These days, when we are looking for new customers, we don’t need to buy expensive lists. We simply need to know what questions to ask. Doing research and asking questions has changed over the past few years, and now everything is available online. Wikipedia answers big questions in detail; Google finds great answers, and specialized sites do the rest. It’s really all about knowing what you are looking for.
Last week, while reviewing more than 50 possible customer segments for Qualifirst, I decided to put it all aside for a minute and just ask myself, â€œWhat makes a good retail store or restaurant customer for us?â€
I realized that the answer consists of things that we can search for online:
- They charge premium pricing to their own customers.
- They are located downtown and in select high income neighborhoods.
- If they are a hotel, they are a five-star or four-star hotel.
These attributes, are easily searchable by way of both Google and on specialized sites. This process will find most of our prospects, and will also guide us to collections of resources. When we do actually want a list, those, too are incredibly easy to find.
For example, a list of Canadian restaurant chains is available at
A list of supermarket chains is available at:
A good customer or prospect for Qualifirst is premium priced, well located and has high traffic. Either that, or it is a larger national account. The point is, we know what a good customer looks like and we can easily find them on the web.
Once we find these prospects we can then use the web to dig deeper in order to place them in a segment based on what they do and how they do it. In this way, out of the 1,500 products we provide, we need only recommend the 25 that they need the most.
To stay a market leader it is important that we all realise how the technology affects every element of the sales process. Using the search tools of the Internet to find new customers is a clear example that we can all relate to.