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7 hidden places to find new business

Image courtesy of Flickr user jlcwalker

Regardless of the industry you're in, a huge new business opportunity awaits -- it's called a key account. That's the ultimate prize for any salesperson, so pick your ultimate target. Make it a company that is big in size and big in name.

Where will you find your next key account? Sam Parker and Jim Gould,  co-founders of a website for sales and marketing professionals called, draw on 30 years of combined experience to answer that question. They have created a sales tip resource guide, "50 Ways & Places to Find New Business," that can save you enormous amounts of time researching these accounts.

The authors' purpose was to provide a comprehensive guide of new business information, which was previously fragmented and even unknown to salespeople. Here is a sampling of the tips Parker and Gould provide for digging up clients:

1. Corporate press releases announcing new contracts. Companies frequently announce when they win a large contract. That new business typically means growth for these companies, and contracts are often for extended periods of time. Two widely used press release sites are Businesswire and PR Newswire.

2. Moving announcements. If the company is moving, that may suggest it expects to grow. Perhaps the opportunity will be in six months, but moving to a larger space indicates that a company could have new needs. Moves can be announced in local newspapers, public records, and press releases.

3. Employment classified ads. Want ads, when read properly, can be a huge source of opportunities if you are seeking new clients. For instance, if the company is recruiting a senior IT security specialist, then it's logical to assume that the enterprise is prepared to make further investments in tech products and services. Employment ads are available in many places, including local and national newspapers, job websites, and trade magazines and publications. 

4. Executive hires. A company bringing new managers aboard creates tremendous sales opportunities. A new executive hire represents a threat to the current service provider and an opportunity for new providers. Typically, the new executive is eager to make changes, and the company is prepared to support such initiatives with new spending. Such leadership moves are often made public in corporate press releases, in the business section of local newspapers, and trade publications.

5. Venture capital firms' websites. Venture capital firms sometimes invest in management consulting firms. The consultants that receive these investments usually invest the money relatively soon in a variety of areas. See vFinance or the National Venture Capital Association for information on VC firms.

6. Customer lists published on websites. The authors advise visiting your customers' sites to see who they list as their clients. You may choose to mention in your communication with these consultants that one of your clients is ABC company. Do not misrepresent this information as a referral.

7. Hoover's Online. Hoover's Online offers free access to its database of both public and private consultants. The basic company profile, called a "capsule," provides a quick overview of the firm, contact information, and the names of key people. You can search by name and industry for a quick way to obtain a listing of potential contacts.

Here is a bonus idea not to overlook. Ask your good customers about which trade shows they like to exhibit at. There is truth in the adage that birds of a feather flock together.

Image courtesy of Flickr user jlcwalker