Skip to content

Free Leads: 12 Easy Ways To Get Them For Sales

Norman Platnick, who studied spiders, famously wrote, “Wherever you sit as you read these lines, a spider is probably no more than a few yards away”. 

Frightening, isn’t it? 

The good news is that something similar can be said about free leads — they are all around you; you just have to know where to look. 

Today we’ll reveal the rocks you can turn over and the flashlights you can use to easily find leads without spending a dime.

🕷️ As for the spiders, let’s just hope Norman was in an especially misanthropic mood when he wrote that.

Here is a list of the best places to find free leads online:

1. Demo Cognism’s sales intelligence platform

Cognism is a sales intelligence platform that helps B2B businesses find leads and accounts that match their ideal customer profile. It can support individual prospecting and operational and list-building workflows.

During a demo call, we’ll run a search in our database to identify 25 leads for free that meet your requirements.

prospector-2-transparent

Cognism Prospector has a variety of lead and company-related filters. For example, you can find email addresses of CEOs of companies founded after 2022  in the DACH region that use Salesforce.

If you take advantage of our free leads offer, you’ll get their key data points, like their email addresses and mobile phone numbers, so you can easily get in touch. 

It’s a quick and easy way to get a list of free business leads. Plus, you get to learn about a helpful prospecting tool while you’re at it. 

Cognism features

If you decide to go for a paid version of the platform, you’ll benefit from numerous features such as:

Visit the Cognism pricing page and customer reviews to learn more about the companies that use our services and how they benefit from them.

And why don’t you check out this video case study? Slalom is a tech company that used Cognism’s B2B data to gain 7,500 leads between April 2022 and May 2023 👇

2. Look into your CRM

Another great place to find sales leads for free is your CRM. Mine it for churned former customers, as well as potential buyers who made it far into the sales cycle but didn’t make a purchase. 

These people showed interest in your offer once. Why not again? 

Something could’ve changed on either end that now makes you two a perfect match. Some sales triggers you can look out for are:

  • The target company got new funding.
  • The former lead has moved into a decision-making role.
  • The target company is expanding or relocating.
  • You changed your pricing model.
  • You added a new feature set that solves the lead’s pain point.

Our SDRs love this free lead generation method — all you have to do it to run a “Closed/Lost Accounts” report. 

It will show you accounts that had entered the sales cycle but dropped out. Filter the report to exclude any failed deals in the past year or quarter. 

Equipped with this list, you can then cold call the decision-makers associated with the accounts. Make sure your phone number list is up to date, though. 

Use a cold calling script to learn why they chose not to go through with the purchase. Or use the notes in the CRM to initiate a conversation.

For example, you might say:

“I see in our notes that you wanted X functionality, which we sadly didn’t support back then. I wanted to let you know that now we do, and it’s incredible, etc.” 

Of course, your strategy to re-engage churned customers and win free leads can be more complex than this, involving email, LinkedIn, and other outreach methods. So check out our cadence for closed-lost opps.

3. Target additional departments in your accounts

For all you know, high-quality free leads are sitting right there across the aisle from your current users. 

Perhaps you sold the VP of Sales but not the VP of Marketing, who would also find value in your solution.  

To build a free business leads database, sell your solution to other departments within your key accounts that would also benefit from your product or service.

One way to do this is to ask your main point of contact for an introduction to the head honcho of the other department you want to target. 

You might have to persuade this person a bit before they agree to make the introduction. Many professionals want to avoid bothering their colleagues unless it’s for a great reason, like a cute photo of their new dog. 

That said, when talking with your current customer, come prepared with 2-3 solid reasons why you think the other business team would get value from your solution. 

If the customer adores your solution, they might take the reins and convince the other department to adopt it, calling you in only at the end to seal the deal. 

An easier way to find potential customers in key accounts is via Cognism’s contact database. With just a few clicks, you can set up seniority and department filters and start the conversation with decision-makers from other departments.

💡 Click here to see the Cognism workflow for Account Managers who want to grow key accounts.

4. Cold call the company

Cold calling is an efficient way to get free leads as long as you can get past the gatekeeper. It’s the first person you reach when you call a company. It could be an office manager or assistant if you’re selling to C-suite executives

It’s an underrated lead gen strategy for SaaS and tech companies, while 54% of technology leads and 57% of VP buyers across all industries prefer to be contacted by phone.

It’s best if you already know the name of the person you want to speak to about your offering — often, the gatekeeper will pass you through.

And if you’re unsure who the decision-maker is, they can give you their name. You can then use the information to find them on LinkedIn without spending a penny.

Here’s how to find CEOs phone numbers in your target accounts.

5. Research LinkedIn

LinkedIn prospecting is a great way to gather a list of free business leads. You can reach out to them directly on the platform through InMail messaging. 

You can search your current ideal lead’s connections to find their peers with similar needs. For example, if you were looking for CMOs in the finance industry who might want your solution, go to the connections page of one of your finance leads. 

Once you’re on the connections page, you can use LinkedIn’s filtering options — location, talks about, industry, etc. — to narrow down the list until it displays only the people who most resemble your target customer. 

You can also steal your competitors’ audience. Another way to get a list of sales leads from LinkedIn for free is to extract competitors’ post commenters or their event attendees. 

If you’re attending a LinkedIn Event, you can privately message any of the other attendees to have one-on-one conversations, even if you aren’t connected to them.

LinkedIn

After that, research each person’s profile, adding only the highest quality leads to your list.

[cta Enrich LinkedIn profiles and Sales Nav lists with B2B emails and mobile numbers]

6. Try email signature marketing

Include banners in your email signatures that promote offers, free trials, webinars, and other lead magnets. 

This is a quick and easy way to grab some free leads for your business. Here’s a great email signature example with an oversized CTA button; it encourages the recipient to book an appointment immediately.

You can also generate free leads by linking to promotional materials that your target audience will find incredibly valuable. The hope is recipients will click on the lead magnet and give you their contact information in return for it. 

Promotional email signatures aren’t restricted to salespeople. Marketers, C-suite execs, and product team members can decorate their signatures with personalised sales content as well. This way, each email exchange becomes a sales opportunity.  

You can use email signature software like Mailtastic to manage company-wide email signatures from one centralised online platform. The software also makes it easy to create banners, icons, and buttons for your email signature.

Mailtastic’s free trial doesn’t require any credit card information if you want to test it.

7. Build a personal brand online

If B2B salespeople want to get free sales leads online, they should work to build a personal brand, especially on LinkedIn. There simply isn’t a better way to generate inbound leads for free. 

When you regularly publish posts and share articles about industry-related topics, people start to think of you as an expert. That means they’ll proactively reach out to you if they have an issue related to your area of expertise. 

When they reach out, you can assist them and demonstrate how your product or service solves their problem.

You can also build personal brands around people in your company who represent your business and are related to your sales persona, e.g. your CMO. It helps generate demand from potential buyers for a company’s product or service.

If you’re a sales or business development representative, or someone who manages them, check out Cognism’s SDR personal branding guide

8. Increase your visibility with business directories

To get free leads for small businesses, set up a profile in business directories and let them find you. For example, setting up your business listing on Yelp only takes a few minutes. 

Yelp is a popular place where people find businesses, especially restaurants and services. And according to their data, 83% of their users have purchased or hired from a business they found on Yelp. 

You can also use business directories in reverse — to find target companies and their contact information. 

Another method is to look through reviews of competitors and identify people leaving poor reviews. 

These unhappy customers can become your leads without investing much money, provided their criticisms were justified. Avoid the ones who just seem impossible to please. They might just leave a bad review for your business too. 

9. Set up your business profile on review pages

Buyers nowadays do their own research long before they speak to salespeople. They find product reviews more trustworthy. If you want to get free business leads, create accounts on industry-specific review sites that your target audience uses to evaluate products or services like yours. 

When people look up your business online and see your positive reviews, they will be more likely to contact your sales team. 

A tech company, for instance, would want to set up a business profile on G2 or SoftwareAdvice.com. But a popular website for assessing businesses across all industries is Google. 

Creating a Business Profile on Google is probably the best way to generate free leads for local businesses. After setting it up, customers can leave reviews, upload photos, and share their experiences with your business.

Comparing Yelp vs Google reviews can provide insights into which platform may benefit your business type, helping you optimise your online presence.

And your potential leads can easily learn about your business.

10. Answer questions on Quora and Reddit

Engaging with your B2B audience in relevant subreddits is an underused way to find free sales leads. 

The best method is to find niche-related questions from Reddit or Quora users that you can authoritatively answer. 

The better your answer, the more people will upvote it, and the more exposure it, and your company, will get on the subreddit. 

For instance, let’s say you were selling copywriting services. 

It would be a good idea to answer this question on Quora:

Quora 

Many people looking to hire copywriters will visit this page and see your response. 

To turn some visitors into inbound leads for free, put a call-to-action at the bottom of your answer, telling them to visit your website to learn more. 

11. Networking

Networking is a wonderful way to find free leads, keep up with your industry, and build relationships with potential buyers. 

Even if you fail to find any potential leads at the networking event, you’ll likely meet other people who are willing to introduce you to some. 

It’s common to hear things like:

“You know, my buddy has been looking for a new {your product type} for some time now. You should give him a call.”

The events that attract the most leads are going to be industry related. Think industry meetups, conferences, and trade shows. 

But don’t discount local networking groups, online communities, LinkedIn groups, or Slack channels to find free leads. 

12. Install a chatbot on your website

Another free way of generating leads online is getting a live chat and AI chatbots on your website. They help you spark conversations with people browsing your website and turn them into warm leads. 

Usually, companies use a chatbot as a sort of greeter. Through pre-set questions and automated responses, the chatbot qualifies visitors:

HubSpot 

Then, when the visitor is considered qualified, the chatbot can alert the right person on the sales team to take over the conversation. 

You can place these chatbots or live chat windows anywhere on your website. You can also customise the chatbot interactions depending on the pages users visit. 

For example, you can ask visitors on the pricing page if they need help choosing a plan or if they’re ready for a demo after viewing a product page.

How to get sales leads for free?

The most efficient methods to get free sales leads are mining your CRM for churned customers and late-stage closed/lost prospects, building a personal brand on LinkedIn, and networking at industry events.

The leads you generate from these methods are free and highly qualified for your product or service. 

Pros and cons of free leads

Below are some things to remember when deciding how much you want to rely on free leads versus paid-for ones. 

Pros

  • Free inbound leads can sometimes become the best customers.
  • Free lead generation methods suit small businesses on a tight budget.
  • Many free methods also nurture leads simultaneously.

Cons

  • Not all free leads you find online are great matches for your offer. 
  • Relying too much on getting leads for free can delay your company’s growth. 
  • Creating free lead lists is more time-consuming than with paid methods. 
  • It can be tricky to find accurate contact info for free leads. 

Free lead generation resources

Read similar stories

B2B Data

Using B2B Data for International Expansion_Resource card
B2B Data for International Expansion: The Secret to Growth
Learn how to use data to scale your B2B business globally with this guide from Cognism. Click for strategies that use data for international expansion.
CONTENT_23_BLOG GRAPHICS_ILSE_ACCOUNT BASED MARKETING_ DATA_Resource card
Using Account Based Marketing Data for More Revenue
Unlock the potential of account based marketing data and revolutionise your revenue strategies. Find out how in this comprehensive guide from Cognism!
Joma Case Study
How JOMA Packaging Uses Cognism for Targeted Outreach
JOMA Packaging uses Cognism's B2B database to segment target markets and identify target contacts. Read the case study to learn more.

Experience the Diamond difference.

See how our phone verified contact data can increase your connect rate by 3x. Book a demo today.

Skyrocket your sales

Cognism gives you access to a global database and a wealth of data points with numbers that result in a live conversation.

Find customers ready to buy

Cognism intent data helps you identify accounts actively searching for your product or service – and target key decision makers when they’re ready to buy.