No matter what industry you work in as a small business owner, it's likely you or someone around you will experience some sort of rut. In the sales world, a rut can be scary. Your job is to sell and if you aren't selling, there's a problem. Here are some tips and ideas that will help you get out of the dreaded sales rut and back to being the successful and competitive business leader you know you are.

Get back to basics

Even if you've been in the sales or business world for years, it's okay to take a step back and disengage from your practices. Sit down and determine what's working and what's not, and perfect your game plan. What were some of the first things you learned about sales? Are you implementing those things? Strategies you've learned in the past may have fell by the wayside, so it's worth it to bring those back into play.

Get a coach

I can't stress enough how much of a benefit having a sales or business coach can be. The outside perspective and expertise can make a world of difference. Sales coaches have been in the industry for years, they are fountains of knowledge. Having a coach that works or has worked in a field like yours is ideal, but some coaches have experience in a large array of areas. From presentation tips to communication tactics, a coach can share valuable nuggets of knowledge that you haven't thought of before.

Step out of your comfort zone

Companies generally target major market areas, but taking risks and honing in on smaller markets can be beneficial. I've gone out of my way to target small markets that no one is pitching or considering and landed deals with long-lasting clients. It's important to look out for the little guys, not just the big guys! There is potential to build relationships and business partnerships in more than just large cities. Taking risks and targeting people you wouldn't normally think of can help shake things up.

Seek feedback where you can

Most companies have some sort of employee review system in place, but there's nothing wrong with requesting an informal review for feedback on what you could do better. In fact, employees appreciate the gesture because it shows you care about their input on how to help the business succeed. Also, if you're comfortable, seek feedback from people you've sold to in the past to find out what worked and what didn't.

Work smarter, not harder

Reevaluate your sales plan. Are there items you can delegate? Are there opportunities to kill two birds with one stone? Are there tools available to you that you haven't taken advantage of? Finding ways to be more efficient without working harder can save you time and stress as you dig your way out of a sales rut.