Maintain your old Siemens Hipath system

Commodity Sales Prospecting - How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

I have received a number of requests for advice from salespeople and sales managers that sell "commodity" products and services. When I refer to commodities, I don't just mean pork bellies or frozen concentrated orange juice. A commodity is any product or service where the target prospect is likely to be thinking:

"I get contacted by (X) salespeople a day that sell (whatever they perceive your product or service to be). Why should I spend any of my time with you?"

How can salespeople prospect successfully if their target prospects see them as just one of many possible (and nearly identical) sources for a product or service?

The key challenge when prospecting in a crowded field is finding some way to capture enough of a prospect's attention to convince them to meet with you. This all-important first meeting is the starting point for building a relationship, which in turn is a crucial element of success in "commodity" sales. Here are four strategies that will help you win more of these elusive first meetings:

1. Write and distribute Special Reports.

What special report could you write that would be useful to your target prospects? Conduct the necessary research, write the report, make sure your name is highlighted on the cover page, and get the report into your prospect's hands.

What is the value of a special report that you have authored? Think about it -- How many of your competitors have authored a special report? Do you think authoring a special report might create the impression of significant or unusual expertise? Do you think it might increase your credibility with your target prospects?

2. Deliver Business Interest Seminars.

Seminars are another great way to build credibility and initiate relationships. To be effective, they need to address subjects (ideally, problems or frustrations that your company solves) that your target prospects really care about. You and your company can offer these seminars on your own or in partnership with suppliers or other (non-competing) companies that wish to pursue the same target prospects.

3. Build relationships with other salespeople that sell to your target prospects.

What other products and services do your target prospects buy? Which companies provide those products and services? Who are the salespeople for those companies?

Look to establish mutually beneficial relationships with salespeople from non-competing companies where you can refer prospects to each other. Your success rate for booking appointments from referrals should be much higher than your success rate with cold calls.

4. Learn from successful salespeople in your company that have "cracked the code".

You don't have to re-invent the wheel. Invite the successful salespeople in your company to lunch or dinner. Use your time together to pick their brains by asking them the following questions:

  • How did they achieve success?
  • What are their favorite prospecting techniques?
  • If they are at a stage where they are focusing solely on servicing existing accounts, how did they originally initiate their relationships with these accounts?
After the meeting, think about what they said and decide which of the suggested prospecting approaches might fit well with your own talents and interests.


The key challenge when prospecting for "commodity" product or service sales opportunities is capturing enough of your prospect's attention to convince them to meet with you. This article suggested four strategies to help you win more of these elusive first meetings.

Copyright 2005 -- Alan Rigg

Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. To learn more about his book and sign up for more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit

In The News:

India fire: Relatives identify victims from photos on police phones
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 16:06:00 +0000
A "horrific" factory fire in India is believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit - as relatives of workers trapped inside identified victims from photos on police officers' phones.

Trump says Kim is too smart for hostile act after 'missile test'
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 04:41:00 +0000
President Donald Trump says North Korea's leader "has too much to lose" to act in a hostile way, after the secretive state's latest military test.

Landslip strands 'up to 1,000' at popular tourist site in New Zealand
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 22:21:00 +0000
A large landslip has left up to 1,000 people stranded at a popular tourist site in New Zealand, according to the country's civil defence.

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on gender segregation in restaurants
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 16:46:00 +0000
Women will no longer have to be segregated from men in restaurants in Saudi Arabia, according to the country's government.

Travel disruption as Storm Atiyah hits UK and Ireland
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 20:44:00 +0000
Storm Atiyah has hit Wales, southwest England and Ireland, forcing flight cancellations and diversions, and causing power outages in several areas.

Erfahrungen mit Pallhuber Wein
Agen Bola SBOBET Terpercaya

Travel in comfort and at your leisure with CT Airlink Limousine & Car Service for top quality private transportation and exceptional customer service. We operate Sedans, SUVs & Vans for CT Car Services to covering all Connecticut airports including Car Service from CT to Newark Airport , Mohegan Casino Uncasville CT, Foxwoods Casino Mashantucket CT, Manhattan Cruise Terminal NYC, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal NYC and Bayonne Cruise Terminal NJ. CT Airlink hire licensed and friendly chauffeurs who have in-depth knowledge of the Areas.

How To Use A Powerful Leadership Tool To Step Up Sales Results

Good sales people can close, but few "step up" for... Read More

Promoting Your Private Label at Industry Trade Shows

So everyone thought you were crazy when you announced 6... Read More

How To Have A Successful Retail Sales Event

In the 30-plus years I spent working in advertising and... Read More

Leadership - How To Turn The Vision Into A Reality

Be clear about where you are now. Audit your strengths... Read More

Sales Coaching... Fact or Fiction?

The old adage in selling has always been, "Find out... Read More

The Effective Executive

What does it mean to be an "effective executive"? Well... Read More

How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Sales Performance -- Part 2

Another key reason why companies suffer from 80/20 performance is... Read More

Producing Premium Performance

One of the major issues that arises in managing a... Read More

To Increase Your Sales and Revenue Make Sure To Add Value

What are you and your company's services and products worth... Read More

Online Sales: Secret To Increase Your Sales By Bundling Your Products

Microsoft has used this online sales secret to become a... Read More

Book of Lists Marketing for Pressure Washing Companies

The American Business Journals produces a Book of Lists each... Read More

Set Yourself up for Trade Show Success

Of the many mistakes small business owners make, a big... Read More

Do You Know How to Fire Up Your Sales Staff (When Money Isnt Everything)?

Money is the only thing that motivates a salesperson, right?... Read More

Generous Donor Refused (how qualified business slipped away)

Generous Donor RefusedPicture this. You are a fund development director... Read More

How to Sharpen Your Sales Message with Do-it-Yourself Focus Groups - Small Business Power Tools

You've probably heard of focus groups. It's a tool that... Read More

Is Your Sales Trust Factor High Enough to Win Against the Competition?

How high is your sales trust factor?Is it higher than... Read More

Retail Operations - Effective Branch Manager Support and Guidance

Performance and behaviour management is by far the most difficult... Read More

10 Things to Help Your Business When Sales Are Slow During the Holidays

Twiddling your thumbs and waiting for some business to come... Read More

Pointless Targets

I recall a heated discussion with a sales director some... Read More

4 Tips for the Summer Slowdown - How To Pick Up Sales

You may have heard about the "summer slowdown". You may... Read More

Stop Drowning: Nine Strategies For Managing Your Priorities

I just got off the phone with Susan. She is... Read More

How to Organize a Seminar or an Event

Seminars and events have always been implemented as a holistic... Read More

Sacking Clients: Brand Power Wheel

Remember in the last message we talked about your directional... Read More

5 Secrets to Managing Your Sales Manager Productively

Many people believe that the main reason for representatives leaving... Read More

How to Maximize Account Penetration and Jump-Start Sales

Maximizing account penetration is one of the most critical functions... Read More