If you spend enough time in sales, you’re going to have some slow periods. Sometimes you are chugging along when everything suddenly seems to grind to a halt, and you feel like no one is buying. It can happen at any time, for any number of reasons. Maybe a streak of lost deals has weakened your confidence, you’re losing passion or faith in the products or services you offer, or you’re getting away from doing the basic things that work.
When this happens, it’s easy to spiral and be in your head. But the important thing to remember is that if you put one foot in front of the other and push through, the slump won’t last. For the sports fans reading this, there are a few quotes about slumps that apply just as much to sales (and life) as they do to baseball. Johnny Bench said, “Slumps are like a soft bed. They're easy to get into and hard to get out of.” Legend Hank Aaron said, “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”
Here are three tips that help keep me focused and swinging during a sales slump:
Singles & Doubles Over a Home Run – Salespeople are competitive by nature, and we all want to swing away at every opportunity, hoping for as many home runs as we can get. The problem is when you swing away with all your power, you can lose control, and the odds of hitting that home run dwindle. Instead, continue to focus on hitting your singles and doubles, and getting on base. In other words, stay focused on your process. You have seen success in your role as a sales professional – what were you doing that made you successful? What are you not doing now? Just because you are in a sales slump doesn’t mean you go back to the drawing board and change everything by swinging for the fences.
The Power of Positivity – Even the most glass-half-full type of person can let negativity creep in quickly when the sales slump hits. A poor mindset can impact all parts of your job, especially your customer outreach. Early in my career, I did a lot of cold calls. I would make anywhere between 200-300 cold calls a day and averaged 1 yes to every 99 nos. Simple math, I had to make 100 calls for one yes. I have been yelled at, hung up on, you name it, and I, unfortunately, let it mess with my head from time to time. I had to learn to let it roll off my back, shift my mindset, and stay focused on the task ahead.
Keep Your Say/Do Ratio 1:1 – A good friend and mentor once gave me some of the most straightforward advice I have ever received. He told me to keep my “say/do at a 1:1 ratio.” Whatever you say you are going to do, you do it. Salespeople are busy, and we can get so caught up in the day-to-day activities that we let our say/do ratio slip, which can be the start of a sales slump. Stay sharp and on top of your game. Follow through on commitments and solutions for your customers.
Sales slumps are temporary, but when you are in the middle of one, it can seem like an eternity. Make sure that when you are in a slump, you are persistent in your efforts and take action to attack every day with positivity. You will eventually get out of it.
- Focused hits work better than a power swing
- Keep a positive mindset and intent with your client communication
- Don’t overpromise and underdeliver