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Happy Hunting!

By Wendy Weiss
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005

Before you ever get on the telephone, send a marketing piece or set up an appointment with a potential customer, you must first identify whom that customer might be. To do that, you will need to create an "ideal customer profile"—a profile of who would be the best possible prospect for you and whatever you are selling.

Be very specific. You are creating the model to which you will match all prospects. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to find those prospects. Look at the entire demographics, location or target region, revenues, number of employees, specific industries and, especially, the title of the decision-maker. If you are in the consumer market, look at age, income level, marital status, interests... whatever might be relevant.

Once you have an ideal customer profile (and, by the way—you could have several different ideal customer profiles with a different approach for each), go to the library and tell the librarian exactly what you are looking for. She can probably tell you exactly where to find it—for free. At the library they have association directories, trade journals, business directories…

You can also join associations in related industries where you might find prospects. This will provide you with valuable networking opportunities, along with a membership directory. If you do not want to join an association, contact them anyway; sometimes associations sell their membership directories. You can do the same thing with trade publications in related industries. They sometimes sell their subscriber lists.

Your local chamber of commerce is also a good place to look for leads. And one of my favorite resources is the telephone book! Looking for prospects in a particular industry in your neighborhood? Open up the business yellow pages. There are online resources as well, such as, although there is generally a fee associated with these.

The last resource for finding leads is to rent a list. Find a broker with whom you are comfortable—someone who listens to your needs, is knowledgeable and helpful. And be specific about your parameters. The list broker acts as a liaison between you and the list owner. The broker works for you. You can also rent lists from list owners (i.e., companies or organizations that own their own in-house lists) or from list managers who are hired by list owners to manage and market their lists. Lists are generally rented on a one-time basis. If you rent a list and turn a prospect into a client, that client then becomes part of your in-house list or database (which, later, you can rent out!).

Because I almost never rent lists, I have asked Amanda Puppo, CEO of MarketReach, Inc., a New Jersey–based company focusing on appointment setting, list qualification and surveys, to give us her advice on renting a list. Amanda says:

1. Shop competitively on price, but remember that you want a source that will deliver what's promised and a broker that will be resourceful in helping you target your list.

2. You should (affordably) get the following "selects" on each "record": owner/president, address, phone number, fax number and often the staff size and sales volume, if you are going after businesses. If you are targeting individuals, you can get information like homeowner/renter status, marital status and income.

3. A good list company updates their lists at least once a quarter. The best ones do so once a month. People move. Companies go out of business. Situations change. A good list allows you to spend your time productively on qualified information. A company that only updates records once a year (especially in the personal/individual market) may not have the most recent information, which will limit your success.

4. The good news is that a targeted list of approximately 500 companies should cost no more than a few hundred dollars. The more records you purchase, the less the cost of each individual record. Each record will cost you between 15 and 90 cents, depending on how comprehensive the information.

You can reach Amanda by email at or by phone at (609) 448-6364.

Happy hunting!

About the Author
Wendy Weiss, “The Queen of Cold Calling & Selling Success,” is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her recently released program, Cold Calling College, and/or her book, Cold Calling for Women, can be ordered by visiting ( Contact her at Get Wendy’s free e-zine at (


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