Sunday, April 25, 2010

Concept Selling – More Than Just Selling

Wikipedia defines innovator as “…a person or an organization who is one of the first to do something and often opens up a new area for others and achieves an innovation”. It’s a dream of every product development company to come up with a product which is first of its kind in the world. Being someone who has managed product developers for several years, I can say that engineers thrive on developing such innovative products.

So where are the challenges? The challenges are often faced by the sales teams. For the sales person, the challenge is in convincing the customers about buying something which they have not heard of. Customers, most of the times, believe that they don’t need it because they have lived without it for years.

For an innovative product, when it comes to selling, it is about selling the concept. Concept selling involves educating the customers. Here the product benefits and Unique Selling Points (USP’s) need to be used to ‘create the need’. It is about selling the benefits rather than selling the features. It’s different than established products. For established products, it’s about convincing the user in buying a product by telling how it is better than others.

Although referred as concept ‘selling’, this is one step beyond selling. Here, one needs to come up as an expert in the field and true advisor to the user. Although the end goal is to “sell” the product, it needs to go through: educating on the concept --> convincing on the benefits --> explaining the features --> describing the ROI --> and finally selling.


  1. This is more like Concept Marketing.
    Selling means Selling to prospect or user.
    Conceptualisation of a innovation, is Innovative Marketing.
    End result is making end user understand the benfit of the innovation.

  2. For both new and existing categories, it's also about problem solving. Even for a brand new product, there's opportunity to convince your customers how this new product is superior to their "current" solution or “ways of doing things.” Don’t forget that numbers could be a very powerful persuasion.

  3. @Jenny: I absolutely agree with you. One example of this which I can think of is: If you are selling a drilling machine, the requirement of the user is not necessarily a drilling machine. The user wants to drill a hole and the solution to that is a drilling machine. You can do this by showing how the drilling machine is a better way of drilling a hole :)

  4. I'm using the same term, "Concept Selling" in my training approach with my sales team. However, my philosophy is that sometimes we lose the sale when we get lost in our own products' features and benefits. There can often be too many for the average adult learner to retain that much information during a typical sales call. Therefore I like to focus on the key (top 3) differentiators or innovations that set me apart competitvely and focus on the concept behind that particular differentiator or USP. It's much easier to create need based on one individual concept versus trying to sell the customer on the entire package so long as the concept truly is innovative and compelling.

    Joe @ Invacare Training Academy