"Build it and they will come." While that adage may work in the movies, it's not always the case in business. It takes effort on your part to attract customers to your business. You can develop leads for your business in many ways including: Network with other business owners. Purchase a list of qualified leads. Be the face of your company everywhere you go. Ask existing customers for referrals. Join associations and organizations that will introduce customers to your product. A network isn't just a complex computer system Networking is one of the best techniques for generating new business. Think of yourself as the face of and the spokesperson for your products and services. Every time you meet someone new, it's a chance for you to represent your company and make a connection that might pay off down the road. Get involved Taking an active role in your local community and in your industry can increase your leads. Joining an industry association or your local Chamber of Commerce provides you with instant networking opportunities, whether you're hoping to attract consumers to a retail location or you're looking for business-to-business clients. Target your demographic Whether your business is a one-woman-shop or your have a dedicated sales force, you have to make time to contact prospective customers via phone, email or mail. Spending too much time chasing unqualified leads is counterproductive. Collect information You can start a list of prospects by simply gathering information from people you meet and from people you already know, including neighbors and existing customers. Follow-up is key Leads and prospect lists aren't worth the paper they're printed on if you don't follow up, and do it quickly. In fact, studies show that your closing percentages will increase sharply if you follow up within 48 hours of being contacted by a prospect. If you purchase a telemarketing list from a list broker, make sure they've run the list against the national do-not-call list. The last thing you want to do is perturb potential customers by calling them if they've opted out of telemarketing. If you've purchased a leads list, start calling, emailing or mailing to customers while the list is fresh. If you have different branches or locations for your business, or if your target market is more than one community, consider joining more than one Chamber of Commerce. Track your results whether you use telemarketing, email or mail to prospective customers. It will help you determine which lead generation process works best for your business.