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Sales Tip

Mirror Mirror On The Wall..Have I Been Outsold?

Imagine yourself sitting in front of your CRM or meeting with your manager during a debrief session. It’s time to answer the question, “Reason for Losing the Sale.” The common choices are related to price, product, service etc. I’d suggest you add one more to your list or discussion, “I was outsold.” Have you admitted to being outsold? If you haven’t, it must be your first day on the job, because it’s happened to everyone I know.  So what does it mean, being outsold?  How do you know if you have and why’s it important to know? Let’s find out.

Some ways you can be outsold

  • If you don’t get in front of all the people during discovery who are making or influencing the buying decision before you present your solution, and the other rep does, you’ve been outsold.
  •  If you don’t have a clear understanding of what each influencer and decision makers personal buying motive and business objective is, and your competition does, you’ve been outsold.
  • If you don’t confirm in writing through something like a letter of understanding that spells out your contacts needs, pains, goals and objectives, and the other salesperson does, you’ve been outsold.
  • Have you ever heard the phrase, “We would love to buy from you but we don’t have the budget,” only to find out miraculously the money appeared and they bought from the competition? The competition followed through on the earlier points, which allowed him or her to demonstrate the value to justify a stretch in the budget, and you didn’t. You were outsold.
  • While you were trying to please your buyer by saying yes to everything they requested, the competition was asking challenging questions and saying no to unreasonable requests. You know what happened.

I understand the competition might not be on their game in every situation. This can allow you to win deals even if you missed on an area or two above, but that’s not the point. Being a professional salesperson is not about lowering your standards to your current competition, it’s about being the person who is doing the outselling. You want to be the person who meets these standards in every selling situation.

Why should you be honest about this?

I had a great conversation with Dianna Wright, PhD ( today. Dianna works with people interested in finding more peace and less stress in their life so they can achieve the success they want. One thing her clients learn is to focus more on what they can control instead of what they can’t. That’s exactly why you need to be honest about being outsold. The ways you can be outsold listed above are in your control to change. You’re the only one who really knows if you’re meeting these standards and practices. When you look yourself in the mirror what is the truth?

The other important reason to be honest is to understand how much weight to apply to the reason for losing the business. If you’re outsold, any reason given will be tainted.  You’ll never know if you would have made the sale if you met with every buyer or sent a letter of understanding.  When you do what’s required to not be outsold, and are the one outselling the competition, the reasons for a loss related to price, products, service or other things become valuable data for the company to become more competitive in the market place.

As professionals we never want to have our company cut margins due to a lower level of selling. In fact, if we can hold the margins with excellent selling, greater commissions will follow.

Action Exercise

Take a look at any deals you lost over the last quarter and ask yourself if you were outsold. Use the list in this blog as your standard. If you were, decide what you will do to ensure that doesn’t happen in the future.

As always if you need a hand on any of these items send me a message or give me a call.

Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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