A Guide To Understanding Conceptual Selling

Conceptual selling

Have you watched a top IMDB-rated film called ‘Pulp Fiction’? In the film, you can see two characters, Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega, trying to retrieve a briefcase. While we as an audience never get to see what’s inside of it, we are told it is of utmost importance. In film terms, it is what is called a MacGuffin. It can be defined as an event, device, or object that is pivotal to the film’s plot and character’s motive but does not carry much value in itself. 

Simply put, the concept holds more value than the object itself. Regardless of what was inside that briefcase, what was important was that people desired it. That’s what conceptual selling is all about! 

You will make a product kind of MacGuffin, so when you pitch it to your audience, you will be focused on the concept around the product instead of the product itself. Thus, your Growth Marketing Agency will devise an advertising plan where you describe why it is crucial and why it is desirable without actually explaining the fundamentals of the product. 

So let us explain what it is in detail: 

What is Conceptual Selling?

Growth Marketing Agency

Your Growth Marketing Agency cannot execute or organise a sales process without following a proper sales methodology. Conceptual selling is one such methodology that is used for executing and planning customer interactions. 

It ensures that you, as a business, follow a customer-oriented approach and come in line with sales activities with the customer’s decision-making process. 

The fundamental rule about this methodology is: 

Customers don’t purchase a particular service or product- instead, they purchase the concept that the solution is based on.

With this, authors Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman urged sales reps to uncover the potential customer’s concept of their service/product and recognize their decision process and not to begin with a pitch. 

According to the authors, sales reps must ask questions that fall into five broad categories. They are:

  • Confirmation questions will help in reaffirming details. 
  • New information questions will clear the concept of the service or product of the prospect and explore what they would like to achieve.
  • Attitude questions understand buyer persona and tries to find their link to the project.
  • Commitment questions ask about a potential customer’s investment in the project.
  • Basic issue questions will raise potential issues.

Conceptual selling is dependent on listening and then categorising the selling process into 3 different phases. They are:

  • Extraction of details 
  • Supplying details
  • Getting commitment 

A salesperson should ensure that all the transactions that take place must be a win-win situation for both the parties, failing to which, they should not continue with it.

The conceptual selling concept was developed after the Great Depression time when goods supply was not abundant. As the depression came to an end,  the companies with abundant products had to move their inventories, and this methodology began. However, today’s concept has evolved somewhat from how it began. 

Today, the concept assumes that the customer will purchase a service or product without regret, or even if they do, they won’t feel that for long and will buy the same product again soon. 

The selling concept, unlike the marketing concept, seeks to address consumer needs, seeks prospects and sells the benefits of the products. Although marketing concepts are alienated towards new product development, the selling concept assumes that people won’t buy a service or product without a significant effort in sales. 

Selling concepts tries to put an impact on the customer’s mind with the help of sales techniques. With precise designing of marketing plans, product selling becomes a cakewalk. The marketing management leverages five philosophies for selling its product. They are: 

  • Marketing concept
  • Production concept
  • Product concept
  • Societal marketing concept
  • Sales concept

If you want to understand the concept of sales, let us take an example of a company selling soft drinks. As the product doesn’t have many health benefits, the advertisement is focused on the texture and taste of the software and how one feels after consuming it. This is what influences the customer to buy it, even if it is not necessary. 

The sales concept is ideal for businesses that have an inventory overstock or when while selling products, the customer doesn’t usually buy unsought products like

  • Nonprofits
  • Fundraisers
  • College admissions
  • Political campaigns
  • Timeshares
  • Insurance plans
  • Blood donations
  • Funeral plots

So which businesses should be adopting conceptual selling? Let us find out: 

Who is Conceptual Selling Right For?

Though all businesses can profit from conceptual selling, some of them have the edge over others. For example:

  • Services vs. Products

It is sometimes challenging to describe the ‘product’ itself, so conceptual selling is a robust plan for selling services and other abstractions. While we are not saying you cannot sell tangible products with conceptual selling, services do have the edge over them. 

  • B2B vs. B2C

While B2C businesses work faster and reach a wider audience, B2B businesses are focused on customer relationships and longer decision cycles. Therefore B2B companies adopt conceptual selling widely. 

  • Buying Cycles and Customer Lifetime Value

Conceptual selling is considered ideal if you are trying to get positive long-term relationships with customers who stand to yield value for a significant amount of time. Note that you are attempting to understand your customers and get a win-win situation. If the lifetime value of your customer is less or the buying cycles are shorter, putting in all those efforts might not be worthwhile. 

Now let us look at the benefits of conceptual selling.

What are the Benefits of Conceptual Selling?

Let us discuss the advantages businesses can derive from Conceptual Selling: 

Increases Closing Ratio

You can understand how much your prospect needs your solution by understanding the fundamental problem they are facing. Knowing these problems will allow you to close the deal more confidently, thereby increasing your sales closing ratio. 

Lessons Sales Cycle

In a usual sales cycle, the marketing team is responsible for handling your leads, depending on their actions on your social media pages or website. 

Your sales team will get a uniformly divided list, post which they can begin their sales approach. The primary aim is to get your prospects inside your sales pipeline and help them become a customer. 

Oftentimes, while taking them through the stages, you might lose them. It can be due to various reasons: 

  • The price might be too high
  • Your business is not offering what they seek
  • They are not ready to make the purchase yet,

Conceptual Selling boots the productivity of your sales cycle by supporting the prospects in the decision-making process.

Builds Lasting Customer Relationship

Builds Lasting Customer Relationship

When you listen to your prospects actively, your Growth Marketing Agency can take a consultative approach. Treating your prospect like an actual human with real needs and wants and not just a number on the list makes them feel better.

Conceptual selling has the power to turn prospects into customers and sometimes even silent ambassador brand promoters. 

Improves Average Deal Size

Improves Average Deal Size

For your business, brand promoters are healthy. When customers do positive word-of-mouth, it helps your business push more potential customers into the sales funnel. This means getting more deals into the sales pipeline. 

Builds a Productive Sales Organisation

Builds a Productive Sales Organisation

When you have an organized sales funnel, the acquisition of business deals in your sales pipeline becomes convenient. In addition, you can achieve better productivity when there is a smooth flow of prospects into your sales funnel. 

Let us put it into simple words: 

Your sales representative will consult and find out if the personality of the prospect aligns with the buyer’s personality. Though they will question them, they will also listen to the prospect. Employing conceptual selling methodology will help salespeople in many ways: 

  • Identifying and aligning the selling process with the customer’s buying process
  • Finding the real decision-makers and offering a solution to them
  • Making sure the sales chance continues to move forward
  • Ensuring efficient application of the time of the salesperson and the customer
  • Finding a valid business reason for each customer engagement 

These are some of the benefits of conceptual selling. Let us now check the link between strategic selling and conceptual selling. 

What is the Link Between Strategic Selling and Conceptual Selling? 

If you want to win sales opportunities you can combine strategic and conceptual selling with a point of view of helping businesses to come up with holistic strategies. 

Perspective with strategic selling helps in the offering a selling process and action plan to efficiently sell solutions that demand approval from numerous decision makers in the customers business. Conceptual selling with perspective helps sales reps prepare in a better way to spend time with customers resulting in purposeful meetings and win-win scenarios. 

So does one use conceptual selling to sell their service or product? Let us check out:

How to Use Conceptual Selling to Sell Your Product or Service?

If your Growth Marketing Agency has decided to go ahead with conceptual selling in your business, there are different ways to boost your results:

Keep Things Precise and Simple

There are numerous books that are written on conceptual selling. Even a sales manager would preach about the significance of having a perfect plan. However, conceptual selling is associated with abstractions and relationships; a simple plan is often considered an ideal way to go. So you must develop a flexible framework, have a proper understanding of basics, and try to go off the deep end. 

Take Ample Time to Prepare

It is always a better idea to take a serious account of your leads and prospects. Before you go into a meeting with your prospects, always try to know them beforehand. 

Learn who they are, where they come from, what their role is, and what the company looks like. This way, you will be better equipped with the knowledge to understand the buying process efficiently and figure out a win-win situation. 

Explain the Risks of not Buying Products

Be it safety or health; you must inform your customers what they might be missing out on by not making a particular purchase. For example, an advertisement for buying life insurance. A typical ad would ask customers to speak about insurance and how to buy it. However, when the selling concept is involved, it will talk about how the insurance will cover various contingencies of life and everything in the periphery, letting them know how they would miss out if they don’t buy the insurance. 

Be Prepared to Answer any Objections that Your Customer May Have

Regardless of how well you identify with your service or product, there will always be some objections that your customer might have. In this case, it is important to have answers or objections in a way that satisfies the customers. 

You can accomplish this by having a solid understanding of your service and your contemporaries. Additionally, it is crucial to anticipate the customer’s objections and have ready plans of how you will address them. 

Align the Motives of Sellers and Buyers 

Focusing on two processes that occur simultaneously, i.e., the selling process and the buyer’s buying process, is important. Your sole motive is to align yourself in order to have a deal that will work out for both parties. Settle for a transaction that will satisfy both buyers and sellers. 

Make it Personal

Oftentimes, you are better off keeping sales impersonal as it makes it easier to handle rejection. However, with conceptual selling, you must make it a little personal. 

Understand your prospects and build a good relationship with them, as you are more likely to rely on your recommendations and work with them without any second thoughts. 

Take the Help of Visuals

If you want to describe a service and product to your potential customers you can take the help of visuals. With the help of graphs, charts, and other visuals, your potential customers will get an idea about your service. 

Moreover, visual aids will be a persuasive case for your product or service. A consistent best practice behavior for using visuals is to make sure that they are clear, precise, and easy to understand. Irrespective of how complicated the data is, you must present it in a way the buyer understands it. 

Know Your Competition

Knowing your competition’s stand is important if you want to sell your service or product. It means understanding who they are, what they’re selling, and, more importantly, what they are saying. After knowing this, you can position your product in such a way that it benefits you closely, knowing your competition will also prepare their next move and make counter moves. 

Tap into Emotions

If you want to make a better case for the conceptual product, you can consider tapping into the emotions of your prospects. 

Think along these lines: 

  • Can your services give your prospect more peace of mind? 
  • Can it impart a sense of relief?

If not, then design your sales pitch accordingly.

Find Pain

You must first identify what is that an individual is moving away from and the reason behind their engagement as a vendor in the first place. Typically, it translates into them moving away from a particular type of pain.

In the context of sales, pain points are the thing that brings discomfort to your prospects in their business, day-to-day activities, and daily lives. Each person has a different pain point, and they come in varying pain levels. 

Usually, the pain points are dependent on different pain levels, and you can measure the pain level on your potential client’s perceptions and what they recognize their pain points as.

Typically, there are three layers of pain points. These are:

  • Technical issues
  • An impact on their business
  • Personal impact

Most business owners and sales professionals stay on the surface. It is the aspect of the technical issue. The issue, however, with this is most people purchase to remove themselves from the personal impact of the problem. With the help of conceptual selling, you can show how investing in your service or product will help them eliminate each layer of these pain points. 

Foster the Relationship

It is not always about selling a product or service; it is also about building meaningful relationships with your customers. Always treat them like they are about to be your life partners. 

Finding common ground with the customers can help you establish a rapport. It could be as simple as sharing a common experience or similar interests. Once you establish you can build trust, you can be transparent and honest with the customer. It is all about remembering that selling is not manipulating them into buying something that they don’t necessarily need. 

Close the Sale

It is time to close the sale after addressing all the objections of your customers. By asking for your customers’ business directly, you can do it. You can say, ‘Based on all the things we have discussed, we think our product/service would be a good fit for your requirements. Will you go ahead and place an order?’

You can also close the sale by making a specific call to action. For example, it could be something like,’ I will send some more information about our product/service, and we can set up a meeting to discuss it further.’ 

These are some of the benefits of conceptual selling. 

Final Words

By now, you must have known that conceptual selling is a robust tool that will help you close deals and improve your sales number. When you identify the needs and motivations of your customer and come up with a custom solution, it will help meet their particular requirements. If you are not already using this methodology in your sales process, we advise you to do it. 

It is an excellent ingredient as it gets to the meaning behind what your prospects are buying. It is a form of business orientation that goes without any aggressive sales campaign. 

Therefore, to achieve optimal results, you must carefully consider the methodology’s pros and cons and implement it in your marketing strategy.