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    Say “generate sales leads” and there is a tendency for thoughts to first jump to social media. The fascination with technology makes it easy to overlook the fact that people still meet face-to-face, and that is how businesses generate quality sales or business leads. The business plan marketing section should include a variety of approaches to attracting leads.

    Advertising online or offline will produce leads that can be turned into customers, but most businesses need a mix of marketing strategies to generate the quantity of leads needed to sustain and grow a business. Marketing is not the forte of only large corporations. Small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) can develop an affordable mix of marketing strategies that produce customer leads.

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    Following are just a few of those strategies that have proven successful for many business owners.

    Networking – Mega corporations regularly participate in networking activities, and SMEs can do the same. They can join the local Chamber of Commerce or an industry trade association, meeting new people at meetings and special events.

    Customer Referrals – Savvy businesses encourage their customers to make referrals through word-of-mouth. It remains one of the most successful means of building a customer base because people are personally vouching for products or services, and also customer service. Some businesses promote referrals by setting up a reward system. For example, a customer refers a person who becomes a new customer and gets a special discount on an item or gets a small gift.

    Industry Events – Trade shows are popular business events because people meet face-to-face. These shows attract the highest potential customers too. For example, consumers attending boat shows are interested in buying or trading a boat or are in need of boat supplies. It is a voluntary captive audience.

    Print Material – Brochures and flyers are still good marketing tools. Technology tends to overshadow print material in discussions, but there is more to life than social media. Any print material the business distributes should be professional, well-designed, and include a call-to-action.

    Cross-Promotions – Form an alliance with a vendor who is not in competition with the business. The businesses can exchange promote each other’s products and services, host events together, and share leads.

    Speak at Events – Speaking at events like trade shows and community events is an excellent way to earn a reputation as an expert. This enhances the company brand and reputation while also advertising the company. Speakers always make new connections with the ones most interested in what they had to say, turning attendees into customers.

    These are five very doable marketing strategies for generating sales leads. They can be combined with other strategies like social media networking to create a marketing program that reaches potential customers wherever they might be.
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