Every salesperson suffers from occasional slumps. The best salespeople I’ve ever known, total superstars, have slumps. The challenge is not to avoid or worry about the slump but to break out of the slump as quickly as possible. I view sales slumps as analogous to hitting slumps by Major League Baseball sluggers…here is what two of the best hitters said about slumps:
“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or just feeling badly, the only thing to do was to keep swinging.” Hank Aaron
“When you’re in a slump, you need to do something different…just to try it. I remember one time I was in a slump, and I borrowed one of Hank Aaron’s bats and hit two homers. I used my own bats the next night but I just needed the change.” Joe Torre
Here are 3 ideas for breaking out of a slump:
- Mix up your routine
- Read, or listen to, books about sales
- Ask for feedback.
Mix up your routine
Like Joe Torre said, sometimes you just need to do something different. For example, you might change your daily commute route slightly to put yourself in the mindset of “doing things different.” This would hold true for eating a different menu for breakfast or maybe wearing a new shirt to the office. I always start my day by reading applicable industry or business newsletters and websites because I want to get my mind and attitude into business mode. If you don’t do this now, try it.
It really doesn’t matter specifically what you do as long as you’re doing some things differently. I believe these small actions will help remind you of the need to ‘shake things up’ to break out of your slump.
Read, or listen to, books about sales
I like reading books about sales, sales management, and personal motivation. As a salesperson, why wouldn’t you want to learn more about your craft? I believe these types of books are particularly helpful when you’re in a slump. If you aren’t feeling well, physically, you would go to a doctor…if you’re in a sales slump, the same principle applies. Reading, or listening to, books about sales and personal motivation are the kind of check-up and diagnosis that are sometimes needed to get you back on track. In fact, listening to sales books while on your daily commute can be an excellent way to help mix up your routine.
There are as many sales and motivation books as there are salespeople but here are four books to help get you started:
The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
How to Win Friends & Influence People
The Psychology of Selling
Getting Naked:A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
I’ve read, or listened, to all of these books and they are always very helpful for getting me back into ‘maximum sales mindset.’
Ask for feedback
Like the major league hitter, when you’re in a slump, you can often overanalyze what you’re doing and get lost in the weeds of trying to work things out. I find it very helpful and effective to ask for feedback from your manager or peers. Many times, they will be able to see something that you’re doing, or should be doing, and give you a different perspective. Just like talking with a hitting coach or fellow big-league player.
Obviously, you have to have a strong and trusting relationship with those whose feedback you’re requesting. But, all of us have a core group of friends and associates that can often observe you better than you can recognize yourself…utilize them as a great resource.
Bonus tip: consider meditation
Your laptop can sometimes get cluttered with old files, downloads and documents. You’ll need to optimize your system to get rid of those junk files and duplicate files.
I’ve found that meditation helps me to ‘reboot’ and feel refreshed and focused. There are many forms of meditation and you don’t necessarily have to sit cross-legged on the floor to meditate. If you have friends who meditate, talk to them and see what method they use and consider giving it a try. I know quite a few people who meditate and it certainly helps me a lot. In addition to all the other ideas, if you’re in a slump, you may want to try meditating. Remember, the key is to get out of your slump as soon as you can. Shaking things up will help you achieve this goal.