A key element of marketing for many businesses will be sales and business development. How do you find the right person to contact? Often people buy or rent lists. The problem with this for the zero budget marketer is that lists (a) cost a lot of money and (b) have large minimums, which leave you with hundreds of names when you just wanted 15-20 to start with.
One tip: Sniff out the "right" person to contact using searches on social networking sites like LinkedIn. You can search by a job title and you will usually find a few people pop up! Then you can contact the company and at least know the right person to ask to speak to.
Other ideas (that I've tested and used) include:
Asking your friends if they know anyone in a particular space.
Asking others you know at a company who the right person is.
Or call the reception of the organisation you're targeting and ask "who's in charge of XXX?" and more than half of the time, they'll tell you! Then call back a day or two later and ask for the person by name.
Of course, this is just the start. You'll often end up on voice-mail but, if you have a relevant offering, and leave regular, friendly messages, you'll often find you'll eventually get a call back. If nothing else, if you're pleasant about it, people start to feel guilty around the 4th or 5th message (I'm speaking from experience - both from the selling and the "pitched to" side of the equation). Persistence pays off if you're contacting the right person.
A call back is not a sale - but it's closer than you were before.
The key point here, too, is that you have to call. Sales training expert Sue Barrett speaks of "call reluctance" being the biggest factor if people not getting a sale. Not that a prospect isn't interested. Not that you have a bad product or service. People don't get the sale because they don't want to pick up the phone in the first place. A sobering thought & a call to action, all at the same time!