Before we jump into the nuts and bolts of cold calling and nurturing relationships in the next blog installment, let's lay some groundwork. Because let's be real—you can't connect with prospects if you don't even know who they are, right? So, how do you go about uncovering these elusive potential clients who are just waiting for your call?
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Believe it or not, when I first dipped my toes into this business, I was flipping through a tangible Yellow Pages directory to find new clients. Yes, you heard that right! This was back in the day when the internet was still a fledgling phenomenon. From the tactile pages of directories to the digital screens of LinkedIn, I've traversed it all. Each method has its merits, and I personally vouch for the effectiveness of the strategies we're about to explore, having used them throughout my journey to find that all-important new data to call upon.
Leverage Your Existing Network
You might be surprised how often your existing connections can introduce you to potential clients. Have you asked your current clients, partners, or even friends and family if they know someone who could benefit from your services? Sometimes a warm introduction is the best way to get your foot in the door. If you have not read it already, here is a blog on how you can grade your exsisting clients.
Industry Events and Trade Shows
In a pre-pandemic world, industry events were nothing short of gold mines when it came to prospecting. Yes, they demand both time and financial investment, but the potential return on that investment is often remarkable. Preparation is key: make sure to conduct thorough research on the companies that will be attending so you can zero in on the ones that align best with your business needs.
Here at Qimtek, we typically participate in 2 to 4 trade shows annually, and I can't emphasise enough how valuable these events are for finding new business opportunities. But let's be practical; exhibiting at a trade show is no small feat. Costs can easily climb upwards of £4,000. However, the rewards can far outweigh the costs if you select the right event that targets the niche for your engineering business. You're not just casting a wide net; you're spearfishing for the right opportunities.
Here is a list of engineering and manufacturing shows in the UK.
If you're considering taking the plunge into exhibiting, why not reach out to us for some expert advice? We regularly partner for events like Southern Manufacturing, SUBCON, and The Engineering Supply Chain Show, which often runs alongside MACH. We've navigated these waters before and would be more than happy to share our insights to help you make the most of your trade show experience.
Use LinkedIn Smartly
LinkedIn is far more than a digital Rolodex or a platform to scout your next career move. With its advanced search functionality, you can fine-tune your hunt for potential clients by sorting companies based on industry, size, location, and other factors. Once you've spotlighted a promising lead, check if you share any common connections who could provide a warm introduction.
Investing in LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator can be a game-changer, enhancing your search capabilities substantially. After connecting through a thoughtfully crafted message, my personal approach is to follow up with a phone call for a more in-depth introduction. This sequence—connecting online and then following it up with a phone conversation—creates a well-rounded first impression.
Here's a pro tip: Amplify your LinkedIn network by connecting with your existing customers and inviting them to follow your company page. This can be accomplished in just a couple of hours and is absolutely worth the investment of time.
Once your network is bolstered, the next step is keeping your audience engaged. How about instituting a regular 'Feature Friday' post showcasing recent projects or components? Such a strategy not only highlights your capabilities but also keeps your audience updated and engaged.
Business Directories and Online Resources
Websites like Yellowpages, Industry-specific directories, and even Google can be useful resources for identifying potential clients. Additionally, tools like Hunter.io can help you find the email addresses of decision-makers in these organizations. When you find companies this way, use linkedin to see if you can find the name of the person you need to talk with.
Dive into Industry Publications
Publications, both print and online, often profile companies and leaders in your industry. This not only gives you names but also the context around what challenges these companies might be facing — valuable intel for your first conversation.
Devil's Advocate Moment:
Now, not every prospect is worth pursuing. Remember the criteria I discussed in the blog bout grading your current customers? if not, you grade you customers A to C and basically, you are looking for more A's.
Keep that in mind to qualify your leads before adding them to your 'To-Call' list. The shotgun approach—calling everyone in sight—wastes resources and, let's face it, feels a bit desperate. Be selective and intentional in your prospecting.
Are you a Supplier Member of Qimtek Yet?
So, you've done your homework, utilised all these diverse strategies, and identified potential clients. What's next? It's time to put all of these methods into action. However, if you're looking to really supercharge your prospecting efforts, there's one more tool you might want to consider adding to your arsenal: a Qimtek Supplier Membership.
Becoming a Qimtek Supplier Member offers you a world of opportunities tailored specifically for engineering businesses. As a member, you gain access to a database filled with potential clients who are actively seeking suppliers for their projects. You can receive real-time project notifications, allowing you to jump on new opportunities as soon as they arise. Additionally, our team of experts is always on hand to offer guidance, ensuring you find the right fit for your services.
The membership isn't just about generating new leads; it's about building long-lasting relationships. You'll be part of an established network of engineering and manufacturing professionals, opening doors to collaborations, partnerships, and a wealth of other business possibilities. Being a Qimtek Supplier Member is akin to having a VIP pass to a club that offers an avenue for both robust client acquisition and continued professional growth.
In summary, prospecting is an art form that combines traditional methods with modern tools, a splash of networking, and a dose of creativity. It's a continuous process of refining your strategies and staying adaptive. With a Qimtek Supplier Membership, you'll have a trusted partner by your side to navigate this ever-evolving landscape. So why not take that final step to elevate your prospecting game? Contact us today to find out how you can become a Qimtek Supplier Member and turn those promising prospects into profitable partnerships.