How to Get Out of a Sales Slump
Have you ever seen your favorite sports team or favorite professional athlete get into a slump and wonder how they got there and when they are going to get out of it? It can be frustrating to watch and even more difficult for the team to recognize the need to make changes in order to snap out of it.
The driving factor behind breaking a slump is 90% mental, which is why it is so difficult to break. Think about it. When was the last time you found yourself in a slump? How long did it take to wake up and move on? What were the factors that motivated you to get over the hump?
Now think of your team. Are some of your players in a slump? If so, they are not the only ones. Frequently, around the end of Q1 a lot of sales representatives fall into slumps. Your team ran straight into Q1 at full speed and with the winter months coming to an end, many have cabin fever and are easily distracted.
The last couple of years have been tough. Many of our sales peers had to fight hard, work harder and their ability to succeed has been tested. Good news, the market is picking up and as sales professionals we have an incredible opportunity to crush our numbers in 2011. We have to take advantage of the time we have to make money.
So how do you get your sales athletes out of a slump?
- Acknowledge that some of your players are distracted? Bring it to their attention. Many of them will already feel pressure internally. They will not be sure what is wrong, but will know that they are not producing as well as they should. This is not about being unlucky, or being a victim; this is about getting pointed in the right direction to succeed.
- Relieve anxiety that will cause additional distraction by addressing the problem and offering support and council. Sales people know when they are not producing. Help them get back on track with aggressive and direct objectives and goals. Focus on driving activity and inspect results.
- Mix it up. Keep your environment fresh and change up the daily routine. Encourage your team to run in the morning, drive a different way to work, read a new book, listen to motivational tapes, eat different foods, take different people out to lunch, get to work early, set a goal to close the office twice a week, etc. Break the common routine; steering your team away from burn out. When in a slump it is easy to burn out, but it is your responsibility to help your team push through the downs. It happens to all of us, but it is those who mentally push through these lows that find better days and much success.
- Encourage your team to ask for help. Find new ways to do the job. Encourage your team to be nimble, to adapt, change and learn. Learn from management, peers and from the newest members of the team. Knowledge is power and it revitalizes the sole.
- Don't get distracted. Block out the billions of distractions you have daily. Use your time wisely. Don't waste time on distracting emails, news stories, family, social networking, the production of others around you, etc. When in the office there is one thing to focus on, booking business. The only way to make money is to sell, so clear everything out of your way that does not relate to your pipeline, booking revenue and hitting your goals. What is it going to take to be number 1?
- Have fun. Share a positive attitude, it is contagious and will bring your team success. We are approaching the end of the first quarter. There are 3 quarters left. The weather is changing and instead of being a distraction use the momentum to create fun motivational challenges to build team unity. A happy and positively charged environment creates high production.
- Team Unity. Focus on the basics and driving activity. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you? Take action! Encourage your team to find a peer to commit to call blitz together. Create team games internally with small prizes to build unity and drive activity. Have fun with it and create competition. Prospecting together creates synergy and increases energy and belief. Everyone's success is shared and the team will achieve positive reinforcement and success.
The key to getting out of a slump is to recognize that you are in one. Take control of your destiny. Don't be a victim. Instead, shake it off and make small tweaks to your daily routine and get on the offensive. Mix things up and get it done. Be happy and work harder than everyone else. Ultimately, you will find yourself at the top of the heap by end of 2011. This is going to be the best year of your life. Let's go!