First, you need to know that everyone has been there. If a salesperson tells you that they’ve never been in a slump, they either have a poor memory or are outright lying.
A sales slump is when you can’t seem to make a sale, no matter how hard you try. Leads are down, the leads you do receive are low quality, the people you do have an opportunity to present to went home to think about it, and must have been abducted by aliens on the way to the car because they haven’t returned calls, texts or emails since they left.
You, my fellow salesperson, are in a slump.
Search the internet for how to get out of a slump; the prevailing advice is to get back to the basics.
My advice is somewhat different.
Don’t Get Back To The Basics; start Thinking Beyond The Basics.
My suggestion to break the slump is unconventional, and it works.
Rest. Read. Write.
Get away from the job.
Get Away From The Job
A Rest Weekend is not a weekend full of activities. A Rest Weekend is when you give your mind a chance to reset and be open to new information. My choice of a Rest Weekend is going to the lake for at least one overnight. (More is better.) I sip coffee, watch sunrises, work on training the dog, and nap on the couch as often as possible.
But what about emergencies?
If you have a co-worker you trust, ask them to cover for you while you’re gone. Give your friend the authority to take care of your customers, fix problems, and make sure he understands that you will support his decisions, and it should go without saying that you reward him for his help.
During my Rest Weekends, I try to spend a lot of time NOT thinking about my day-to-day sales. I don’t call back customers. I don’t look into the CRM. I don’t email anyone. I don’t do anything directly related to my sales job. In fact, I turn off my work phone and let everything go to voice mail. I set up a vacation response in my email, and other than my closest family members, do not take any calls.
No sales emergency cannot wait until Monday when I get back.
Trust me, this is true.
Right now, during your Reset Weekend, the most important thing for you is being away from the job. You are trying to create long-term success, not rescue one sale.
Keep A Clear Mind
Do not drink. Do not get high. Do not impair your mind in any way. Even if you believe that you think better when under the influence, you don’t.
Your mind is not sharper when you’re high. Plus, a Reset Weekend is not about sharpening your mind, its about resetting it.
Why does this rest help?
It lets you step away from the minutia and consider opening your mind to the big picture. Once your mind has been flushed of the stress of the day-to-day aspect of your job, you’re open to new things. You are open to new influences.
I have a list of suggested books that take a birds-eye-view of sales here. Overall the topics can be broken down into a few categories
- Industry Specific
- Personal Enrichment
- Teaching / Coaching
- The Human Condition
There are nuggets in each book that get me thinking about how to grow as a person and how to grow professionally.
These books rarely directly relate to the tasks I need to accomplish when I get back. After all, my goal while trying to break the slump is not to get back to basics but to think beyond the basics.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t read books on the basics regularly. You should spend several hours a week at what Zig Ziglar called Automobile University, for example. Use your time behind the wheel each day to go to school and expand your sales skills. Use this Reset Weekend as a time to think about sales from a higher level.
Writing helps you organize your thoughts, improve your memory, feel happier, and increase your confidence.
Specifically, write about sales. If you were coaching an experienced salesperson, how would you use what you just read to help them take their career to a new level?
For example, I spent one of my Reset Weekends reading Thinking, Fast, and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman. The book has absolutely nothing to do with sales specifically. But, after reading very few chapters, I gained a much better understanding of how people process new information and I started to immediately recognize why I might be getting resistance from prospects and how I could change a few things in my presentation to help the prospect’s brain be more open to my ideas.
And I wrote about it.
Writing about it helped me take it from the abstract and think about how I could make specific adjustments to teach others to do the same.
I knew that I learned something about how people think, and it considerably increased my confidence in why the sales process works and how to help people buy. The root of all my teaching is the understanding that the customer is ready to buy. He needs you to help him believe. The kind of education I’m encouraging during a Rest Weekend helps you do that.
The Customer Is Ready to Buy. He Needs You To Help Him Believe.
You’re A Professional Salesperson
If you’ve been in sales long enough to be in a slump, you already know the basics. You know what you are supposed to be doing.
You know the steps of the sale. What you need is rejuvenation. To be reminded that you already know what you’re doing.
You’ve hit a slump because you’ve forgotten why you got into sales in the first place.
After a Reset Weekend, you will have elevated your understanding of why people buy. Which, as you already know, is what the sales process is designed to encourage.