What a great time of year fall is! The time of year when parents are knee deep in their children's school activities, and their kids 1st quarter grades. Sports fans are focused on baseball playoffs, and the football season is starting to heat up. The weather starts shifting from hot and dry to cool, windy and dreary. Night starts coming earlier and earlier causing people to hunker down in their homes a little sooner each day. On top of all that, lets throw in some show stopping elections to really enamor people. All of this adds up to a fairly large probability, you could be in a slight fall sales slump. After this year, some sales people are even thinking "Fall" is named after falling sales!
Even though misery loves company, this article isn't about giving you excuses to be in your slump. My goal is to help you and any fellow sales compadres, break free of the ill fated downturn, early and often, this fall or the next, whenever or wherever one may occur. So let's get your mind out of the gutter and refocus your intentions on sales success!
Ways To Positively Change Your Mindset
As mentioned above a "slump" is merely a state of mind. Before we spring into action we have to change your mindset.
Remember Where You Come From
You are undoubtably more successful now than you were years ago, at the start of your career, or at the beginning of your college years...etc. When my Army enlistment ended, I had just came home from Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. I used all the money I had saved while overseas to put down on a house I couldn’t afford on an ARM Mortgage (you have got to love the housing bubble of the early 2000's). I had a part time job at Best Buy selling TV's. My brother that was supposed to be helping me pay half my bills decided to party like a rock star and ended up moving out to pursue other things. I was engaged to my lovely fiance and accidentally knocked her up. To put the cherry on top, on my way to work one day I wrecked my car. As you can tell, things were going just great for me back in 2004 – 2005. I was broke, behind on my bills, and going through a lot of problems!
Looking back on this struggle, makes me realize how strong I am, and that no temporary little drop in sales for a few days can stop me! Wherever you are in your journey through life and career fulfillment, if you remember where you came from. You will be able to tap into that same inner strength that helped you get through those very difficult times in your life. Remembering where you came from will help you realize this little "slump" your in now, is simply an ant hill to stomp on, laugh at, and continue on your journey to success. Don’t stay messed up in the head over a little sales slump. If large mountains couldn’t stop you before, why would a small downturn stop you now?
Be Grateful For What You Have Now
After wrecking my car on the way to work at Best Buy, the dealership I stopped at to buy a new car from, ended up hiring me as a used car salesman. Within months I was the top salesperson, and a year their first internet manager. Within a few years I was in finance, and soon after I was assistant sales manager. I worked my way up from there and eventually moved on to even bigger and better things. Now I get a rush out of running an entire new and used sales department at one of the top Hyundai dealers in the midwest. I dabble in rental and investment properties on the side and I am also enjoying my own private coaching practice where I love helping managers learn how to be true leaders for their team! I am happily married to the same amazing woman I accidentally knocked up back in 2004. She has the choice to work or to be a homemaker. We have three wonderful children that I couldn’t be more proud of. I have an amazing team of sales professionals that work with me at my dealership and great dealer owners that look at us as partners more than employees. Along with the best client base a dealership could ever want. When I look at everything I have to be grateful for, I realize how important everyone in my life is. I want for you to do the same thing, count all your blessings both BIG and SMALL Then you will have the fuel that you need and the positive attitude it takes to liberate yourself from the mental bonds of the sales slump.
Take Out Your Frustrations
Every fall or winter, as soon as things start to cool off, I remember my favorite sales meeting of all times. My sales manager handed everyone a pair of protective eyewear and said, "Follow me were going on a field trip!" We walked out back behind our car lot to find a red Eagle Talon sitting behind the building with a sledge hammer next to it. The next 30 minutes was spent taking turns smashing it to pieces. Let me tell you something, we sold more cars that week than we had in the last 3 combined! Everyone had fun and got to vent their frustrations on that poor little car. We got to remember how fun a sales career can be. To vent their frustration some people lift weights, hit a punching bag, go for a run, or even sip a glass of expensive scotch! The bottom line is, doing something to relieve the pent up stress and frustration is not only healthy but may reinvigorate your motivation to sell your product or service.
Use Fear And Anxiety To Help You Spring Into Action
Fear or anxiety can be one of the biggest obstacles to a healthy selling mentally. Sometimes one tough customer, or one bad day, is all a salesperson needs to send them into a negative feedback loop that halts all productivity in its tracks. You’ve been there, you have seen the salesperson that returns to that mindset month after month. If they spent as much time trying to acquire their next customer as they do telling everyone how worried they are about being able to make a commission check, they would probably make more now than when things were swamped a couple months ago! We've all heard the saying, "When times get tough, the tough get going." Not to say we don’t work hard when things are going well. This phrase just points out that, instead of sitting around and being paralyzed by fear and anxiety created by slower more challenging times, tenacious people do something about the situation. It's ok to feel the fear and experience the anxiety. [blockquote-left]Use fear and anxiety as a whistle, a starting line gun shot, the crack of a whip, to cause you to spring into action![/blockquote-left] When you treat these feelings as your mental barometer, telling you it's time to get to work, the increased activity will soon create business. The business will create income, and the income will cause these feelings to subside. It's time to turn it up a notch my friends and get to work!
Understand The Law of Large Numbers
The law of large numbers describes the result of performing the same action a large number of times. "According to the law, the average results from a large number of trials should be close to the expected value, and the more times a trial is completed, the closer to the expected value it becomes." -(Paraphrased from Wikipedia). How does this translate to crawling out of a sales hole? I'm glad you asked! If you know you close 20% of any client you end up in front of, and you wait on 10 people in a week, and no one buys from you, then you may have just had a string of bad luck. However, take 8 weeks, 6 months, or even a year worth of your closing statistics, you will find that you still close at that 20%! What this means is, just because you’ve had a few people in a row that haven't purchased at your normal closing rate, doesn’t mean that it will continue forever. Stick to the process that you know works, wait on more clients, call on more clients, and the sales will eventually happen at your normal closing rate. It is that simple. You may sell your product or service to the next 4 clients in a row! Don’t get discouraged by a few people that walk!
Control The Controllables
So many sales people spend so much time worrying and stressing about things that are out of their control. I have news for you, worrying, stressing and discussing things you can't control is an absolute waste of time, and energy and only feeds into the negative feedback loop that is a sales slump. Feeding something WILL cause it to grow! So let's talk about things you can control and things you can't. You can control your attitude. You can control your activities and actions. You can control your thoughts and emotions. If all this is true, which I'm sure you agree it is, then that means, you can have a positive attitude, and spend your limited time getting after it, follow up, prospecting, and doing the other activities you know you need to do to sell something! You can't control the weather. You cant control the market. You can't control the election. If all this is true, and no matter what we do, these things will just happen in the way they will, then WHY spend time worrying about them? Instead ask yourself, "How can I use the current situation to find a customer or make a deal?" Control what you can control and focus on only that to break through that sales lull like a real champion!
Freshen Yourself Up
Falling behind where you want to be for the month can be very frustrating. Trying to sell anything while frustrated can be very challenging! It's almost as if frustration is a cheap cologne or perfume that clients smell a mile away and avoid it at all costs. I recommend washing that frustration off with a fire hose. No seriously, though, freshen yourself up to remove your frustration. [blockquote-right]Freshen yourself up to get back on the sales bandwagon![/blockquote-right] Go get a new hair cut, buy a new suit or dress, iron those clothes, shave that beard, get a mani pedi, trim the nose hairs: Sorry if I grossed you out! Just do something to make yourself look sharp and feel better! Grooming yourself will make you feel like a million bucks and will reinstate that confidence you used to have back when selling was as easy as A B C. Now that you have freshened yourself up, time to act confident! SMILE, even if your not that happy! Simply walking around with a grin will cheer you up, as well as those around you. Walk briskly like your busy, even if your not. When moving from your parking lot to your desk, move with a purpose to get the blood flowing. When you do get to sit down with someone focus on making great eye contact. I'm not much of a cook but here is a recipe for a sale: a newly freshened up you, mixed with some strong energy, add a large friendly smile, stir in a large cup of confidence and a dash of eye contact. No sales slump stands a chance against this delicious selling cookbook!
Do Something Positive To Help Others
When your down, it seems like nothing will go your way. The appointments aren't showing, the deals are backing out, the sales pipeline seems empty. It seems that the chips are down and the cards are stacked against you. You may ask yourself, "What have I done to deserve this?" Well Captain negative pants, instead of asking that question, why not ask this, "What could I do right now, to deserve better?" I'm not one of those superstitious people who believes in "Karma". I do; however, know for sure, that when you do something positive to help others, it creates a feeling of well being and confidence unlike anything else. This confidence and feeling of self fulfillment will transform the negative state you are in, into that of an uplifting, caring and compassionate one. This is a new and positive state that others, especially your potential prospects, clients and co workers will take notice of. The sooner you create this internal growth and cultivate the feeling that you get from helping others, the sooner you will be able to move on from your temporary sales meltdown! Some ideas to create some positive "Karma", help a new person in your office with their paperwork without asking for something in return. Buy someone you don’t know lunch. Wash your parents car for them. Buy an elderly person or single parent in your neighborhood a bag of groceries. Help the author of this article aerate and seed his lawn... You get the picture, just do SOMETHING positive without expecting anything in return, and you will get a lot more than you bargained for in return!
Get Out of The Same Old Routine
Everyone knows the definition of insanity right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. [blockquote-left]When your in a sales slump, you must get out of the same old routine and step out of your comfort zone![/blockquote-left] That means it's time to try something NEW to create a sale! If you're like most of us, you have an idea that’s been sitting on the back of your brain collecting dust. Its easy to put good ideas on the shelf when business is good. Why wouldn’t you, "Don’t fix it if it aint broke." They say! Well, I'm here to tell you, if your in a sales slump its broke, so what better time to try out that idea that’s been sitting on the back burner. In an enlightening one on one coaching session, one of my up and coming sales people was trying to get his sales and revenue up to where he wanted it. I asked him, what new tactic had he wanted to try out, but had not yet tried. He told me about his own website where he could generate subprime leads. He even told me that he had started creating the site, but didn’t ever publish it. He was waiting for it to be "perfected". Together we broke through the barriers holding him at bay, paralyzing his growth, freezing his idea, and he let her rip! He is sure glad he did, and so am I! His site is growing his business and its gaining more momentum each day. Giving him sales he would have never gotten simply by doing what he had always done. What do YOU think you should try but haven't? What do you KNOW could help you sell, but are too fearful, uncomfortable, or nervous to do? What's the worst thing that could happen if you try it? What is the BEST thing that could happen if it works? I believe you know what you need to do...
Develop a New Habit Today That Will Help You Succeed
You know what the most successful people in the world have in common? They have "Habits" that make them extremely successful. Don’t get me wrong, EVERYONE has habits, the thing is, not every habit helps you become successful. So what ARE the habits of a highly successful sales person? I guess that depends on what you sell. That being said, here are just a few examples of habits a highly successful car salesperson does on a daily basis. They show up to work on time, dressed professionally. They listen to all their voice mails, and respond to emails asap. They watch the lot for floor traffic while simultaneously prospecting on their phone or computer. They post cars on various social media sites and other sites. They grab any incoming sales call they can as soon as they hear the phone. They follow up with unsold prospects regularly and often. They ask permission to be pushy and close a deal. They talk to customers in the service drive every day, and attempt to create business. They call all their old sold customers, make sure they are happy and find out who's next in the family to get a new or used car. They help their sales manager when he needs it, because the know he will have a "cheese deal" for the useful sales person over the one that avoids helping around the lot. They block time each day for prospecting or cold calling. These are just some of the habits that make a car sales person successful. Doing any of these things once in a blue moon will not generate the results you want. A habit is something you do every day, or regularly, regardless of external conditions. So now I must ask you, what habits are you currently doing that are NOT generating sales or results you want? What habit could you begin doing today, that could have a profound impact on your career or sales numbers RIGHT NOW? Develop a new habit today that will help you succeed.
Get Back To The Basics of The Sales Process
Why does a new sales rep that just completed sales process training land a deal, when a veteran in a slump can't close a paperback book? Is the veteran weaker than circus lemonade? NO silly! The green pea is just following the basics, simply because they don’t know any better and the basics work! Getting back to the basics is one of those things that, if you’ve ever played baseball, they teach you. Especially when you go through a streak of at bats that end up in a bunch of strikeouts! One thing that’s easy to lose sight of in sales is the sales process. Isn't that ironic? That’s because, while law of large numbers can be our friend, it can also be our enemy. If you get a bunch of easy customers in a row, or "lay downs" as some like to call them. You can short cut your way through the sale, skipping half of the steps and still make a deal. This is all fine and dandy when the market is up, businesses are busy, and the law of large numbers is working for you. However, as soon as things slow down OR your lucky "lay down" streak ends, you WILL find yourself in the slump of all slumps! [blockquote-right]You have to get back to the basics of the sales process, and that means understanding that the only short cut is that there are NO shortcuts![/blockquote-right]Review the sales process with your manager. Make a little index card to check off the steps as you work with your next client. Write down which steps you short changed or skipped out on entirely on your last 3 customers. Just get back to the basics, in order to get back to selling!
Always Remember Why You Do What You Do
I know being in a sales slump can be very mentally taxing and make you wonder why you ever got into sales in the first place. However, following the steps above will get you through no problem! If you need help, please don’t hesitate to email or call me anytime, I am here for you and I absolutely love helping fellow sales people get back on track and put those rough times behind them! Remember, you’ve been through worse and came out ahead before! Remember all the blessings and great things going on in your life! Use the fear and anxiety to spring into action. Take out those frustrations in a healthy way. Freshen yourself up and present yourself with the utmost confidence. Do something good and positive and good things and positivity will come back to you. Change your routine and pick up a new habit that will help you sell, and step out of your comfort zone to do it! Control that which you can control and do not worry about the things you can't. Get back to the basics and sell like a green pea. Always remember why you do what you do. t's not just for the money. Is it for your family, your kids, to help others, to be successful and fulfilled in your career? No little slump is going to stand in your way, not today, not this month, not ever... NOW GO SELL SOMETHING!