It’s happened to all of us: One minute, we're hitting home runs out of the park; the next, we're swinging and missing every time.
ENTREPRENEUR -- What's happening? We've hit a slump. And while slumps can happen to any of us, a sales slump is especially unfortunate, because making sales is how a person makes a living. Not making any sales? You’re not making any money.
As the owner of multiple marketing agencies, I’ve spent years in sales, and I’ve had my fair share of slow periods. But the good thing about slumps is, they don’t last. If you just push through, you can get past your slump and get back to making sales.
Even the best salespeople have bad days -- it’s how they get through those days that makes the difference. Here’s what five of them had to say about how they deal with sales slumps:
1. Don’t give up.
When you fall into a slump, your first instinct is to stop what you’re doing and wait for it to pass. But sales consultant Peter Collins (who, in a career spanning 53 years, has worked for two multinationals and achieved Hall of Fame status in both) says that waiting for a slump to pass is exactly what you shouldn’t do.
In an article on LinkedIn, Collins wrote, “The easiest way to address this is that you need to keep getting in front of prospects, keep presenting and above all keep doing all the activities you are aware of that lead to getting sales across the line.”
Tip: If you stop doing the activities that lead to sales, you’ll only extend the slump. You just need to keep going, and the slump will pass.
2. Get your head in the game.
A slump can easily get you down and cause you to lose motivation, but success is all about mindset. If your mind isn’t in the right place, you won’t be able to pull yourself out of the slump.
In an interview with Inside Sales Summit, sales strategist Jill Konrath, the author of multiple books, said: “My best investment in becoming a better salesperson wasn’t in a course or a book -- the best investment I ever made was changing my mindset.”
Tip: If I myself am not 100 percent focused on my goals as a salesperson, I know I won’t be successful. And it’s even more important to stay focused when you’re in a slump. That’s why I do whatever it takes to stay positive and keep my mind on the task in front of me.
3. Find inspiration.
So how do you get into the right mindset? Sometimes, deciding that you need to focus isn’t enough to actually do it. You need to look around you for inspiration and motivation.
In a blog post for Salesforce, Alice Myerhoff, VP of sales at EdSurge, wrote, “There are so many great free podcasts about sales. Look for motivational stuff from folks like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy or Tony Robbins, or podcasts specific to sales to shift your thinking. I like to listen while I’m commuting to the office to pump myself up.”
Tip: I also love listening to podcasts. I even host my own, (with Aaron Agius), called the Growth Mapping Podcast where we talk about how to grow businesses. There’s so much knowledge out there today, and it’s all easily accessible. You just have to go out and find it.
4. Get back to basics.
If your slump is going on longer than you’d like, maybe it’s time to look at your process. Where might you be going wrong? Take a look at what you’ve done at those times when you were successful. What were you doing that made you successful? What are you doing now that might be different?
On her blog, sales strategist Colleen Francis has written: “Problems aren't usually caused by something complicated. They're usually the result of doing the simplest thing just slightly wrong. And more often than not, we know exactly what the problem is.”
Tip: Start at the beginning, and look at each step of your process. Analyze what you’re doing; look for problems that are occurring; and figure out how you can do things better.
5. Get help.
No one likes a martyr. If you’re really struggling, reach out to someone for help. Chances are someone has gone through a slump just like yours and may be able to provide some wisdom.
On LinkedIn, sales manager David Murray wrote, “Talk to a senior colleague about your ‘slump.’ I do this every time because another person's perspective is excellent at highlighting problems. They may simply listen, provide suggestions or just give you a boost in confidence, but the end result is that you feel better about yourself.”
Tip: Sales is also a team effort. If one person is struggling, it affects the whole team. The best way to get out of a slump is to find a solution together.
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