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What is the difference between selling and prospecting?

Why prospecting can be a difficult task for salespeople? How to manage as a recruiter?

Prospecting and selling should be part of the activities of all companies that want to ensure their continued existence. It is important to stress that these two terms are different, although most salespeople confuse them.

  • What are the differences between selling and prospecting?
  • What traits should you look for when recruiting a sales representative?
  • How does outbound recruiting work?

Prospection commerciale

What are the differences between selling and prospecting?

Prospecting is the search for future customers. However, if your customer has not yet made a purchase, he or she is considered a prospect. Prospecting is essential, because a company regularly loses some of its buyers. In order to generate more revenue, its marketing and sales department must implement a prospecting strategy. If you want to win new customers, you have several options: media advertising, emailing and telephone prospecting. If you want to meet your prospects directly, opt for professional trade shows, fairs and prospecting in the field. This gives you the opportunity to make your products or services known and thus attract the interest of your future customers.

In a sale, you exchange a good or service for money. To get to this stage, you have to go through several steps. The first step is to find a customer who is willing to buy your product and to make them feel confident. To do this, you need to analyse their needs and put forward arguments that can make your product or service stand out. If the customer is convinced that your product or service meets their needs, they will not hesitate to negotiate the price you offer. The sale can only be concluded if you find common ground, because the exchange must be win/win. Selling requires a certain technique, which is why outbound recruiting can help you find a qualified seller.

What traits should you look for when recruiting a sales representative?

When prospecting, your aim should not be to make a sale. In fact, prospecting allows you to identify targets that are really interested. You can then approach them and get to know them better. So you need to be approachable, but above all you need to be persuasive when making your case. Get to know your new customers and gradually gain their trust. Prospecting cannot always lead to a sale, so you need to be patient. The subsequent discussions are a real source of information from which you can draw convincing ideas.

A salesperson may find prospecting difficult because it is difficult to accept failure. In addition, a person who is desperate to sell is rarely empathetic. The customer relationship can be stressful for them, especially if the negotiation is difficult. To avoid hiring the wrong candidate during your outbound recruiting, consider assessing the five traits you consider necessary. Avoid people who are satisfied with themselves, they don’t think about moving forward, which is detrimental to their personal development. The lack of enthusiasm and assertiveness of some prospectors can drive customers away. If they are inconsistent, you may lose money, as prospecting requires perseverance. Also consider whether they are able to organise their time and activities effectively.

How does outbound recruiting work?

With outbound recruiting, you can find candidates whose profile matches the vacant job, without having to post a job offer. Headhunting firms favour this practice, although it is rarely used nowadays. If you have any doubts on the subject, we suggest you read the article: Is outbound recruiting still effective? It’s about identifying the best talent and convincing them to join the team. You spend less time sorting through candidates’ files and easily develop your network of contacts. To find the perfect candidate, consider defining the profile of the ideal candidate. Then search for talent on social networks, especially LinkedIn. Contact them to tell them about your company, your recruitment process and your offer.

Conclusion

The main difference between selling and prospecting lies in their respective objectives. Prospecting means making a product or service known with the aim of arousing the interest of potential customers. Selling means exchanging a good or service for money. These two practices are complementary, because you cannot sell without potential customers. Therefore, when recruiting, the profile of the ideal sales prospector must be well defined.

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