A bit of selling commodities

I told my friend: "Since I managed to persuade some people to use our IT solution, I think I'm kinda good at selling". He asked : "Show me how u would sell some commodities (read: not so kool stuffs) ?"

I told him some points about point of difference, pricing, customer service blah blah. He answered : "You got potential, but will definitely fail if you do it now"

After that, I gave it some more thought and came up with a more complete plan. He said it seems better now.

I asked myself why I couldn't think 'bout those points and tell him right at that time, then realize: there is a huge difference between actually doing something and just knowing how it works.

Here is my final plan (so that I can keep this in mind)

Question: Things we can look into to drive the sales of some commodities

Product stand-point

What’s the selling point ? Is it verified by 3rd-party ? Did we emphasize it in our ads ?

Distributor stand-point

  • What’s the margin we currently offer our distributor ? Is it competitive with those from our competitors ? If not, can we match up or provide some kind of support program for them ?

  • Do their sellers know how to sell this product ? Do we require them to follow any specific protocol for selling ?

  • Do we support their sellers on how to display the product in a better way at stores ? (e.g. with POSM)

  • Do we provide adequate after-sales services so that they can direct the consumers there ?

Consumer stand-point

  • Did we educate them enough on the benefits ? If the product is the premium one, did we communicate the benefits over the alternative-but-cheaper-ones clearly ?

- Did we have any promotion for them ?

Strategy stand-point

- Is this product the high-margin one ? If yes, how do we maximize its sale ? How do we trade-up to the one with higher margin ?

- Do we want to bundle anything with it ?

- Can we leverage the scale ?

- How to increase the category ?

  • Do we have on-time and quality data to understand the reality of the business ? Do we know how to read the data ?

It's nice to be able to write these down based on what I observe from working with sales/marketing people. And again, to remind myself : there is a huge difference between actually doing something and just knowing how it works

But it seems interesting and challenging : )


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Jamie Larson