The Competitive Selling Style

Areas of Potential Improvement

Do you love to win? More importantly, do you HATE to lose? When it comes to a sales cycle, are you focused to winning the deal, at times at any cost and refuse to give up even when the odds are stacked highly against you?

If you answered a resounding "Yes," then you probably fall into the Competitive Selling Style.

You may be asking yourself, "What's wrong with being a competitive sales professional? After all, I am in sales to closing sales. And any attitude that makes losing a sale is worthless." If that is what you are thinking, you're right! You are in sales to drive revenue and this is, most often done by closing sales.

But let me ask you a simple question: Are you in sales to close sales or to earn customers? Your answer is of critical importance and reveals the potential challenges with the competitive selling style.

Customers, not Sales, are the Life Source of Every Business

Behind every sale is a sales professional and a customer. Both are critically important factors and both exists only because of each other. No one can be a sales professional if there are no customers and without sales professionals, customers would not be able to purchase anything and thus become a customer. What this means is that if you look beyond the phrase "close a sale," you inevitably arrive at the phrase "earning a customer."

This slight but dramatic shift in your mindset begins to reveal an area of potential challenge with the competitive selling style: A competitive seller is more focused on the sale than on the customer. This mindset can and often leads to customer dissatisfaction and can limit or eliminate customers becoming repeat or loyal customers. It also can lead to the competitive seller "over promising and, in turn, under delivering." Doing so creates a Win-Lose scenario in which the sales professional wins the sale but the customer loses as he or she fails to receive the expected benefits of the purchase.

Winning at All Costs

Competitive seller's hatred of losing leads to a mindset of "win at all costs." This means that the sales professional may need to bend the truth (or outright blow it up) to close a sale and, worse yet, be able to justify the half-truth by believing that the "ends justifies the means." Sales professionals who adopt this attitude are those that give the sales profession a bad name. They are often referred to as "fast talkers," "smooth talkers" or "used car sales people." None of these descriptions serves them well long-term and I can't believe it does much for their self-esteem.

When a sales professional is consumed with winning and sense that a sale is slipping through their fingers, there is often a temptation to throw a competitor under the bus. Doing so seldom produces the intended results and almost always leaves the prospect with the belief that the sales rep is not very professional.

Lastly, winning at all costs is also an attitude that is dangerous for employers. While there will always be sales organizations that demand a "win at all cost" attitude, most realize that "profitably serving their customers" is the best long-term approach to take.

So what is YOUR selling style? If you haven't taken the NASP assessment yet, hop on over. You'll be glad you did!
Thomas Phelps
Thomas Phelps> all articles
Thomas Phelps is a professional life coach, focusing on small business owners, sales professionals and entrepreneurs. As a small business owner, Phelps works with clients around the world, providing both coaching and professional writing services.

Phelps is the creator of the "Essential Needs Sales Model" and has crafted a unique and highly effective sales coaching practice that helps turn struggling professionals into top achievers.

As a professional writer, Phelps has written countless articles on sales, management, personal development, business ownership and the pursuit of success. He is the Guide for Sales Careers on, sales expert and featured author for the National Association of Sales Professionals ( and works with businesses of all sizes in crafting compelling content that delivers results.

He is the author of two fiction novels and has ghost written two books for well known leaders in the personal development industry.