Sales Skills: Finding Quality Leads and Forecasting

Sales Skills: Finding Quality Leads and Forecasting

Our tips on finding sales leads that convert and projecting income.

By Marcia Smith

How do I find high quality leads?

Ah, the age-old question! There is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer here – it’s a question that every business has to continually ask itself. Generally, in order to find high quality leads, you must first work out which demographics are likely to produce future, high-spending customers. The best way to do this is to survey your existing customers and use this data to identify trends.

For example, if you find that you’ve generated most of your sales income from clients in the building trade, or from first-time homebuyers, you can use this information to target your marketing and to filter leads that are likely to provide the highest value. On your website, for example, you can use qualifying questions to identify members of your target groups.

Finally, don’t dismiss unsuccessful leads as being low quality. With the right nurturing and consistent marketing, these may still represent potential future customers.

How do I make a sales forecast?

Sales forecasting isn’t an exact science. Sometimes it’s little more than guessing how many sales you’ll make per month, especially for brand new businesses or products.

To make a sales forecast, first gather all the relevant information you have. If you have past sales data that’s ideal, as using current sales growth to project future sales can be a fairly straightforward process. If you’re launching a new product, use data from previous product launches to estimate the trend. You’ll need to factor in any differences in price, the target market and your marketing spend to make this meaningful.

There are several statistical tools available to help with sales forecasting, but more important is your own knowledge of the business and a little common sense.