How do I create a prospect list?

It is said that sales success starts with the quality of your prospect lists.

A prospect list is a directory of potential clients who could benefit from the products and services of a business.

In my experience, there is no exact formula to share with you that will help create the perfect list. Instead, you must understand your customers, your products, and the different channels needed to build one. Warning: This can be time consuming, but there are long term benefits of doing it as well as you can.

Before you start building the list, consider how you will save it and use it. This will help you decide if a piece of paper, Excel or a piece of CRM software would be best. Also be mindful of the current Data Protection Regulations on holding data and its purpose.

What do you want to know about your prospect before you start collating the list? Name, phone number, e-mail address…

Do you want to narrow down your list criteria to specific locations, industries, company size, or demographic qualities?

As mentioned, building a targeted prospect list can take time and a bit of research, but the time upfront will save you so much wasted time contacting the wrong people.

Here are 15 steps you can follow to help build your prospect list:

  1. Have clarity of your offering and understand your potential buyer
  2. Profile your Ideal Customer
  3. Is there a list worth buying? However, this is often more a list of suspects rather than prospects!
  4. Who do your existing contacts know?
  5. Use LinkedIn Boolean search to find prospects, or look at the connections of people already in your network
  6. Explore hashtags in Twitter, Groups on LinkedIn and Facebook etc, to find an audience in your target market
  7. Get Networking, not only to meet them but to also hear suggestions
  8. Who are your competitors serving?
  9. Create a valuable website download to collect details of people interested in what you offer
  10. Use the search engines. Search for companies in your target market and geographical area
  11. What online directories are available?
  12. Read the press
  13. Get out on foot (eg make lists from industrial estate boards)
  14. Is your prospect a member of something or regulated in some way? If so, are they listed somewhere to show this?
  15. Ask prospects who else they know!

 The list you need is out there. You have just got to find it.

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