What are the characteristics or options of the various sales approaches? One isn’t better than the other! But one can be better suited to the target client than the other. Entrepreneurs are approached differently to corporate clients. It’s a strategic choice to decide where we want to be positioned in the Differentiation Selling Matrix and with which clients.

In Commodities (markets with lots of suppliers where the clients’ decision-making criteria are more or less fixed) are also worth lots of money. You can also differentiate yourself here in the sales process – very easily!

Lots of Solution Sales (solution-based sales whereby the value has to be created in the client’s concept) tend towards the commodity quadrant. Sometimes it can even be better to evolve from solution sales to commodity sales. You give up the fight and instead focus on the costs structure, e.g. switch to webshops, self-service.


Solution Sales

Differentiation Selling™

Focus on product

Focus on product and client

Focus on client 100%

Negotiation, bargaining

Sell value-concept

Influence decision-making

Client has already decided, fixed criteria

Risk management in client’s

Change management


Directed dialogue

Open dialogue







Telecom subscriptions

Some advisors

Some advisors

Leasing, insurance

Some financing or insurance

Process-oriented consultants

Outsourcing, lots of
consultancy services

Configurable solutions such as
ERP or customisation

Entrepreneurial selling

Differentiation: From Commodity to Solution or Differentiation Selling™


Wanting to change sales strategy is an important consideration. It is very difficult to evolve, for example, from Commodity to Solution Sales. You can want to… but ultimately it’s the client who decides. It’s virtually impossible to change the client’s purchasing strategy. In short: if the client sees you as a commodity supplier, you’ll find it very difficult lose that label. The client who sees you as a commodity will not accept any solutions. After all, the client has already formed an opinion and knows what they need. Lots of consultancy services (including highly specialised ones) are, for example, seen as a commodity by corporate clients.

It’s better to accept the situation and to differentiate yourself as a sales person via the sales process: from Commodity Sales to Differentiation Selling™ is an easier and more lucrative route than from Commodity to Solution Sales.

There is also lots of money to be made in Commodity Sales!

Differentiation: from Solution Sales to a hybrid approach – combination of Solution Sales + Differentiation Selling™

For Solution Sales, it’s possible to differentiate yourself using a hybrid (mixed) approach. More focus is placed on the sales change management process here, without losing sight of the value creation in the sales process.

Differentiation: from Commodity or Solution Sales to Entrepreneurial Selling

We define Entrepreneurial Selling as a Differentiation Sellingstrategy that focuses on the client’s business (business differentiation) in such a way that you help consider how to approach the client’s client. We see this type of selling used by some advisors and in partnership sales. Not all clients allow this. It’s an option.

So the starting point is not:

“How can my client be better?”

It is“How can my client’s client be better?” ==> use process questions from this point of view to consider your client’s decision-making process.


I will be happy to discuss with you in person how you can implement Differentiation Selling in your organisation. As an introduction you can visit the article archive.

The skills are easy to learn. With a little bit of preparation, they can be applied pragmatically in your future sales conversations. The method allows you to carry on being yourself. This means you can stay focused on your client. Would you like to experience this first?

Then join our open workshops .

Copyright © 2011, René Knecht