We all have peaks and valleys in our normal sales life, but a prolonged downward trend can become a worrisome sales slump; and that's a place no sales professional can afford to remain too long. If you feel yourself stalling in a sales slump, consider these tips to break out of your downward cycle:
- Find your weak spot. Examine your sales process to see where changes have occurred, and where you are experiencing failure more often than usual. Are you getting fewer leads? Do you have an above normal failure rate at getting the first appointment? Has your success rate decreased relative to sales presentations or RFPs? Has satisfaction among existing customers decreased?
- Engage team members. Tap into the experience and insights of your fellow sales professionals; involve them in the search for a solution. Are they experiencing similar challenges? Solicit their feedback for best practices, constructive criticism on what you could improve, and their tips for breaking a sales slump.
- Talk to your sales manager. It may seem counter-intuitive to proactively address a sales slump with your supervisor, but there are significant benefits. First, it will only boost their confidence in you if they see you are aware of and proactively addressing performance issues. Second, it is reasonable to expect they will have insights to help break your downward cycle; after all, it is their job to coach and motivate for optimal performance.
- Examine past success. Take time to consider what has worked well and driven success in the past. It is easy to drift from our own best practices without even realizing it. Ensure that you keep an evaluative record of what does and does not work to refer to for future reference.
- Stay positive! When we hit a slump, it is typical to focus on closing sales and the negative impact of our failure to do so. But, in difficult times, it is all the more important to remember that our ultimate objective is to help customers succeed, not to close business. There is nothing more repellent than a desperate sales professional. Stay positive and focused on your customer; only then will the sales follow.