Work Yourself Out of A Slump

Ever experienced a sales or business slump? Congratulations – you’re normal.

Everyone has a slump now and then. In business, just as in any other sport, turning around a slump starts in your head. Yogi Berra’s insights are equally true of a business slump:  “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”

Moving out of a slump quickly requires mental work first, then action. So take Yogi’s advice and clear your thinking. These steps can help.

Remember Your Successes

A slump is temporary. Keep that in mind by remembering your peak times. Make a list of your top five sales or business successes. Replay how you felt and thought during each success. For example, several years ago I closed a major sale to a global beverage manufacturer over the phone. I never met the executive who made the buy decision in person, and that sale is one of my peak times. Make your own success list and review it periodically throughout your day.

Think Small: Set Micro-Goals

Take your thinking down a level or two – or three. A slump in sales or business can cause you to think about missing your quota and losing revenue, or the financial consequences of quota and revenue loss. That’s thinking big in a downward spiral. Save your big thinking for opportunities and growth. In a slump, it’s best to think small.

Instead, set and accomplish micro-goals. Your goal for a three-hour morning timeframe might be to draft and send five emails and make ten follow-up calls. Document your results, and consider testing one adjustment in your next round prospecting or follow-up. Focus on setting and achieving your micro-goals until you begin to see positive results.

Get Four Points Every Day

A slump can lead to desperate and unproductive action. Jeffrey Fox, author of “How to Become a Rainmaker” (a classic must-read), suggests this simple daily strategy: Allocate one point for getting a referral to a prospect; two points for setting a meeting with a prospect, three points for meeting with a prospect (whether that’s in person, over the phone or via the web), and four points for closing a sale or taking an action leading to a sale. If you consistently focus on getting at least four points a day, you’ll build positive micro-results, which can lead to bigger, positive outcomes.

Get Back to Basics

When a ball player experiences a slump, a coach reviews mechanics. If you don’t have a business or sales coach, ask a friend or trusted business associate for insight. For example, if your target customer is an attorney, invite an attorney friend or two to lunch. Explore their perspectives on your product or service, how they perceive its value and how they respond best to inquiries. An informal lunch meeting also provides you with an opportunity to ask one of the most valuable business development questions: “Who else should I be talking to?”

In baseball as in business, a hitting streak is just one swing away. Replay your successes, set micro-goals, and focus on the basics – and your batting average will improve.

Posted on June 9th, 2015