Public Libraries – A Great Business Resource

by Ginny Boss

As a sales and marketing rep for CL Graphics I have been pounding the pavement in pursuit of prospects for over 17 years. Prospecting has always been one of my favorite sales activities. Once you know your customer profile, it’s just a matter of utilizing the right tools to create an ongoing, highly targeted list of viable prospects. Fortunately, we serve a number of vertical markets, providing a variety of integrated marketing materials and services, so I have a fair amount of opportunities to explore. One of those markets happens to be public libraries.

Early in my sales career when I was just beginning to develop my client base, I discovered a wealth of sales tools available at the public library. I would use their collection of local newspapers and business journals as a source for new leads. Access to trade publications helped me learn about the industries I wanted to target. I could even find articles on sales and marketing strategies.

My favorite prospecting tool hands down has always been referenceUSA, a subscription database available 24/7 to library cardholders. It contains up to 20 million US businesses and over 220 million consumers, as well as new businesses, new homeowners and more. Search results can be highly targeted by geography and industry type and provide data that includes company names, contact information, executive titles, business size by annual sales and number of employees, and annual business expenditures. It even breaks down the expenditures by product/service type, including print!

All of these resources can be accessed from most public library websites, as long as you have a valid library card. You can do your research from the office, your favorite coffee shop or at home. But, I still prefer heading out to a library, sitting down at one of the computers and conduct yet another search for the perfect prospect list. As I look around the library these days, I am noticing a lot more folks in business attire. Perhaps they’ve read about the great business resources in their latest library newsletter!

There is such great value in what a public library has to offer. If you haven’t visited one in a while, you might be surprised. They’ve come a long way!

If you’d like to learn more about how public libraries serve the business community, please click on the link to read the article.


2 thoughts on “Public Libraries – A Great Business Resource

  1. Thank you for sharing your successes, using the public library, with this group. Getting the word out to the general public and local businesses is always a challenge. Cheerleaders like you certainly make it easier! Over the past year I have been regularly attending the local Chamber of Commerce networking events. This has opened up many partnership opportunities and allowed us to share information about the multitude of resources available for free. Developing these working relationships within the community is a win-win for everyone.

    • Hi Virginia,

      Thanks very much for your comment on my library blog. I’ve had much success at prospecting with the help of reference USA. I enjoyed the presentation you gave on Tuesday about it and the other resources you have to make our sales efforts more efficient. Your business patrons appreciate everything you do for them. I am happy to be a cheerleader for public libraries!

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