Why you can’t prospect and sell

by Erika Cannon
[email protected]

Do you wonder why your salespeople – or you – are having difficulty finding and closing new deals? It may be that you’re expecting one person (or you) to do the job of two people – two people who do very different things:

Salespeople contact people they know.

Prospectors contact people they don’t know.

Each audience requires a different level of engagement.

  • Sales:
    • thoughtful, detailed, knowledgeable communication
    • followup with a limited number of individuals
    • expert consultation about market, products, services
    • a relational dialogue
    • negotiations about price, services, delivery
  • Prospecting
    • high level, general information sharing
    • followup with thousands in a bulk methodology
    • one-sided communications
    • daily rejection without further interaction
    • occasional, sporadic indication of the slightest interest

Each requires a particular level of expertise, methodology and – perhaps most importantly – emotional threshold. Sales has to be able to develop a relationship that will convince the prospect to engage, whereas Prospectors have to commit to a work process that finds those who are willing to merely enter the sales process. Each has a significant workload, but you can see how different their energies and workloads are.

Are you expecting one person to do two very different jobs?

(Full disclosure, we are prospectors.) If you can’t afford two employees, or if you’re a solopreneur and have to do this work as well, consider outsourcing as part of a solution. It’s easier (again, full disclosure) to outsource the prospecting, as there is a lower level of knowledge and onboarding effort required, and it can be done (in some programs, as with ours, again…disclosing) without revealing that there’s even a third party helping you.

Aside from the above marketing message, if you aren’t reaching your sales goals and are wondering why, you should seriously consider the two types of work you are asking one person to do, or that you are doing yourself.

Help yourself and your sales team become more successful by off-loading the burden of prospecting. You’ll be glad you did.


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