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The Selling Concept

Provided by IFC, adapted from Business Edge® workbook, “Introduction to Marketing Concepts"


While some firms emphasize the product and production more than marketing, other firms overemphasize the power of selling. They believe that no matter what they produce, a good/aggressive sales team will be able to identify customers and convince them to buy. These businesses believe that they should focus on selling and promotion in order to get customers to buy enough of their products.

This approach can be useful for products that customers do not normally think of buying, like home or life insurance. Companies selling these products must be able to find customers and convince them of the benefits of their product.  

This approach is also practiced by firms with excess capacity (they can produce more than they normally sell). They want to sell what they are equipped to make, and they are not focused on making what the market wants.

One of the weaknesses of the selling approach is that it focuses on creating sales rather than on building solid relationships with customers. It assumes that most customers will like the firm’s products and those who do not, will probably not share that information with others. These are usually poor assumptions. Dissatisfied customers do not buy again. In fact, dissatisfied customers affect a company’s reputation faster than satisfied customers can build it.

The Selling Concept, like the Production Concept, ignores basic marketing principles. While the first purchase may take place, a second one is unlikely because the customer’s real needs and wants have not been met.

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