Slump happens – to EVERYONE. They seem to just appear, sometimes right after a hot streak and they last indefinitely. It’s uncomfortable and, in some cases, escalate into more serious issues like call-reluctance. What’s most important is EARLY DETECTION and recognizing it’s not about your ABILITIES, but your ACTIONS. You’re just as good as you were when you were hot, but somehow you’re swinging and missing more. This is why YOU are the one who has to get yourself out of a slump. As the saying “When you find yourself in a hole, the first step is to stop digging” goes, YOU are the one to get yourself out of the slump.
- YOU’RE NOT ALONE – I said slump happens to EVERYONE, which means your have current/former colleagues/bosses who’ve been there so seek out the advice of those you trust. Chances are, the wisdom they will share with you was shared with them. You’ve given a lot to your network and it’s okay to turn to them when you have an issue you need to deal with.
- PILOT TO NAVIGATOR – Have you strayed off course? Are you still targeting the highest probability prospects? Look at your prospect mix to see if you’re too heavily weighted on longer-term sales, larger opportunities or lower-probability prospects. Sometimes, when I get an oil change, my mechanic looks at my tires, see uneven wear and recommends a rebalancing. It’s the same thing with your prospect mix – small changes over time can make it look dramatically different than what you had intended.
- INFECTION CONTROL – I regularly listened in to my reps’ calls. Sometimes it was announced, other times not. I wasn’t looking to catch them doing something WRONG, rather for little things that snuck into their pitches unnoticed over time. It’s easy for these things to sneak into your pitch without you realizing it. Check for infection by asking for an observation, conferencing in your boss or a colleague, recording your calls or role playing with a colleague. The key is to have a trusted third party give you honest feedback about your words, tone, pace and approach.
- STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE – After you’ve gathered all the data and feedback in steps 1-3, take a step back and process what you’ve heard and observed. Analyze, but don’t internalize. Determine what changes need to happen, make a plan and set realistic goals and timelines for yourself.
- UP YOUR ACTIVITY – Here’s where you need to ratchet up your activity levels. You need to catch up and applying what you’ve learned and implementing your plan will achieve greater success the faster you do so. I’m not a big believer in the “I need 125% effort” school of coaching, but you are not going to come from behind without going faster to catch up. It’s just that simple. Find tools and techniques to block call time, eliminate distractions, set interim goals and give yourself rewards for hitting higher activity levels.
Slumps are inevitable, but so are the high times. Handling both effectively is a foundation skill for a sales professional.