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Former Clients, New Sales Leads

February 2, 2011

Generating sales leads come from diverse places. Sometimes the lead generation comes from industry associations posting requests for proposals. Sometimes leads come from companies looking for specific vendors to do business with. Other times networking events or social activities trigger sales leads. All are good sources for recruiting new customers.

Recently when I was asked by my alma mater to create a solicitation request for an annual fund drive, I was reminded of the importance of making sales calls to former customers, clients and associates. Alot of non-profit organizations create annual appeal letters requesting funding. Their lists are targeted into batches of current donors, potential donors and past donors. Their lists display one-time contributors, event participants, and repeat annual supporters. Often the organization’s focus is on donors who have given frequently or who have given large amounts of money. It makes sense the frequency and larger monetary gifts are noticed first. But there is always a large pool of past donors and friends of the organization that go unnoticed because they haven’t been connected to the association for awhile or haven’t donated recently. Although the communication may have cooled off, there is often a warm relationship that only requires alittle time and attention to get refueled.

Like organizations, business owners may forget about past clients. They might be a long time, repeat client from five years ago. A one-time client who was 100% pleased with doing business with us. It might be an individual we did a few projects with but forget to go back to for more business when other larger clients came along. If you are looking for some fresh sales leads right now, you might want to pay attention to past clients. You could generate new income by reconnecting with former customers.

Today’s post is meant to motivate you to make a list of old accounts worth reactivating. Review your client records from 1, 3, 5, or more years ago and see what names resonate with you. Perhaps there are clients you would love to work with again. Maybe there was a dynamic client who always connected you to new business. Possibly there is a company who has grown substantially and can hire you more frequently now. You don’t know until you reach out to them again. Sometimes finding customers seems hard – searching, scouring for leads and knocking on unfamiliar doors. But business doesn’t always have to be hard. It takes a smart entrepreneur to realize connecting with past, satisfied customers might be an easier way to generate new sales leads today.

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