“The brutal fact is the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipe, and, the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to prospect.” – Jeb Blount
Just keep swinging … It’s happened to all of us: One month, we’re hitting home runs out of the sales ballpark; the next, we’re swinging and missing on every sales opportunity.
We’ve all been aboard the sales train wreck before. You fail to secure an important sale. You have a series of bad days. Worse, you struggle to sell to your own clients. You can’t seem to disentangle yourself from its deadly grip. You’re in a sales slump.
“Sales slumps don’t discriminate”
Even heavy sales hitters have bad days, bad months and even bad quarters — it’s how they get through it that makes the difference.
Sales is a mental sport and slumps happen to everyone. A sales slump is especially unfortunate since making sales is how sales reps make a living. No sales, no commissions makes for empty pockets.
WHAT’S A SALES SLUMP
A slump is any decrease in sales performance. It happens over time, not just one bad day. A slump may start without much harm. You might simply lose a sale. It may bother you a bit. You lose another sale and now you’re getting pissed off.
Then, your manager makes the comment, “you might be in a slump.” You struck out again. It’s at that point, you decide you’re in an ‘official slump’. Depression sets in as anger fuels it, making it worse. Your poor results worry you even more. All you begin to think about is the slump as it “gets into your own head” way too much.
Every sales professional goes through seasons of frustration and even despair. There is an aspect of sales that is very emotional.
“Let the negative emotions fester and they can drag you down, shipwrecking your career.”
SALES IS RAW AND EMOTIONAL
One moment, you’re on top of the sales mountain and unfortunately the next, you find yourself tumbling down the side of a cliff. Sales is raw. Sales is emotional. Sales is not for the weak at heart!
There are four seasons in a year. We have seasons in our sales career. Quite frankly, nobody wants to talk about it. If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you know sh%t happens.
You lose one of your largest accounts. You miss budget over a series of quarters. You make a string of bad decisions such as failure to prospect and then the funnel dries up!
As Jeb Blount says, “The cumulative impact of many poor decisions, slips in self-discipline, and things put off until it is too late.”
You go from being hungry and aggressive too complacent and bored. Once was an exciting career becomes drudgery and routine. You hit the funk! It starts to wear on you!
THE SALES FUNK
The person who can control the sales funk is YOU. Take a step back and become a bit vulnerable with yourself.
What’s your morning ritual?
How about every morning set aside 30 minutes to reflect? What did yesterday look like? What will today look like? What can I do better? Find problems when they are pebbles as opposed to boulders rolling down the side of a mountain.
You may be getting out of a sales funk, coming out of a sales funk or you will be in a funk. Nobody knows it but you. You may be spinning out of control or somehow lost your way, it happens! You’re burned out! What are you going to do about it?
BREAKING OUT OF THE SALES FUNK
What can you do when you find yourself in this dark place, the sales funk zone? What can you do to rescue yourself from it? Stay in it and you’ll submarine your career.
“Negativity fuels all of those emotions to the point that it consumes your every thought.”
You’re the only person you knows immediately that you’re in the funk zone. Admit it and put it out there. It’s ok! Confide in your manager, a friend, a mentor or even a teammate but more importantly; do something about it.
Step one in the process is just own it. Put some light to it.
Check your pride out at the door and admit you need to do something about it.
Professional athletes go into slumps. However, what makes them different is they’ve set their pride aside and seek help. They increase their levels of practice, planning, and preparation. They don’t blame others. They don’t make excuses. They go back to the basics.
Your clients and prospects sense desperation mode when you’re in the funk zone, as you spew your commission breath all over the room.
Suck up your pride and start prospecting consistently again!
As my friend, Jeb Blount, so eloquently says…
“The brutal fact is the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipe, and, the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to prospect.”
Invest in your Heart
When you’re slumping, dig in and find out what’s in your heart and mind? What is it that you really want to change?
Invest in yourself and self-reflect. Reflection time is about taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is the first step forward in breaking the funk. We all know the phrase:
“You have to take care of yourself, nobody else is going to do it!”
Meet with yourself every morning and ask yourself a few of these questions…
How am I feeling?
How is my energy?
What do I need to align?
What am I willing to do about it?
In the professional world of sales, we will all find ourselves in a sales slump. When that happens a true sales professional will recognize it early and then take the steps needed to minimize the slump, and turn it around fast.
About the author
Larry Levine is the international best-selling author of Selling from the Heart and the…