How to prospect for new list business

Successful brokers know they must continuously support their active account relationships while at the same time prospect for new business. It’s wise to strive for a delicate balance between your older and newer accounts, customers versus prospects. Whatever ratio you come up with is predetermined by whatever budget/goals have been set.

But doesn’t it make sense to continuously prospect for new business? Here are some tips that may work for you.


Referrals are gold. The best possible source of new business is a happy mailer who in turn refers you. Sometimes it’s totally unsolicited and that’s always a pleasant surprise. But you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

It stands to reason, if they’re happy with you, someone they know might be as well. It can be an extension of their own core business, for instance, a multi-magazine publisher or multi-cataloger; or a contemporary they know through their business.

Intra-company leads

Assuming you are not a sole practitioner, your own company and colleagues can be a wonderful source of leads. Does your management division pass on qualified leads to you? If not, it should be considered. If they don’t manage specific lists a mailer is asking for, do they suggest talking to you? If not, they should.

Be proactive, review orders that come in directly to your list management division. Piggyback with management for new business acquisition pitches.

Ads in magazines

Don’t skip the advertisements in the publications to which you personally subscribe. If you see an ad for a product or service that you know would have an application in direct mail, do a little research and check out their Web site first.

Be prepared to introduce yourself and your company and have a few ideas ready to roll off your tongue. Your timing just might be fortuitous. It will more than likely take some effort on your part but the rewards can be great. If you are approaching someone in an area you feel passionate about, that enthusiasm will be recognized.

Ad agencies

Lots of brokers shy away from agency business. Having contacts at ad agencies can only work in your favor. Frequently, they will gladly use the services of a broker. You might find yourself in the position of being an extension of a wonderful, new piece of business.


Attend as many industry events as possible, particularly those that have applications to your areas of expertise. Most industries have trade shows and they are great places to meet and greet. Frequently you obtain a pass to the exhibit hall at no or little expense.

Does your company exhibit? Booth duty is a wonderful opportunity to share your expertise to a captive audience. Luncheons and parties similarly are great places to reconnect with industry colleagues and meet new ones. And never ever forget to bring business cards.

Always have a proposal document ready to go at a moment’s notice, both paper and paperless. Often, a new mailer will visit your company’s Web site, which is a direct reflection of you, but your own customizable document or PowerPoint presentation can make a huge impact. And if you’re fortunate enough to arrange a meeting, this is precisely the type of document a prospect likes to review.

Brokerage has evolved into a true marketing partnership and brokers are now offering a menu of value-added services.

In fact, brokers are frequently an extension of their mailer’s marketing departments. The more you are willing to provide the more it will go a long way towards cementing your new business prospecting goals.

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