“Momma told me there would be days like this…” is sometimes all you can say when it looks like nothing is working. Suddenly, you can’t seem to close, leads have dried up and you don’t know what is going to happen next.
This stinking thinking is usually followed by radical changes to the sales presentation. When that does not work after several changes, panic sets in, desperation begins to take hold and it’s all over.
When this scenario happens, I can virtually guarantee that the sales person fell down on the numbers, the sales activity ratios, somewhere. Or, that if he or she would just continue, without changes, there is a huge payday coming. However, let’s face it, sometimes you need a bit more than a friendly voice or a cool blog telling you to just hang in there and that everything will work out.
A Vicious Circle
The problem though, is that once you get to the above state of mind, you are looking at everything too emotionally. It is true that perhaps you may be doing something wrong in your presentation or close. But when your mind is this screwed up, you won’t be able to recognise or correct the issue anyway.
You make changes, but still doubt. The doubt surfaces as fear, which turns into desperation. The more you fear and become desperate, the harder it is to close. The harder it is to close, the more you doubt and fear.
You have to take measures to remove the emotion, get your head back in the game and regain some level of confidence. Try this…
Up The Ante
First, consider your sales numbers and determine the average amount of sales interactions that should be completed in a day, week or month, and then raise that figure by 25%. For instance, let us assume that in your business, a sales person should complete 20 sales interactions in a week. Raise the number for yourself to 25 interactions.
Your goal then becomes a mission to complete 25 interactions, PERIOD. Do not even think about selling or who bought, who did not buy or why. Just compete 25 interactions and pay no attention to anything else. Act as if you will receive a big cheque simply for doing the 25 presentations.
Thank You For Your Time
In doing this, you want to be ready to walk out of the door on any and every prospect. I am not saying that as soon as the prospect says NO once, you should leave. Go about your standard objections, but keep in mind that you really don’t care if they buy or not. Your goal is to hit the 25 interactions and that’s it. If your sales presentation calls for you to ask for the order three times, then on that third ask, be prepared to say, “Thank you for your time,” and leave. No questions. No reasoning. No care.
Also, during this time, maintain your pricing. If you have some small discount built into the close, ok. But do not give away your shirt. Be prepared to leave with the price high.
A lot happens when you do something like this. First, the sheer numbers will likely get you back on track by themselves. But the “I don’t NEED the sale…” attitude will do wonders for you.
If you can maintain the amount of closing attempts plus show no desperation or need for the sale, things will come back around. You will also find that when you do something like this, you will sell at higher prices and close bigger sales.
This works. Be careful though. Once you got things back on track, you may want to maintain this persona and working habits. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
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We hear this terminology all the time in the world of professional selling. However, just what is a sales slump anyway?
Most sales people refer to a sales slump as that time when sales slow down, and business slips into a quagmire. The main thing is that most sales people relate a sales slump and its cause to unfortunate circumstances, usually beyond the sales person’s control. It’s not their fault. I mean, no one gets into a slump deliberately, right?
To that common definition of a sales slump, I say…
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SALES SLUMP.
Are there times when your sales may drop off? Yes. However, it is not due to unfortunate or even unforeseen circumstances.
#1 – You Reap What You Sow
The primary reason you see sales fall off in what sales people commonly call a slump, is due to an inconsistency in work ethic and a lack of understanding the science of selling.
As an example, a sales person sets a goal to earn £1,000 in commissions for the week. He has a 20% closing average. However, since he earns an average of £200 per sale; he sets a goal to close 5 sales, and here is a sample of what happens that coming week:
Monday – Sales person does three presentations and closes two. Earns a total £500
Tuesday – With referrals from Monday, he does two presentations and closes both! Earns £350
Wednesday – He does four presentations and closes two of those! Makes £450
Thursday – He does two closes and sells none, but having already reached his goal, he takes off early and hits the local pub.
Friday – He runs another strong referral: one presentation, one sale. £250. He then takes the rest of the day off for a well-deserved early weekend.
Our sales hero closed 7 sales instead of 5 and earned £1,550 instead of £1,000. He is ecstatic and feels he has a great month and career ahead.
What’s the Problem?
The problem is that this sales person performed only 10 sales presentations and he closed 7 sales. The problem with that is that 7 out of 10 is a 70% closing average. His average is only 20% or 1 out of 5. With a 20% closing average, he should have done 25 presentations in order to make 5 sales. He should have done 25, but he only did 10. He owes the “street” 15 sales presentations. What do you think is going to happen next week?
I Fought The Law and The Law Won
The “law of averages,” is a LAW, it will come true. If you flip a coin 100 times, it may land on heads 15 times in a row, but when it is all over, it will come out very near to 50 heads and 50 tails. Our sales person’s 20% closing average is going to come back with a vengeance!
The Following Week…
Still riding on the high of last week, our hero sets a goal to make £1,500 again this week with 7 sales.
Monday – Does 4 presentations, sells one. £185
Tuesday – Does 3 presentations, no sale.
Wednesday – Works very hard and gets in 5 presentations and sells one. £200.
Thursday – Getting desperate, he gets out and does 5 more and sells one. £225.
Friday – He begins to feel that he is doing something wrong, different from the previous week. So he alters his sales presentation on the next 4 calls, and sells none!
This sales person now begins to say, “I’m in a sales slump!”
The fact is that he is exactly where he put himself. He is in the exact situation he created. This is not a slump. For this sales person to earn £1,000 per week, he needs to do 25 sales presentations every week, week in and week out, regardless of how many sales he closes. Instead, he is experiencing the results of the sales process for which he invested.
#2 – You Reap What You Sow – Again
Just as the lack of work ethic will come back to haunt you, so will a consistent input of positive sales activity. When you consistently do the proper number of sales closes, phone calls and other sales actions, you will still occasionally have a period of a few “no-sales” in a row. However, that too is part of the process and not a slump, as you can count on closing several sales in row to even up the law.
Be consistent with the number of sales calls, sales interactions and other foundational sales activities and erase the word slump from your vocabulary. Watch your averages and do not allow your work ethic to lag when you have a good selling week.
My associate John Landrine in the U.S. has a saying…
“If the street owes you, it will pay you back with bonuses and rewards. However, if you owe the street, it will collect with interest and penalties!”
MTD Sales Training
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No matter how long you have been in sales, you will inevitably experience the ups and downs of the business world and create opportunities from them or suffer from the pain of lost sales. It would be wonderful to always maintain a high profile with all your customers, and be on top of your game at all times.
But what about the times when things don’t go according to plan? What can you do when you suffer from those bleak periods, when the sales just don’t happen and you fall into that stupor called the doldrums?
Here are some tips on how to deal with them.
1) Remember that “this too shall pass”. By focusing too much on what is going wrong, you will simply attract more of it. Don’t allow it to become the be-all-and-end-all of your days. Remember that it is simply a phase you are going through and, as inexorably as day follows night, if you get back on track, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
2) Remember back to when things were going well. You had a process to follow, a strategy to maintain, an attitude to keep up. By remembering what those processes were, what those strategies included and what that attitude consisted of, you can determine the plan of action that needs to be followed to get back there.
3) Concentrate on what you can control, rather than being at the mercy of what you can’t. It’s easy to blame the economy or the competition or your product for things looking bleak. But what you need to do specifically at this time is identify exactly what you can control and influence, and work on those things only. By moaning or whining about what you can’t control, you simply hand over responsibility for your emotions and feelings to an external force that you can’t do anything about.
Even the doldrums can be left behind if you concentrate on the actions that need to be taken to break free. Create those goals in your mind that will encourage you, and become once again the quality salesperson you know you can be.
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“But I’m doing everything the same Sean and my figures are awful, I’m in a sales slump – help!”
Sometimes don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re in a slump when you’re not.
Sometimes it’s just the simple law of averages catching up with you.
Here’s what I mean.
Your overall closing ratio is 20%. So you win 1 in 5 deals.
Now assume you’re on a hot streak and your closing ratio goes to 80% during the next 30 sales presentations. You’re over the moon!
But then you’re figures take a dive and you get all worried – you couldn’t “close” a barn door!
So what’s up?
Well, to sustain a closing average of 80% over the long run is not realistic. Sure, it might go up from 20 to 30 or even 40% but not to 80% so the law of averages kick in and say:
“Hey, you’re due some no sales” and you go through a “slump”
Note how I say “slump” because you are not in a slump.
So what do you do? Well, you tinker with your technique and approach and that just makes your figures worse when all that was happening was your averages catching up with you.
Simple as that!
So my takeaway lesson is this:
Make sure you analyse your figures closely. Understand the dynamics of your business so when you get the “highs” and the “lows” you understand what it means. Make sure you don’t knee jerk into changing your methods when there is no need.
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