How to get out of a sales slump: 11 things you probably haven’t tried yet
Just a little while ago, it seemed like you were on top of the world. Your sales were going through the roof, and you were preparing to break some of your personal records and beat the crap out of your quota.
Then, the unexpected happened: A deal you thought was sure to close fell through.
Then another one.
And another one.
With your confidence shaken and your pride wounded, that momentum you felt at the beginning of the quarter was gone.
And now you find yourself wondering if you’ll ever close another deal.
If this situation sounds painfully familiar, you’re not alone.
Almost every seasoned salesperson has been through a sales slump at some point in their career.
But here’s the point: Those salespeople have also been able to get out of their sales slumps.
What if you’ve been in a slump for weeks and just can’t seem to snap out of it? What if you’ve already tried everything and nothing seems to work?
Keep reading: We’re going to discuss 11 surefire, proven tactics to get out of a sales slump, and back into high-performance mode.
1. Get in the right frame of mind to attack the sales slump
The most common catalyst for a sales slump is a discouraging streak of lost deals. These sap at your confidence and make you feel unsure of yourself and your skills.
Simply pushing yourself harder and harder won’t solve this problem.
The turning point in a sales slump is when you start working on the problem from the inside out.
Bestselling author and sales consultant Jill Konrath shared her thoughts with us on this:
My best investment in becoming a better salesperson wasn’t in a course or a book—the best investment I ever made was changing my mindset.
This realization came to her after a spectacular failure early on in her sales career. She used that failure as a springboard to change her mindset.
“I made a decision at that point that I had not failed. I just had a valuable learning experience,” Konrath explained in an interview. “Over my career, I’ve had a lot of valuable learning experiences, and not one failure. I’m on a figuring it out journey, and that one choice has made all the difference in my career.”
So, the first step in getting out of your sales slump is to refocus your mind. Don’t see those lost deals as failures: See them as learning experiences.
When you reframe those failures as lessons learned, you’ll have taken the first step to attack that slump instead of being led along by it.
2. Analyze your process and output
Now that you’re ready to attack your slump, let’s start with your process and output.
First, start with an analysis of your sales activity.
Using the metrics and analytics you find in your CRM, dive into what’s actually happening with your process. What’s changed month-over-month or quarter-over-quarter? How does the number of calls you make or emails you send relate to the deals you close? Are you in a slump because you’re taking less action? Or is it something else?
“One way to track if you're taking less action would be to monitor your computer time. Download those timer apps to objectively see what you're doing. These applications can precisely track everything you've been doing on your computer. It can give you insights on what activities landed you clients and what activities were unproductive.”
Once you’ve analyzed your activity, it’s time to think about how you focus your energies. For example, if you’re doing the same amount of calls but getting fewer closed deals, could it be the quality of your leads? Are you focusing on the right leads?
Go back through your process for qualifying prospects. Are you doing the right amount of qualifying work? Maybe your deals are falling through because the prospect wasn’t right for the product. In that case, you could work on your prospecting and qualifying skills to focus your energy and time better.
Finally, you’ll want to analyze your activity later in the pipeline, such as product demos and negotiations. If you find yourself losing a lot of deals at these later stages, it might be time to level up your product demo skills or learn how to handle objections better.
By digging deeper into your process and output, you can identify the reasons for your sales slump. Then, you’ll be in a better position to combat it.
3. Build a clear action plan for each day
If you’re in the middle of a sales slump, trying to get out can seem like an impossible task. Even if you’ve been able to identify key reasons behind the slump, taking action to get back on course may take emotional energy you don’t have right now.
Instead of looking at the whole picture, like a quota you feel you can’t reach or a list of prospects you don’t have the energy to cold call, build a plan for today.
Structure your day so you conserve energy for important tasks. Don’t leave cold calls for that 3:00 pm drop in energy, and don’t waste time on social media in the morning when you’re in the middle of your coffee-induced jolt.
Take the tasks you feel like you just can’t handle and section off 30-minute intervals. For example, if cold calling a whole list of leads seems overwhelming, just set aside 30 minutes in the morning to do cold calls. Then, take a break with a less overwhelming task for 30 minutes. After that, set another 30-minute block for cold calls.
By sectioning your time and allowing yourself space to recover, you won’t feel so overwhelmed by these tasks, and you’ll continue to get the work done.
4. Learn the power of consistency
“The best investment I’ve ever made in becoming a better salesperson is choosing to focus on consistency over charisma or any other hack,” explains Close CEO, Steli Efti. “I’ve spent my entire life studying sales, communication, psychology. Every bit of it was worth it, but what really made the biggest difference was learning how to be consistent and have discipline in sales.”
Back when you felt like you were on top of the world and were crushing your sales goals, you may have focused too much on building a repertoire of sales hacks and tricks. But these kinds of hacks are not the solution to a slump.
The key to closing deals consistently is to be consistent in the way you sell.
So, keep prospecting and qualifying. Keep pounding the phones. Keep doing the research and prep work for meetings and demos. Fall back on the sales scripts and email templates that have been proven to work consistently.
Of course, consistency is essential even after you get out of a sales slump.
Here’s how Marshall Pickering, a sales exec at USI Insurance Services, explains it:
Once you’re back on track, you must keep the momentum going. It's easy to think that you have everything taken care of for the time being, but if you let off the gas you will be back where you were before in no time. Sales is a never-ending cycle, it never stops. You can either be a flash in the pan or one of the most consistent people in your office or company. Your habits will ultimately be what determines that.
Keep putting in consistent effort, and it will pay off in the long run.
5. Practice mindfulness before your calls
Let’s face it: calling is probably the hardest part of sales for most reps. And if you’re already feeling down, it can be difficult to find the emotional strength to pick up the phone and start talking to people enthusiastically.
Plus, the anxiety that comes along with a sales slump can make matters even worse. As the phone is ringing, you may be wondering if they’ll hang up on you, yell at you, or just waste your time.
That’s not the right mindset to start a call. If you sound insecure and unsure of yourself from the start, you’ll have a much harder time convincing people to listen to you, never mind purchase your product.
To combat this, practice mindfulness before each call.
Start by relaxing and taking a few deep breaths. Next, envision your desired outcome: What’s the best-case scenario for this call?
Finally, have a clear goal in mind. Think about where you want the call to lead, and how you plan to take the prospect from point A to point B in the conversation.
By taking a couple of minutes before each call to prepare your mind, you’ll be able to present your points clearly and confidently.
This way, you can win the emotional war in sales.
6. Shift your focus from closing deals to helping people
Again, the mind is a powerful thing. When you’re in a sales slump, it’s easy to fall into the trap of solely focusing on closing deals, no matter what it takes.
This presents all kinds of problems, including:
- Coming across as desperate
- Selling hard to prospects who aren’t ready to buy
- Trying to force a deal with prospects that don’t qualify
- Closing crappy deals that will end up churning out
The key is not to focus too much on closing deals. Instead, shift your focus back to helping people.
Whenever you find yourself too focused on closing deals, take some time to think about your product and how it fills your prospects’ needs. Go back over case studies of happy customers. What has your product done for their lives or their businesses? What real benefits do they see?
Remember, your goal as a salesperson isn’t just to close deals: It’s to provide a valuable solution to real problems that your prospects are facing.
Focus on solving those problems, and you’ll find yourself closing more deals automatically.
7. Surround yourself with people who motivate you
If you are part of a sales team, you know there are some people who motivate you to do better and some who seem to always drag others down.
Don’t get caught up in complaining and whining by the watercooler (or in a Zoom meeting) with your teammates. Complaining about bad leads and failed deals will not motivate you to sell better, and it will certainly not help with your sales slump.
Instead, find those people on your team who keep a positive attitude and motivate you to do the same.
“Nothing beats experience, but surrounding yourself with people who are better than you is one of the best investments you can ever make when it comes to building your selling skills,” Max Altschuler, CEO of Sales Hacker explained in an interview.
Learn from those around you. Ask a colleague or someone in your sales network if you can shadow some of their calls. Gain insights and motivation by watching them sell effectively.
By surrounding yourself with excellent salespeople, you’ll improve your own skills and motivate yourself to keep selling.
8. Go back to what you do best
The longer your sales slump goes on, the harder it is to get out. Lost deals may consume your thoughts and kill your confidence, and each call that goes bad or meeting that doesn’t end well just digs you further down into that hole.
Right now, you need to get yourself out of the hole.
So, what do you do best? What activity fills you with confidence because you know you can’t fail?
This could apply at work: Maybe you love sending follow-up emails or you excel at building sales presentations that capture your audience.
But doing things you love and are good at doesn’t need to be limited to the office. Even doing activities in your personal life, like a hobby you’ve practiced for years or a game you win every time, could help you rebuild your confidence and get out of your sales slump.
Go back to what you do best, build up your confidence, and then get back to selling.
9. Reach out to your favorite customers
This is a great trick for when cold calling feels completely beyond you.
You know that customer you brought in a few months ago, that one you really connected with on a personal level as well as a professional level? You took them from a lead in a list to a super happy customer who loves your product.
Why not pick up the phone and say hello?
Reaching out to your favorite customers can never go bad. You already have an established relationship with them, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a pleasant conversation at the very least.
Plus, reaching out to customers has other benefits. Keeping in contact with them is a great way to strengthen relationships, thus deepening their loyalty to your company and product.
On top of that, you never know if a conversation with a customer may lead to getting an upsell or a referral.
10. Recognize when it’s time to ask for help
There are sales slumps that you can battle on your own, and there are slumps you’ll need some help to get out of.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help when you need it. Your manager is there to help you, as is the rest of your team. There’s no reason to go at this alone.
Why not reach out and let them know what’s going on? Talk to your manager in your next 1:1, and as them for ideas and help to get out of the slump. Invite them to come along on some of your calls or meetings to see if they can pinpoint ways for you to improve.
The important thing is to know when it’s time to ask for help. In reality, there’s never a bad time to ask for help, but some may be more resistant to asking than others. That said, if you’ve been in a slump for a month or more and don’t feel like things are getting any better, you should seriously consider reaching out to someone you trust.
11. Look to inspirational leaders for motivation to get out of your sales slump
Motivating yourself is essential to getting out of a sales slump, and what better way to find motivation than to look to the people who give it out for free?
Build motivation by subscribing to podcasts, watching videos, or attending events or webinars where you can listen to advice from your favorite inspirational sales leaders.
In fact, you could even get pro sales advice and motivation delivered to your inbox on a daily basis with our newly released Daily Sales Motivation. When you sign up, you’ll receive one video per day where Close CEO Steli Efti takes you through a motivational sales quote and an action item you can use for that day.
If you want to get out of your sales slump, subscribe now to Daily Sales Motivation.
Leave the sales slump behind for good
A sales slump could be caused by external factors, such as an economic downturn, or by your own emotional state.
But whatever the cause, you can beat your slump by working proactively on your process, shifting your focus, practicing mindfulness, and surrounding yourself with people who motivate you to give your best.
Remember: Motivation isn’t a one-and-done affair. Consistency is key.
So, how can you stay consistently motivated and leave your sales slump behind for good?
One way is to get a daily dose of sales motivation with our CEO, Steli Efti. Sign up for Daily Sales Motivation and get your first motivational video right now!