How to Cope with a Sales Slump
Into the life of every business, a sales slump will eventually fall. Customers cancel orders, opportunities get delayed, prospects turn out to be dead-ends. Worst case, you can have a "perfect storm" where nothing seems to go right.
What to do? Here's an easy five step process to kick yourself back in gear.
1. Don't panic.
The worst thing to do at this point is freak out, which might turn a sales slump into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Statistically even the best firms and the most talented people have weak or bad quarters. Take a deep breath and don't let it get to you.
2. Give yourself some credit.
Some people crumple under pressure. If you've gotten this far with this post, you're not one of them. You've decided to do what it takes to improve the situation, which takes real courage. That alone separates you from the crowd.
3. Reframe the current situation.
Rather than thinking of this slump as a disaster, think of it as a way to hone your emotional resilience. If you continue working and selling and doing the best with what you've got, you're training your brain to be successful even when thing get rough.
4. Evaluate your sales tactics.
Take an objective look at the way you're selling. Have you changed your behavior from when you were more successful? Or has the market changed? If neither is true, you're all set. But if either is true, decide what you'll need to change in order to adapt.
5. Work your sales process.
Regardless of whether you've made changes to your sales process, it's time to forget about the slump and focus on the mechanics of selling. Make the calls. Do the follow-ups. Have some faith. Soon the slump will only be a bad memory.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.