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May 9, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

One of the things most people want to do when they visit a new city is try new restaurants. In a large city, this can be a daunting task – there are hundreds, if not thousands of options, and so little time to research them all. How do you discover the best restaurants for your taste and budget? How do you know if it’s worth waiting in line to get a table? What should you order when you get there?

Generating your own leads without marketing support is a similarly overwhelming endeavour. There are so many contacts out there, but how do you know which ones might be interested in your solutions? How can you find the right people at the organizations that do need what you’re selling? Turns out, you can use some of the same strategies you would use to research restaurants, and end up with the same satisfying results.

Use Social Media

One of the most common ways to find great restaurants is to read reviews posted on social media or online forums. While there are no “reviews” for your potential leads in a sales cycle, you can still use social media to find and filter the most relevant contacts. In the same way you might filter for “Chinese food” or “Vegetarian” when looking for a restaurant, you can use sites like Linkedin to find specific job titles, geographies, and companies. This will drastically narrow your list of options, and give you a list of people that fall within your basic criteria.

Attend an Event

Food festivals often center around a theme and are great ways to discover many new restaurants that you want to visit later. Industry events are similar – find a few events that cover your industry, and send a few sales delegates to network or present. In just a short period of time, you’ll meet many new potential leads that you can follow up with later on. Try to take the same approach you would at a food festival – you’re there to explore, learn, and make light conversation with like-minded people. You don’t need to close the sale that day, but do remember to collect contact information for anyone you do meet so that you can follow up with more information later.

Ask for referrals

Most people trust a recommendation from friends or family when it comes to restaurants, so why not use the same technique with generating leads? Ask your network for new contacts or referrals – this method may not scale well, but the credibility you gain from a personal reference will help to move the lead down the sales funnel much more quickly.

Generating leads doesn’t need to be intimidating – just use some of the skills you already use all of the time in other areas of your life, and approach it with the same level of passion as you would finding a restaurant. With these techniques, you won’t go home hungry.

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