Prospecting for business customers is different than attracting consumers. Once contact has been made the process is very similar but reaching the audience and stimulating interest is quite different. Social media and the Internet play a significant role in business prospecting. With today’s easy access to information prospects can be identified relatively quickly. However finding prospects is one thing – establishing a relationship is another. Generally it’s a good idea to offer something of value before asking for business. For example offering to send a prospective customer an email with 5 tips on how to reduce vehicle maintenance costs would be a good relationship opener. A follow up with how your company can provide services that include those cost cutting measures would be an effective way to draw a correlation between offerings and the benefits the customer seeks. Following are places to prospect for business customers:
- Manta – This business directory contains a general profile on most businesses. Often the business profile contains the owner name, website and sometimes an email address. Searches can be performed by service (e.g. plumbing, electrical) and city name. When searching for business prospects knowing the owner’s name is half the battle.
- Linked In – This business social media site is an effective way to establish business contacts. As with all social media it pays to be active. Setting up a Linked In account will allow connections to be made. Posting and responding to discussion topics as well as endorsing and recommending contacts will increase success at establishing connections.
- Inside View – This website provides information on businesses from a variety of sources. Knowing as much as possible about a business is a powerful asset when working to establish a relationship.
- Chamber of Commerce – This has for a long time been good way to establish relationships with local businesses. Members of these organizations will give business to other members so exchanges can be made to increase business for each other.