When sales drop it’s enough to catch the attention of any business owner. If they become non-existent it can take our breath away. What happened to cause this? What can you do to stop this and stop this fast?! All these questions come with a toxic cocktail of self-doubt that can leave you paralyzed and unable to think clearly. If that’s where you’re at right now, pull up a chair, get comfortable, and we’ll tackle this huge challenge. If you’ve had this happen to you, take note of what I’ll be discussing, so you can prevent this from happening.
What causes sales to go up and down?
In sales there is a condition that we call the Sales Roller Coaster Cycle. It refers to the cycle of sales that goes up then down and then back up again. What’s happening is when we’re in need of money we get externally motivated by our bills. Then we work hard and land enough sales to take the economic pressure off. Once that happens we coast, enjoying the fruits of our labor as we enjoy our peaking sales. Then one day we wake up realizing that we have nothing closing in our sales funnel. By the time we have realized this we are behind because sales take time to generate. That time to generate is like a gestation time to produce a sale – sometimes it’s 90 days, sometimes it’s 6 months. If you are not filling your prospect funnel, ultimately there will be a gap that will leave you with few prospects. Then with nothing to pay our bills, we become motivated. The external pressure of lacking money cause us to get hustling to make some sales.
This cycle can go on for years until…. Something changes. Then you notice the drop in sales, and it causes you to panic. It seems like every client you talk to runs away and you cannot put together anything that looks promising.
Sales training can’t prepare you for this…
There is no sales program that can prepare you for the struggle you are facing. The struggle you have to fight is one with yourself. Yes, it’s all about you- it’s about your mental mindset and focus. During the Sales Roller Coaster Cycle you have maintained a clear focus on the prospects needs. When your focus is only on what you need, your client feels that. You send signals to the client that your focus is on getting the sale not theirs best interest. And that stops them from buying. Then, the economic drought continues the signals become stronger that you are sending to the prospect. Soon you have what I call, “commission breath.” It’s that signal that tells the client you are trying to ‘get’ them. They feel all you want is your commission which kills the trust they have in you and your service or product.
“It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude.”
– Zig Ziglar
Pitfalls of sales commission breath
Once you have shifted your focus from servicing your client and their needs, you have commission breath!
STORY – A study was done of concentration camp survivors to determine the common characteristics of those who did not die from disease or starvation. Victor Frankl was a living answer to that question. Before the Nazis threw him into a concentration camp, he was a successful psychiatrist. After his rescue, Victor Frankl traveled the world, sharing his story. “There is only one reason why I am here today. You kept me alive. Others gave up hope. I dreamed. I dreamed that someday I would be here telling you how I, Victor Frankl, had survived the Nazi concentration camps. I’ve never been here before, I’ve never seen any of you before, and I’ve never given this speech before. But in my dreams, oh, in my dreams, I have stood before you and said these words a thousand times.”
Your mental focus determines outcome. Victor Frankl survived because he chose a right focus, keeping his eyes fixed on what was ahead. Even though his situation was dire he lived each day thinking and focusing his mindset on his future freedom. Nothing distracted him from that goal. The hellish conditions in which he lived were mere reminders of what he would one day leave behind. The quagmire of pain and suffering he endured became the very cornerstone of his certain-to-be-realized freedom — because he chose to “fix” his eyes on what was “good and right.”
Simple steps to break your sales slump
When you are in a sales slump the best thing you can do is breath and relax. You’ll most likely want to go through all the last prospect meeting in your mind. You’ll want to see if there is something that you missed, don’t bother. Or possibly, you will find yourself discounting the quality of the leads that you spoke too, don’t do that either. If you have lost more sales than normal, it’s time to check the biggest contributor to sales failure. That’s where your mindset is. We call this your mindset focus.
Changing your mindset focus
Although people change their minds all the time, it’s usually on the smaller things in our life. To change your mindset, you will need to change your focus. Try these steps:
- Recount your past successes – make a list that you can refer to and remind yourself.
- Think big picture – Focus in on what you want to create – not sales. Focus on doing each step of the sales process and how you will help each person get the help that they need from you.
- Manage your emotions – Emotions amplify the fight you will have in trying to change your minds focus. That’s why fear can get so entrenched in our unconscious mind. Spend the time you need to calm yourself and if possible, develop a routine to relax.
- Have positive self-talk – Start with positive self-talk will calm your emotional unconscious mind. Then reconfirm what you are going to focus in on and what you will do to help each potential client through the sales process – regardless of the outcome. This will allow you to move forward without your inner self talk distracting you.
Plan for sales fluctuations
Now that you have a good understanding of how to effectively “change your mind” to a new and more positive mindset, we need to look at one more component. That is how to prevent getting in a sale slump before it even happens. Here are some important things to set up:
- Finances – Set up your finances you that you don’t have to get into a panic if your sales fluctuate a bit. The rule I like to tell my clients is simple. Have enough money set aside that you can run the company for as many months as it will take to find sales. That means, if you do some marketing today and then sales come in 3-months, you’ll need 3 months ion savings. If you have a longer sales cycle, such as 6-months for some B2B (business to business) sales, you’ll want 6 months set aside. If you don’t have the capital for this, get bank financing or an operating loan until you can build it up.
- Sales Dashboard – set up a sales dashboard and review it weekly. Doing so will give you a regular review of your sales pipeline. Then you won’t have a day when you come in to work and discover that it’s been a long time since you had a sale. Now cash it critical. Consider this your early warning system. Using a dashboard will allow you to sleep at night instead of wondering or losing sleep about what you fear may be happening.
- Daily mindset preparation – take the time each day to review your goals and what mindset you plan to stay focused on. Don’t wait for a client to show up to change your mindset. If you do wait, you’ll be mentally unprepared and will be fighting your fear like before.