One often overlooked way to build a new customer list is by using alliances. So what is an alliance? Well it could be as simple as being friends with someone that is on a committee or who belongs to an organization. That friend might allow you to speak in front of their group (usually without pay) and you get to promote what you do.
Alliances work both ways. You should have something worthwhile to offer to their clients or customers while they are allowing you access to their list.
Do you offer a coaching or consulting service? You may consider asking local business people to help promote you while you give your service to their customers. For example; If you run a coaching or consulting service in the health and wellness arena, why not go to your local health food store and offer free consults? Or help them organize an event around the types of service you offer.
A flower shop I worked with would go to restaurants and "sell" their flowers to them for the dining tables at a drastically reduced rate, they did little more than break even with the flowers themselves. But if the restaurant did not want to design the displays and place them on the tables themselves, the flower shop would offer the placement service to them at a slightly higher charge. They also designed the vases themselves to promote the flower shop along with an ingoing special for the restaurant customers.
In this scenario the restaurant owner not only got a more attractive table setting, they were able to offer a special price on flowers, exclusively for their customers. How could you adapt this to your business, so that you gain a wider audience and your alliance partner gets something to offer their customer base?
Any good business person knows how reciprocity works. If they give a free gift or sample to their clients, the client dreams a need to reciprocate the favor, and will often make a larger purchase than they would have otherwise, because they were given something for free.
So what type of "give away" item could you come up with that would be low cost to you and a benefit to your potential alliance partner? A free or discounted consultation, product or service? An online webinar? A sheet of tips or strategies? Even a down-loadable e-book or mp3. Just make sure whatever your offer is that is has value to the clients and customers of your alliance partner.