How Do I Build a List

ListBuildHow Do I Build a List? I see this question frequently in business forums and on expert platforms. Business owners and salespeople are wondering how to generate a prospect list, and what to do with it. The process is much easier than people seem to want to make it, but a little thought at the beginning can give you big dividends moving forward.

The first question you need to answer when generating a prospect list is "Buy or Build?"

Options for Answering How Do I Build A List

1. Buy a list

Pros: Single data source, can usually sort by some variables, often cost-effective.

Cons: Costs money, imperfect targeting, will require more screening.

2. Build a list

Pros: Totally customized based on your specific requirements, reduces screening requirements going forward, completely under your control.

Cons: Potentially high cost of data gathering, time-consuming, easy to put off doing.

The costs of both options are business expenses and should be used to reduce your taxable revenue.

For either choice, pre-qualify beforehand. Do some Information Interviews. The kinds of things you want to discover are: What are typical features of customers who buy from you? What size are they? How long have they been in business? What growth stage are they at? Structure? Industry?

What typical problems do they have that make them aware they have a need for what you offer?

Find out these things and generating your list will be much easier. Whether you're buying or building, you can sort by these variables. Then you're only paying to get info on those organizations that fit the profile.

Step #2 of How Do I Build a List

The next step of list building is the calling stage.

Your job now is to SORT the profile-qualified prospects by whether they have the problems buyers usually choose to work with you to fix or not.

This is why information interviews beforehand are so helpful. Companies do not advertise their greatest weakness on their website. You won't find it in their annual report. You have to actually talk to them to uncover what these issues are and the terminology they use to discuss them.

If a prospect doesn't have a problem you can fix at this time, that doesn't mean they are dead. Circumstances change. Mark the prospect for a callback three to six months down the line to check.

The next question typically following How Do I Build a List? is what CRM to use to keep track of this data. The answer is just like in exercise: the one that you will make use of! I use a simple Google calendar plus conditionally-formatted spreadsheet...keeps me up to date and I actually use it, instead of the many white label and custom CRMs I've used in jobs over the years.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales trainer and business development expert. Was this information on How Do I Build a List useful to you? Please Like or Share to let another person who you believe would benefit from it know! Also, if you have a question about building a prospecting list, Comment below. <<

Jason Kanigan


  1. Great post Jason! Thanks for sharing that! And you’re right, there are pros and cons to both of these list building strategies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *