How to find potential customers

Searching (scouting) and acquiring customers is a very difficult job because once you have defined the territories in which to go, you need to be able to find the right channels to find the right contacts for the needs of the company. There are traditional and unconventional methodologies and techniques, just need to understand which of these may be of interest to acquire the defined target.

The traditional method, at least before the covid, to find contacts is to exhibit at the “X” fair and wait for some of the visitors to show up attracted by the stand or by the products on display. The exhibition process at the fair is important because it emphasizes the presence of the company and the brand in the area, despite the fact that there is not a large number of visitors to the stand. The contact of the company always remains in the catalog of the year and those who are interested can always browse it to find the contact at a later time. During fairs there can be many contacts, but have you ever wondered if they are the right ones or if they were enough according to the visitors of the fair? Generally less than 1% of visitors to a fair stop at your stand.

The competitors analysis can provide other more targeted contacts but must be aware that if we are looking for a customer / distributor that must deal with the brand exclusively, he is not always willing to leave the competing brand he currently works with for a new brand he does not know about, not even what the actual return from the market might be. Competitor analysis often makes it possible to find customers / distributors who want to work with the brand without exclusivity and this facilitates the inclusion of a new brand in the reference market.

A research that is often not taken into consideration is the analysis of complementary companies, that are those companies that produce products that are not necessarily in competition with the company in question. Examples include smoke machine manufacturers and event lighting manufacturers; coffee producers and prosecco producers; furniture hinge manufacturers and castor manufacturers; and so on. It is necessary to understand what the company produces and what other products may be be found with target customers.

An important database that can be analyzed, as long as it is available in the chosen country, is the copmany registry where companies can be consulted and filtered on the basis of product category, size, number of employees and any other parameters. Obviously this method retrieves an important list of companies that must be skimmed and analyzed according to the needs and target customers.

The world of trade associations, associations of companies or professionists can provide as many interesting contacts as they group many players in the relevant sector in a single structure. The associations do not normally provide contact lists of the members also for a matter of privacy, but they allow to send email marketing to the members, often over a fee, or they grant a space in an event / conference / congress that they carry out in order to be able to make a presentation of the company and the brand.

The structures of the National and International Chambers of Commerce, since they were created with the aim of facilitating economic and commercial development between companies, provide the service of finding potential partners / customers through meeting agendas in addition to the networking events that they periodically organize. The collaboration with the Chambers of Commerce involves the payment of the membership fee and the payment of the requested services.

The methods indicated provide useful tools for finding lists of potential customers, but the second step is just as difficult as it consists in getting in touch with the right person in the company and this information can often be found via LinkedIn or on the company website. There are other sites that allow you to find the contacts of people in companies such as RocketReach and other professional social networks such as Xing.

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