and I tackle the question of identifying contacts within each company in another article.
Free Sales Leads Sources
The White Pages
What is wrong with just going through the phonebook in order to get free sales leads? It is a surprisingly simple idea and is not only free but also effective. Trying going to WhitePages.com and typing in your city and the kind of company you are looking to target to see what kind of results you get. This is the same as just picking up you copy of the YellowPages or WhitePages and going through it.
This is another great resource that allows you to search for companies within a specific industry and by location. You may have to experiment in order to find the right categories of sub-industries to search on but you can then save your searches and have a one-click view into lists of prospective companies for you to then target. Manta.com also provides some basic company information which may be useful, including the name of the CEO.
In case you are not familiar with it, LinkedIn is like a Facebook for business, a networking site that connects millions of professionals and companies. It is a great resource for looking up both companies and individuals as it provides very robust search options that let you narrow down by location, industry and other criteria. A great feature of LinkedIn that I like is that it shows you related companies and contacts to help you find other people working in a specific company or similar people or companies.
Jigsaw is another fantastic resource for free sales leads. With a free account you can have access to their updated contact lists for various companies. A paid account allows you to see e-mail addresses but you can usually figure these out for yourself. Jigsaw is great if you do not know who to contact within a company and want to reach out to a whole bunch of folks to see if someone can connect you to the right person.
For every industry there are plenty of websites and other ways to get free sales leads such as awards. events and industry associations. Just by doing a few Google searches you will be surprised at what you come up with in terms of finding lists of companies and even contacts for you to prospect. My own background is in IT and have have been a fan of using Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list and the Inc. 500 and 5000 list.
Not Free Sales Leads
There are plenty of companies out there who are happy to take your money in order to provide you with what they promise are seemingly inexhaustible numbers of companies and contacts for you to call. While I don’t suggest that you never pay for leads, you should always look at your return on investment (ROI) after the fact and make sure your money was well spent. For each list, how many sales opportunities did you create and how many deals did you close?
The main reason I would suggest paying for leads is in order to obtain data that you would otherwise not be able to. A lot of database companies will try and sell you on the fact that they have specific names and e-mail addresses but these are not hard to figure out as I show in another article. Also, it is unlikely you will get a list of the perfect contacts that you will be able to call and they turn out to be the right person (another reason I encourage doing the work!).
Working with lead generation teams in the past I have found that company size is one data element that is a bit harder to track than others. For instance, if you pull up a list of companies using the WhitePages or Manta you will likely end up with companies of all sizes and predominantly small business which make up 80% of businesses out there. Sorting through a list like that may be a hindrance if you plan to sell an enterprise solution costing over $10,000, say.
If you are fanatical about having the most comprehensive listing of companies available, then Hoover’s may be for you. It consists of what is probably the largest datatabase of business in the world, a mind-boggling 65 million+ companies and 85 million+ individuals within those companies. Hoovers is a standard fixture at many professional sales organizations and the premium version lets you create lists and have access to more information that the free version.
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Everybody Wants Free Sales Leads!
Have you ever noticed how companies and business put such a premium on sales leads? (Actually, I think you have because I read something to that effect
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