Building a Prospect Database
How to build an effective customer and prospect list
There are many ways to build a prospect database, but none can add new prospects as quickly as buying or renting a list. These methods are worth trying since they don't cost much, and they generally result in better prospects than commercial lists. In addition, leads you generate yourself belong to you completely, unlike commercial lists that you buy the rights to use. You can use them however you see fit.
Note: Databases are critical
The value of your business is quantified by the quality of your customer base. Save time and money by connecting with the right people the first time. It is important for your database to be detailed and accurate. Keep it updated and always ask your customers if their information is correct.
Use these techniques to build your own prospect database:
- The old-fashioned cold call is a surefire way to build a database of customers and potential leads. But don’t stop there. Remember that every time a person on your staff comes in contact with a prospect, their information should be added to your database.
- Join prominent community organizations: Chambers of Commerce, Convention and Visitors' Bureaus, and charitable groups. Participate in community events where you can reach your target market.
- Cross-pollinate with businesses that target similar markets. For example, a hair salon and a clothing boutique, or an accounting firm and law firm. Share lists, swap brochures and promotional materials, offer discounts to each other’s customers, or co-sponsor events such as an educational seminar for clients of both businesses.
- Provide registration cards at events and conduct periodic surveys.
- Business card fish bowls at tradeshows and online registration forms are other ways to capture information on your prospects to build a database.
- Collect business cards from new people you meet, make sure you gather their contact information, and qualify what level of a lead that they are for you.