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Best bets for finding customers

This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You know your new company needs customers, but where do you find them? A national survey of sales professionals found the most valuable place to look for new customers was business-related functions, closely followed by social events at trade shows and civic or public service events.

The survey was conducted by The Nierenberg Group, a business relationship management consulting firm in New York City, in conjunction with New York University's Management Institute. The firm's founder, Andrea Nierenberg, defines a business-related function as any business event where members of your target market are likely to be. Social events at trade shows include such opportunities for interaction with prospective customers as breakfasts, luncheons and other mixer-type events. Civic or public service events include those sponsored by chambers of commerce, service clubs such as Rotary or Kiwanis, and other community organizations.

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