Building Prospect Lists

A Prospect List is used to determine who is worth further expenditure in terms of time and money in order to turn them into customers.  Some ways of building such a list for retail business are:

  • Ask your customers for names of friends.  Offer them an incentive — a special offer or a discount voucher valid in your store — for introductions that result in a sale.  If you’ve been communicating with your customers on a regular basis and have measured their responses, you shouldn’t be surprised at how readily they’ll act as references.  For high quality leads (although less of them), what works well is when you tell your customer that you’ll be mentioning their name in your mail approach to the prospect.
  • In-store promotions using take-ones, complete with reply coupons.  Depending on your type of business, an in-store promotion can be used to gain names of prospects — and customers! — you are normally not in a position to record (a supermarket, for example).  Let your cashiers or promoters hand them out.  When all the names are in, compare them to those customers who are already on record — your communications must not treat the latter as prospects!
  • Advertising that prompts a request for a free booklet or money-saving tips or free quotations.
  • Use trade directories and business directories compiled by a town’s publicity office.
  • Watch the local paper for new appointments, new management, or announcements of new businesses.
  • Ask for referrals in your correspondence: names of other people who might appreciate receiving a similar mailing.
  • Competitions are a good way of gaining names on a broad basis.  After completion of the promotion, participants should be qualified by means of a mailshot or email offer.
  • Other sources are structured organisations in your area: golf clubs, country clubs, art societies, municipal lists.  Even a “New Neighbour” club is a valuable source of prospects.  Provide some form of sponsorship for the organisation that welcomes new residents to town, with the object of getting names and addresses in return.


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