It took me a long time to realise that when you work in Sales, dry spells, bad months, slumps happen. They come out of nowhere and seemingly have no end. You try and convince yourself not to get desperate even though you can hear the desperation in each call and read it in each email you send.
It took me even longer to realise that these slumps may hold the secret to success in sales… I know this sounds like over-positive BS but most of the time the cause of these bad times is due to an empty pipe.
‘Past You’ didn’t work hard enough and now ‘Current You’ is suffering so pick yourself up, dust yourself off and work your backside off to get out of this situation and make sure that you do ‘Future You’ a favour.
Most of us (including yours truly) don’t know exactly how to snap out of it and start making sales again but hopefully these tips can help you on your way…
1.Make a plan
It always annoys me how often I forget to create a plan, when I sit and plan out how I am going to achieve my goals I inevitably find that I am more effective and find it a lot less stressful, however I constantly find myself working hard without thinking and not sticking to the plan. As soon as I realise that I am heading towards the bad place I try and reconnect with the plan. Sit down and work out what you need to achieve, how you are going to do it and then break that plan down into weekly/daily activities.
2. Get back to basics
Problems are rarely caused by something complicated. In Sales the problem usually lies with not having enough prospects or too small a pipeline. So get back to basics, pick up the phone or crack open the database and start prospecting like its your first day on the sales team. The sales people who feel like they are above prospecting are the people who have to rely on a lead generator for them to hit their number. I don’t rely on anyone to hit my number, I see myself as the master of my own destiny. I have only one person to blame when I am in a slump and that is me, so put your head down and start opening some doors and you will be amazed at the changes it can bring.
3. Work smarter
Earlier I talked about making a plan and breaking down your goals and daily activities, this is working smarter. At the end of each week I go through my calendar for the next week and think of 10 clever ideas to help me succeed next week. That can range from a different opening line to a now tired email to a way of reconnecting with an old prospect. By taking the time to think about this the week before I am going to action it I remove the added pressure of having to think as opposed to just getting in and actioning my to-do list. Us sales people aren’t notorious thinkers… so work smart by assuming that you will be an idiot next week.
4. Change your presentation
Einstein Said, “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Sales people seem to forget this and work a presentation or a pitch to death. There is no good reason for it but sometimes a pitch just goes stale, you haven’t changed anything and its exactly the same as last week or last month but for some reason it just goes stale. Make sure you aren’t trapped in a never-ending cycle of a bad pitch or presentation. Mix things up, change your approach and keep it fresh so you don’t hear yourself saying the same thing over and over and over and over….
5.Get to work earlier
I know, I know …. You already get to work really, really, really early right? Unfortunately, if you are in a slump then you need to put more time in. Get to work early, leave late, work through lunch. If you want a 9 to 5 job then sales isn’t the job for you. The only way to make sure you are getting better results is to put more time in, call more people, send more emails. Sales is a contact sport and the more time you are there then the more contacts you can make.
6.Change your mood
Positivity is a word that is thrown around a lot in sales and for good reason. Your mood is directly related to how people will respond to you but we can’t be expected to constantly walk around with a big old smile on our face and a super positive ‘can do’ attitude.
So change your mood for the better, listen to a kick-ass song, watch the best part of your favourite comedian’s set, put on a scene from a movie – do whatever you need to change your mood so you can be the best you can be.
7.Change your environment
I find cleaning my desk, making everything look ship-shape, will give me a less hectic outlook. Going through all the useless paper and throwing things out will give me a little peace of mind. If that doesn’t work then get out of the office all together. Work from a coffee shop or from home but do try changing the environment you are working from and see if this improves your outlook on life.
So remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Don’t let a slump get you down, use it as fuel to make sure you are not in this situation again.
Understand what motivates you and what demotivates you. Create discipline and think of a plan and stay focused on the activities you know will pull you out of the slump. And remember to keep it all in perspective.
You are responsible for your slump, and only you can change it. Once you accept the fact that you can reverse your fortune, you’ll already be on the road to getting out of this hellish slump. And if all else fails, make more calls and send more emails.