When contacting offline businesses it is always better to have the name of the owner before contact. Being from the Uk this has always proven problematic. If you are from the US then there is GoLeads.com and a few other sites from which you can easily get all the information and contact details you require.
This method that i practice every morning has got me a ton of business from offline businesses. I perform this task religiously now 3 days a week :-)
In the uk the only way to get the name of the owner is either:
1) Companies House if they are a limited company (not always our target market)
2) Information on their website
Here is what i do:
Every morning (3 times per week) i make a list of 15 businesses broken down as follows:
1) 5 for the amazing 4 line letter (you need to be a member of offline biz for that)
2) 5 for Michael Silvester style letter so the targets are businesses without websites
3) 5 for David Preston style letter so the targets are businesses with websites.
I always get my leads from recent advertisers or Yellow Pages - ie businesses that i know are spending money on promotion.
That is a total of 45 Buinesses contacted per week. In the month of May this brought me in 9 new paying clients from just doing the above.
Now you may think that 9 paying clients in 1 month from 45 letters per week (approx 180 total in May) is not very good but i think it is awsome - it is a 5% conversion. My conversion to actual appointments etc was higher but not all leads and appointments turn into paying clients.
These 9 clients on average brought me in just over £7,500 and £1,450 recurring monthly evenue. Of course i have outsourcing costs to take into account.
How long did it take me? - approx 1 hour in the mornings and costs less than £10 every day in postage and printing.
Back to the name of the business owner - the reponse rate increases greatly when you address it to the business owner by name.
In the USa you can always use GoLeads.com.
Uk and other countries, here is what i do:
1) Check their website if they have one.
2) If no website or no info on website i simply pick up the phone and say the following (always withold my number :-)
"Hi, my name is xxxxx and i'm calling from 'yourcity' buisness online. I was hoping you can help me. We are currently updating our FREE online business directory, can you confirm that you are trading as xxxxxx"
They will say Yes we are
"Excellent and you trading address is xxxxxxxx"
They will say yes it is
"That's excellent, thanks very much for your help on this - and finally what is the name of the owner of the business please?"
9 times out of 10 you will get the name
"Ok thanks very much for that - hope you have a lovely day"
That's it, simple. I used a variation of this script initially but changed it to the above and people are more receptive to giving the name.
A few times i have been asked a few questions about what this directory is. I simply say that i have been given the task to collate the information for this directory and not sure of all the details.
Some might think the above is unethical as you are lying to the businesses you speak to about a free business listing. However, it is effective in getting the name of the owner. Also, i have a directory which is not live yet (and this is what i tell them if probed) and i will include them when i eventually do go live some time in the future. So effectively i am not lying.
One thing i do is the businesses i phone on a Monday, i do their mailing on a Tuesday so they receive on Wednesday or Thursday - the ones i phone on tuesday i post out on Wednesday etc etc - i'm sure you can figure out why ;-)
Anyway, hope the above helps. And remember, if you are in the offline niche just following the above mailouts will get you enough business to earning you a good income in this niche.