Slumps, ruts, down months…whatever you want to call them, one thing is for certain: they are soul-crushing and devastating for any commission-based salesperson. For the vast majority of us, if we do not sell the product/service, not only does our self-esteem suffer, but our wallets become much lighter too.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear – everyone who works in sales has gone through this. Our job is not all rainbows, flowers, and dollars. Every once in a while, we get punched out. The real trick is not spending too much time on the ground. You have to quickly pick yourself back up and keep on going.
Recently, I found myself in a slump too. I know first-hand how it feels to have your confidence ripped away. Luckily, I was able to pull myself out of it relatively quickly. That being said, I have seen many reps fall in to a rut and not take the steps to dig themselves out. As mentioned above, you need to quickly get yourself out of this situation ASAP. This is how you do it.
Admit that you are in a Slump
You know that phrase “the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem?” Well…the same method applies here. The most destructive thing to do is to simply look at a rut as your new standard. What’s worse is to just assume that next week/month/year will be better. You have to be 100% honest with yourself…look yourself in the mirror and admit that you are not performing. Once you admit that you are having issues with your performance, the healing process can begin.
Don’t Panic & Don’t let your Self-Esteem Fall
Once you realize that your performance is lackluster, do your best not to panic. Realize that everyone has gone through this. I bet if you go to your top performer in your company, they will recount many times where they were in a slump. It doesn’t mean that you are horrible and it doesn’t mean that you should quit and find a new career. All it means is that you need to look at your process and fix what isn’t working.
Examine Your Sales Process for Opportunities to Improve
If you drive a car and the battery dies – you don’t scrap the car and buy a new one! You fix it and keep driving. Same goes for a slump. You have to find your broken component within your presentation and repair it. The best way to do this is to have multiple people shadow you and have them offer honest, constructive feedback. While nobody wants to hear about all the things they do wrong, you should be receptive to suggestions during this time.
If you are unable to have someone shadow you, record yourself during a presentation and watch it by yourself. See if you can notice any flaws. Self-criticism can be a fantastic tool if you take a honest look at your presentation from an outsider’s perspective.
Motivational and inspirational speakers can do amazing things to your mental state. Often times, a sales slump will wreak havoc on your attitude and cause you to lose motivation. As we all know, sales and marketing are all about your attitude. As Zig Ziglar says, “Your business is never really good or bad “out there” your business is either good or bad right between your own two ears.” If you listen to Youtube videos and Podcasts that are designed to pump you up, you’re performance should follow suit.
Go Back to the Basics
Let me share a scenario with you. About 5 months ago, I read a book about selling techniques. I decided that, while I was currently successful, I should try out one of these new techniques to improve myself. Turns out, that technique did not work for me. I tried it out for way too long before I realized that it has the opposite effect – I fell out of sync with my usual process and had basically fallen off of my throne. It forced me to hit the reboot button and get back to the fundamentals. Once I did that, I was able to get my usual process back easily.
If you find that you are in a rut, just go back to the basics. Don’t try any new fancy methods or any crazy theoretical innovative techniques. Just get back to the basics and get back to what made you successful in the first place.
Take Care of Yourself
As I mentioned above, sales is a huge mental game with yourself. The better you feel, the better you will do. That being said, doing activities that benefit your mind and body will have a positive effect on your mental well-being. If you find yourself in a bad month, start exercising more. Instead of getting a Big Mac for dinner, make yourself a salmon salad. Rather than watching TV until 2 am while drinking beers, drink a green tea and go to bed early. Meditate. Do Yoga. Take a nature walk. Just do whatever you want to do to help your mind & body recover.
Learn from It
If you have done all of the above steps, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will crawl out of the slump and regain your success. It won’t be easy – you have to work hard and commit yourself to improving, but it can be done. Whatever happened to cause this slump, learn from it. Take the experience and turn it in to a sales lesson. You’ll find that whatever you can teach yourself from your failures is far more valuable to you personally than anything someone can tell you.
Slumps happen to everyone. You will definitely at some point in your career get punched out. Maybe you are punched out right now! That doesn’t matter – what does matter is how you respond to it and how quickly you can get back up.
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Author: Jason Karaman
Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service expert, trainer, author, and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife, Ashley. I enjoy reading (history, philosophy, and science are my favorite topics), writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to JasonKaraman@ExpertCaller.com