Sales is the art of influencing and persuading others. Salesmen don’t necessarily sell products or services, but each of them attempts to influence or persuade others. This is the essence of what selling really is. Influence and persuasion. Some of these people sell their ideas, while others sell ideals, morals, ethics or reasons. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong.
Sales slumps happen to the best of us. Our sales trends might plunge into a downward spiral where nothing seems to go our way. To help you get through this not-so-fun period, check out the following steps to overcome a negative sales trend.
- Define what sales slump means to you.
- Analyze and identify the reasons for the negative trend.
- Map a possible solution.
- Devise a contingency plan for future.
The First step to overcome a negative sales trend is to accept and acknowledge the fact that you are caught between a rock and a hard place. Without diagnosing, you cannot get treatment for a disease. You might think that the only symptom of a slump, is a period of reduced sales success regardless of its nature or length. There are a number of ways a salesperson can be in a slump. Once you acknowledge the issue, you can work on recovery.
Analysis and Identification:
If you are experiencing a negative trend, you can’t just look at the big picture. You must look carefully at your approach, strategies, strengths, and weaknesses in each of the five categories. You must learn to ask yourself the right questions if you hope to get accurate information that will help you out of this negative sales period. Knowing the characteristics or causes that contributed to the current situation is key to prevent future slumps. Few common reasons for sales slump are:
1) Poor training.
2) Poor product knowledge.
3) Poor attitude.
4) Poor sales approach.
5) Poor organization reputation.
6) Poor product quality and support.
Call more prospects than your usual. If you would normally make 20 cold calls per day, instead make 40 or 50. Or you could simply decide to keep calling until you have five appointments, even if that means you spend ten straight hours on the phone. Talk to all your existing customers and see if you can upsell them new products, or ask them for referrals. Whatever sales activities you normally pursue, do more of them – lots more. Now is also the time to try sales techniques outside of your usual comfort zone.
If you are in sales, I would encourage you to examine each of these areas in detail to determine where you or your organization needs to improve, so that you can prevent future slumps. Evaluate each area that you are responsible for including, training approaches, corporate policies, procedures, philosophy, communication, sales reporting, management style, and product/service quality issues that may contribute to poor sales performance. This will secure your future and avoid any negative sales trends.
You probably won’t see instant results on whatever strategies you adopt. Resist the urge to drop a plan. Sales techniques rarely yield immediate results. Give each sales method a chance to work. And if you see results on a particular strategy, build your sales philosophy around it. Persistence and determination are the keys to overcome a bad sales slump.