Article source: http://www.profitgazette.com/. Used with author’s permission.
New to a sales career? Want to market yourself but don’t have the money to do so? Tired of cold calling and prospecting? Wish there were an easier way to get the word out about your services?
Does this sound like you? This was what I felt like when I got my first sales job selling copiers ten years ago. My sales manager back then was into the traditional methods of getting Brand-new business; that is, prospecting, cold calling, booking appointments, doing product demonstrations, and closing sales. The problem is, when you’re Brand-new to the sales field, this is time consuming. Cold calling is not only one of the most difficult things to do, it also takes too much of your time, time which can be better spent in front of prospects.
So what do you do? There is still a need for cold calling, but it should only be part of your overall prospecting equation. Until you make business contacts and connections and have a wide business network, try some free online resources which can help you. The following is my list of online marketing methods which you can try. None of these on its own will generate enough business for you, but taken together it could give you a good start. Best of all, all these suggestions are free. So take a half day and try these:
1. Post a free classifieds ad on craigslist.org. Craigslist is ranked the 41st biggest website in the world (by alexa.com). What this means is that millions of people visit the site every month; that is, millions of potential clients. So if you’re a lawyer, a financial consultant, an insurance broker, a real estate broker, a contractor, or you sell anything at all, there is category for you to post a free classifieds ad. Classifieds ads posted on craigslist.org stay there for 45 days, so you only need to post once every month and a half. But even better is that these classifieds ads find there way into Google search results. So, even people that are not specifically searching for your product or service on the actual Craigslist site might be coming across your ad through search engines.
2. Create a free profile on trade-pals.com. TradePals is a directory of business professionals, entrepreneurs, sales people, and trades people across the U.S. and Canada. It is categorized by city and business category. The website provides sales leads to its members. Basically, you create a profile and place it in the proper city and category. So let’s say that you are an engineering consultant in Miami. You create a profile and place it in the engineering category in that city. If someone from Miami is searching for an engineering consultant and sees your profile they can contact you by filling in a contact form and you will be notified by email that someone wants to do business with you. TradePals allows you to post a photo of yourself. Take advantage of this option as profiles with photos are viewed more often.
3. Create a free profile on MySpace.com and join in on the discussions in some of the business groups on that website. Myspace is populated mostly by teens and younger adults, so the audience may not be your target market, but there are some mature people using the site too so it’s worth a shot. The good thing is that this website is ranked #28 in the world (by alexa.com) so a lot of people find there way to this site.
4. Create a free profile on ziggs.com. Ziggs allows for a comprehensive profile and also places it into categories. But instead of a directory style approach, it uses a search option. For example, you can search a keyword “lawyer” in Brand-new York, and you’ll be shown all the results of lawyers in Brand-new York that have created a profile.
5. Create a profile in business discussion forums and join in on the discussions. By adding your 2 cents into these discussions people will see you as an expert in your given field. Include you business phone number in your profile so that people that want to contact you can easily do so. Two of the best online forums that I have found are small-business-forum.com and smallbizgeeks.com.
These five suggestions can get you started and get your name out there as a business professional. Together, these websites receive millions of visitors a day. Each of these visitors is a potential client. Building your own website costs money and advertising it will cost even more. Take advantage of websites that are already there for you to use. In addition to these, there are dozens of other websites that offer free advertising, from press release websites, like pr.com, to business networking websites, like linkedin.com. See what works best for you and use the services that they offer. So, while you are cold calling and prospecting in the traditional sense, these websites will be working for you and advertising your services 24 hours a day.
Tino Buntic’s B2B sales career ranges from selling copiers to selling insurance. Currently, he is running his newly launched website, http://www.trade-pals.com