February 11, 2019
If there’s one thing every salesperson agrees on, it’s that nothing is worse than a sales slump. This is especially true in the summer when most prospects are away on vacation and all the emails you send out remain unread. Selling is a psychological profession that requires a healthy dose of optimism, the mindset of possibility and an effective strategy to succeed.
As a sales rep, you have had to deal with periods when prospects weren’t converting. In spite of all the best efforts, nothing seems to work. So you might be wondering, how to get out of a sales slump after you have tried everything, but failed? Are there some trusted marketing strategies proven to work during a slump that were overlooked? Here are the answers.
Getting Out of a Sales Slump
Review your account list: Is there anyone you haven’t spoken to in a while? This is something to be considered during the slow times. It could be someone who was interested, but failed to convert. Call them and ask how they’re doing. Did they try another solution – and if so, how is it working out for them? Are they facing any problems that your product or service can manage more effectively?
Change your attitude
A bad or negative attitude is a barrier to success. Therefore, identify all the barriers preventing you from reaching your sales goals. Be honest with yourself when conducting a self-examination; if you find a personal weakness, this can be improved upon. You are a small business, so it’s still a learning process.
Address those tasks you’ve been postponing: Is there any correspondence you’ve failed to address – for example, emails you haven’t read, messages to reply to or calls to return? This is a good time to get up to speed with office work. A sale might come along in the process, so don’t let it linger. You should take a fast sale, as this motivates you to ‘get pumped’ and could be the springboard for bigger sales.
Back to basics: I remember Tiger Woods, who at the prime of his career, was unbeatable. Once, a commentator asked him why he spent long hours sinking hundreds of putts, given that he was a skilled professional. He responded that he didn’t like how the ball rolled into the cup. This made me realize that sales slumps sometimes happen because you don’t have enough prospects to pursue. Therefore, look internally and find new ways to increase the number of qualified buyers in your pipeline.
The slump will end: Your sales slump won’t last forever. Even though you are a small online store, your product must have dazzled thousands of customers at the beginning and therefore it will happen again. So, keep trying until you make the next sale.
How to Improve Sales when You’re Going through a Sales Slump
Tune into ‘trigger events’
If you’re experiencing a summer sales slump, a ‘trigger event’ is a good sales opening that performs well at any time of year. With Google Alerts, you can stay abreast of new developments at the companies of your prospects. When you hear an important news snippet that’s relevant to your business, utilise the opportunity to connect your product/ service to that event.
Referrals do work
Data from NoMoreColdCalling reveals that referrals are 50% more likely to close than other lead sources. If you’re one of those sales people who don’t seek referrals, now is the time to start. So, call your customers and ask them to refer you to anyone who could benefit from your product. Kickstarting a new relationship – based on the relationship with an existing customer – earns trust and ensures the deal closes much faster.
Renew your goals
Goals give you something to aim for and help you focus. A few mini goals during a slump will help sustain activity and keep you motivated; this could be to present one demo, or connect five calls, each day. Start small and push ahead, even when the quota is out of your reach.
Refine your existing skills
Skill building is a continuous process that only stops when you retire. So, refine your skills and those of your team members. What’s new in the market? Are the competitors trying any new tricks that seem to be working? A mini summer retreat in an informal setting should help everyone relax. You could even ask people to read a recommended book and create an action plan, based on the techniques prescribed in that book. It’s important to continuously invest in yourself.
What’s the Cause of the Sales Slump?
Robert Rolls, the Head of Online Business at Open Host posits that during a sales slump, it’s important to analyse your metrics for weaknesses. “It could be that you’re not properly qualifying leads; your sales pitch is off; or you have a presentation problem, a prospecting problem or a closing problem. Whatever the explanation, it’s easier to solve the problem or adjust your strategy when you’ve identified it, even if it is an IT issue”, he buttressed.
That being said, here are the fifteen causes of a sales slump according to Tim Connor. Look through the list;
- Poor training
- Poor product knowledge
- Poor attitude management
- Poor sales records
- Poor organization reputation
- Poor product quality, distribution or organization support
- An organization vs. customer focused sales strategy
- Sales compensation that rewards results only and not focused activity
- Excessive administrative responsibilities
- Poor territory potential
- Non-supportive management
- Poor sales management coaching skills
- Organizational culture that encourages the editing of honest communication
- Lack of clear purpose, goals and focus
- Poor organization and time and territory management
Do any apply to you?
Leverage the Power of the Internet
The internet has improved the way sales personnel conduct business. So much so, social media is recognized as being a great place to advertise and attract prospects. You could host giveaways or promos to boost your online presence and sales. This worked for me countless times.
Increasing your marketing efforts during slower sales periods is a wise choice, because there are fewer consumer dollars and less competition at such times. Options include specialty publications, newspaper ads, magazines and other marketing avenues.
Review Your Pricing
A sales slump is a good time to review the prices of your product. This is especially relevant if it’s a seasonal slump such as February and the summer months. Your small store should still turn a profit, whilst remaining competitive. Subsequently, customers will be eager to pay for quality products at reduced prices.
Review Your Messaging
When you post a great message via an email, press release or website, do you just forget about it and assume this should be sufficient? Top marketers avoid the ‘one and done marketing syndrome’, but continue their promotional efforts. Therefore, repeat the value proposition to your prospects and employees. Where there is the need, overhaul your copywriting to ensure its effectiveness. A fresh pair of eyes might just do the trick.
When turning the tide around from a slump, don’t be eager for a big win. Go easy with small tasks and gradually work your back to a full workload. You won’t overcome your sales slump if you stop selling. So, stay in front of the prospect and a sale will come along soon enough. If I could do it, then you can as well.
James Cummings is a top online marketing analyst, brand expert and business psychologist. James has wide experience at senior managerial level and has helped deliver staffing solutions to some global brands. He has interfaced at board level with FTSE 100 companies and successfully managed multiple web projects across different niches to their full cycle. Working with a team of top level digital media professionals from around the globe, James’ WordPress portfolio currently spans over 40 properties. To see more, visit https://uk.linkedin.com/in/james-cummings-ceo.