Monday, June 30, 2008

In A Slump

Writen by Tim Connor

Sooner or later, every salesperson experiences a down period of sales results. These periods, where your continued activity seems to yield less than satisfactory results, are normal and to be expected. None of us can keep up a pace of 200 miles per hour day after day, month after month, year after year. The key is to keep your attitude positive, your focus on what is working, and your activity levels high regardless of the results.

In my best selling book, Soft Sell, I share the idea that there are a variety of sales slumps. In this short tip, I will only discuss four. They are:

1. An attitude slump.
2. A prospecting slump.
3. A presentation slump.
4. A closing slump.

An attitude slump is where you find it difficult to maintain your confidence, poise, commitment, dedication, persistence and motivation. This can be due to a number of causes. Some of them are: a) you have lost belief in your organization's products or services. b) you are not reaching your goals or objectives according to your schedule c) You are under a great deal of stress due to deadlines, expectations or loss of control of the sales process, and d) you have other issues in your life that are impacting your attitudes.

A prospecting slump is where you lack adequate qualified leads and are spending a great deal of time calling on poor prospects. As a result, your close ratio is a disaster. This could also be caused by your poor prospecting strategies: i.e. you are still (after several years selling your products/services) spending a lot of time cold calling.

A presentation slump can be caused by your lack of up-to-date product knowledge, poor presentation skills, or poor communication skills: i.e. listening, speaking or writing. This can also be caused by your lack of knowledge of the prospect's needs, use of, or applications of, your products/services. You, therefore, give an organization-driven rather than a customer-driven sales appeal.

A closing slump can be caused by your lack of control of the sales process, poor prospecting, poor sales presentations, or many of the items in the attitude area we have already discussed.

As you can see, there are a number of areas where you can experience a down cycle in your sales approach. The thing to consider is that all of them are related to each other. In other words, if you are experiencing an attitude slump, it will have an impact on your prospecting, closing, etc. If you are in a closing slump, it will impact your attitudes, as well as other areas of the sales process.

The thing to remember is that you can't pull out of any of these slumps by just focusing on the one area that you feel might be the problem. You have to work on all of them. The way out of a slump is to go back to what works, or has worked for you in the past. It is also an excellent time for reflection and self-evaluation of your progress, success, weaknesses, strengths, etc.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That's Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at

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