Before you spend another dime on a cold call list from a list broker. Stop. Breathe. And read this column. Part of my job as a consultant is to…. well consult. That means that I often recommend ideas and products my clients may not be aware of or may not consider for their business. One of the most popular segments in my workshop covers locating cold calling lists for little or no money. Many small business owners make the mistake of spending thousands of dollars a year with a list broker when they don’t have to. Before you follow suit and make the same mistake consider these options.
San Francisco Book of Lists/Business Times/Crain’s-These multi-regional publications are the premier resource for generating prospects. Very popular in the Bay area, The San Francisco Business Times is a weekly business newspaper focusing on stories covering the top businesses in the area. Everything from graphic designers to philanthropists are spotlighted in this publication. I personally enjoy reading the articles covering the key executives and their companies. It’s a great way to get a more personalized view of a potential client. In addition, the publication also produces,”The List” which covers the top 25 companies in various industries. The listing offers the standard company name, address, phone number, but also lists the names of some key executives, website addresses, number of employees and total revenue. Lastly, they publish an annual “Book of Lists” which is a more complete version of the weekly list but on a larger scale. Don’t live in the Bay area? No problem, check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what the local business newspaper is in your area. For example, Crain’s produces similar publications in Chicago, Detroit and other cities throughout the US. The cost for both the San Francisco Business Times and the annual Book of list is $89.00 for a 1 year subscription. Be sure to ask about any discounts or special offers they may offer (I currently offer gift certificates for discounts on subscriptions for attendees of my workshops).
Prospects by Justsell.com-I love this site. I stumbled upon this website quite by accident. Register at the site and receive up to 50 new leads, weekly in various industries via e-mail for free. Justsell.com gives you a link to pick and choose which industry and city you want to focus on. You can buy the entire directory which includes thousands of names, address, emails etc for about $800.00 or simply sign up for the weekly e-mail prospects for free. Considering the directory covers the entire US as well as Canada and a variety of industries including technology and pharmaceutical I think its money well spent. So the choice is yours.
Reference USA- This is a great resource that’s’ available at….the library. Yep, the library is still one of the best resources for cheap leads that you can customize yourself. Reference USA is a compilation of over 10 million business and residential listings and very comparable to Dunn and Bradstreet. The names are updated every 6 months and can be downloaded and formatted onto floppy or printed directly from the site. One drawback however is that you can only tag 25-50 names at a time. Once you’ve downloaded them, you must un tag those same names or wind up with duplicates. Reference USA normally sells this directory for around $600.00 and is available in DVD or printed form. No time to get to the library? No problem, you can access the info on their site from your home or office computer with your library card. And speaking of the library be sure to go to your main branch and check out the business and technology section. It’s worth the trip just to see the new and diverse directories and business resources available, for free. And still a great reason to get a card and see your tax dollars at work.