This amazing strategy seems like such a no-brainer to me, but I am surprised all the time by people making things harder on themselves than they need to. Keep track of people who are interested (somewhat interested, very interested) in your products and services – then nurture those relationships and they are for sure going to be either future customers or rabid referrers.
A former colleague of mine, Brian Pleet of Strategico Marketing Group told me once that he has a database of 50,000 people. For a small business, that is really amazing. Brian had the forethought to never toss a contact name, even if it didn’t look like they’d do business. If you ever need a contact in Calgary, Canada – he’s your guy.
Leads become “warm” after you have made a connection. All the materials about how horrible cold calling is makes me chuckle because in the case of targeted calling to people you don’t know yet (but they fit your demographic and niche) is simply good business — unless you are getting 100% of your business through referrals.
Nurture your “more probable” prospective customers: people who fit well but don’t seem to be in a buying mode, or who have many of the characteristics of your best clients, because things change, and when they are ready to buy – they need to remember you. Make it easy for them.