Written by Ari Greenbaum, Co-founder of conXpros
Every salesperson experiences a slump at least once in their career. We have all been there (or currently stuck in a slump) and know all to well the massive pressure and stress a sales slump creates in our lives. Most sales pros, especially in the home improvement and home services fields, heavily rely on commission as an employee or new revenue as a business to put food on the table & support their families. These are real issues, and from my own experience, mentally and emotionally exhausting. When I was there myself, it felt like I could not breathe and I was not just letting myself down, but also my family. If or when you are experiencing a slump, you only have 2 choices:
- Play the victim-make excuses to justify the slump in your mind & place blame outside of yourself (the leads, the prospects, the pricing, current events, the economy, etc.)
- Take control and attack the slump head-on!
Although it is easier to go with option 1, to win, you must take the more challenging road & attack the slump head-on. True superstar sales pros only experience this once in their career as the simple process I will lay out for you also provides the ability and framework to prevent a repeat in the future. For those not at a superstar level, do not fret. Whenever you find yourself in a slump follow these simple steps to get back on track fast. Fortunately, I have only had to experience this once in my life and will share the tools I used to get back to superstar status and remove all those terrible and negative things felt when in a slump.
The 3 slump busting steps:
- Get your head out of your rear end! If you are feeling sorry for yourself or harboring any of the victim like thoughts mentioned above, your head is not where it should be. There is a saying I have shared with many throughout my management and coaching career, “if your head is up your ass, all you can see is s#! %”. When you start to remove it, the world is a wonderful place with so many positive things to recognize. If you are in a slump, it means that you previously had success! Remember who you really are, not just the present moment. Remind yourself of the deals you have closed, the results you achieved, and the feelings associated with winning. You are a winner, but currently having a tough day or stretch. This is critical to remember. Once you stop beating yourself up and placing blame, and more importantly get into the positive winning mindset, you have the foundations in place to get back on track.
- Shoot your shot. Sales veteran, leader, and rock star, Peter Collins shared in an article on LinkedIn “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.” The Great One, Wayne Gretzky is famously quoted as saying “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take”. One of the all time best, Joe DiMaggio, a guy who batted no less than .330 for a season in his hall of fame career, experienced a slump. He was hitting .268 in a particular season but broke out of it to get back to that incredible .330 number. He shared the following “I’m convinced the only way to get out of a slump is to stay in there and keep swinging. Nobody can help you. I’ll bet at least 100 players gave me advice during the season and no two had the same idea.” This mentality is crucial to slump busting. You need to keep getting out on calls and keep your pipeline full. By not allowing yourself to make the detrimental choice of “I will sit out for a bit” or “I’ll take some time off to re-calibrate”, you put yourself in the driver’s seat and take control of getting back to winning. Stay in the game, but with some different and positive thoughts. If you are not in the game, you cannot win.
- It is all about the basics. I guarantee you that when you were rocking and rolling, you were fundamentally sound. In other words, you mastered and implemented the basics. I have been working with salespeople in a leadership and coaching capacity for over 12 years. I can say with certainty that every time a top performer was experiencing less than normal results, we uncovered that they got comfortable and lost focus on the thing that made them successful in the first place, the basics. I have also seen new sales reps get out of training on fire and hit the ground running. However, after a few weeks of success and results, their numbers slip. Every time it was a result of the same thing the super star experiences, getting away from the basics. Unfortunately, throughout the 12 years, some have been able to get back on track, and some never accept the reality that they have steered off course. It is easy to identify the fundamentals and basics (I will list them below), but the most important piece is putting the work in to DO what you know works. Here is my list of the basics that I personally use and have coached others with to find consistent superstar sales results:
- Remove distractions: prepare your mindset & focus before every sales interaction on the task at hand.
- Make it routine: approach every day and the same way with a consistent routine.
- Own your process: practice & prepare so you can execute at game time.
- Confidence: feel confident and exude confidence (not arrogance).
- Consistency: approach every sales encounter the same way and repeat the successful process you have created.
- Clarity of thought & speech: guide your prospects to the yes by knowing where to take them before you are in the moment.
- Show, don’t tell: engage the prospect in conversation to help them understand and “see” the solutions and benefits you offer vs. telling them.
- Listen to understand: there is a difference between listening to respond and listening to understand.
- Never give up: “no” is only an indicator that you have either not offered the right solution or have not clearly shown them. Practice passionate persistence.
- Sell through positivity: do not put others down to build yourself up. Show what differentiates you and your product from the competition.
- Always ask for the order!
Slumps are painful and challenging. By following these 3 simple steps, you will bust that slump like a pro. Better yet, learn how to bust the slump, experience the joy of getting back on track, and use this a tool to also prevent another slump in the future. In the beginning of this article, I suggested that top tier superstar salespeople only experience a slump once in our career. The reason is simple; through consistent self-awareness, we can recognize when we are getting away from basics and make the adjustments on the fly. The result…never experiencing a sales slump again.