Back when I was at IBM I remember seeing a survey that ranked people’s most common purchasing decision criteria from 1 to 10.

This was a post sale survey, which attempted to discover what issues were most important in making purchasing decisions.

As a young sales rep at the time I was surprised to see that Price was pretty low on the list at number 7.

I can’t recall exactly what the number 1 criterion was, but the top two or three were things like Vendor Reputation and Customer Support – criteria that the customer was using to judge how likely they were to succeed if they purchased from us.

“Features” was not the number 1 either. It was somewhere in the middle.

I bring this up because it’s important to understand why you win or lose.

Why You Win or Lose…

It’s common for sales reps to complain that they lost because of price. Or because the competition had a key feature or capability that his company didn’t have.

But this is really just a bunch of B.S.

When you lose, it is always for one reason and one reason only.

You always lose because you were OUTSOLD.

In poker there is a saying that goes like this:

There’s a patsy in every game, and If you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re it!

The winner knows ahead of time who is likely to win, and who
is likely to lose.

The patsy thinks that he has as good a chance of winning as
his competitors do.

Taking Responsibility Means More Control and More Sales

To be a success in selling, you have to take full responsibility for your results.

Because in taking responsibility, you gain control.

When you realize that you are responsible for all of your sales results, good or bad, you also realize that you are and always have been in control of your sales.

And when you are in control of your sales, you can maximize your closing rate and minimize your future losses.

By admitting that you get outsold when you lose, you then go into every sale deciding whether and how to compete for the business.

Some deals are better for you, some are better for one of your competitors.

As you begin each and every potential sale you uncover, your first goal should be to determine as fast as possible who – whether you or one of your competitors – is best positioned to win.

Note that this is a very different attitude than having as your goal to close the sale.

Focusing on closing the sale should come only after you’ve determined whether and how you can win.

If you can win, then you should compete and sell fiercely until you do.

If you determine that a competitor is best positioned to win, then you should get out of the deal unless you can determine a valid winning strategy for changing the rules back in your favor.

When you follow these principles, you will naturally sell more, become a better sales person, and rarely be outsold again.

Sell with Pride,

Shameless Shamus Brown