Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10 Ways to Snap Out of a Sales Slump

If you've been in business long enough you've gone through a dry spell. Experienced sales people know this will happen. Experienced sales people also know that if they keep prodding ahead things will change for the better.

Here are 10 ways to snap out of a sales slump:

  1. Start with the business you have. Loyal customers are glad to hear from you and will be most receptive to new offerings you have. Spend a few days calling or visiting all of your existing customers and thank them for their business. Keep it short and sweet so as not to waste their time.
  2. Ask for referrals. Don't be afraid to ask your friends and happy customers to refer you or your services to their contacts. Most people are glad to help.
  3. Resist the urge to make a bad deal just to make a sale. You'll hate yourself later for it and the bad deal will distract you from more worthwhile efforts.
  4. Know what you can and cannot control. Justifying your sales slump by blaming the bad economy is not the solution. You cannot control the economy. What you can control is the quality of services you offer, the employees you hire, how you present yourself and your attitude.
  5. Don't get snotty with a potential customer. I remember a sales person from the National Chamber of Commerce cold calling me and being visibly ticked when I didn't buy from him. Not only had I stopped what I was doing to meet with him when he dropped in but I listened to what he had to say. When I didn't buy from him on the spot he got mad and told me what a big mistake I was making. He was probably in a sales slump and decided to take it out on me - but there's no way I'd ever buy from him now.
  6. Focus on what's right instead of what's wrong. When you lose a sale it's human nature to try to figure out what went wrong. Was it my timing? Did I not have a good enough relationship with the client? Was my product not as good? Instead of going through this litany of questions ask yourself, "On my last sale what did I do right? What made the customer chose me? What did I do to persuade the customer my product/service was better?"
  7. Get your act together. In other words, get organized. When you are in a slump it's natural to panic and respond in a desperate haphazard way. Clean off your messy desk, organize your email inbox, update your contact database and wash your car.
  8. Let dead dogs lie. We all have customers we've been working on for yeearrrrsssss who always say, "No," but we keep holding on to the idea that one day they'll be ours. Stop. Move on. Go sell to someone else.
  9. Don't over-celebrate. Keeping your pipeline full will prevent a slump. Continue sales and marketing efforts like networking, PR, advertising and cold calling even when sales are going gangbusters. Be careful not to take a week or 2 off celebrating a big sale because it can lead to a future slump.
  10. Buy a new outfit. You've heard the saying, "If you look good, you feel good." It's true.