Slumps are a part of sales. And when reps find themselves in a rut, it’s easy to take the wrong steps while attempting to get out of it.
So when dry spells hit, how can you flip the script? What behaviors should you avoid to limit the damage?
Below are four mistakes reps make during slumps and how you should act instead.
1) Panicking about poor results.
Panicking is simply unproductive. It’s easy for reps to feel that if they fumble a call or a demo, the next one has to be great. The prospect feels this pressure too. Remember that panicking won’t win you deals. Focus on the bigger picture and recognize you can take action to reverse a slump.
“Keep everything in perspective,” Elijah Condellone, Solutions Director at SIG University, writes on LinkedIn. “Sales giant Jeffrey Gitomer puts it something like this: ‘You’re in a slump, your life isn’t ending.’ In other words, don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world. Recognize the reality of your situation, but determine for yourself that you can and will overcome.”
If you feel yourself succumbing to anxiety, lean on your sales manager to mitigate panic. Whether it’s having a manager study your activity metrics for deficiencies, or listen in on a call to determine weak statements, their expertise can help end droughts and prevent future ones. To rebuild your confidence, set small, achievable goals to log some quick wins.
2) Blaming everything and everyone but yourself.
Attributing slumps to external factors such as the time of year or the economy is normal, according to Jim Domanski, President of Teleconcepts Consulting Inc. While these factors can impact performance, slumps are often due to a rep’s own behavior. Whether it’s neglecting to prospect or asking the wrong qualifying questions, weak points in a rep’s process result in a rut. Faulting external factors only hides the deficiencies.
According to Success.com, the first step towards breaking out of a slump is to take responsibility. Believing someone or something else is responsible for the rut is a mistake that can result in more damage.
Instead of blaming external factors, study your pipeline metrics to determine where you’re struggling most. The data will reveal low conversion rates and help you pinpoint what’s causing the slump. When you have the data, dig into why conversions are low. Is it something you’re doing or something you’re saying? Once the causes are clear, create a “to-don’t list” to remind yourself of what to avoid.
3) Sticking to the same routine.
Despite lackluster results, some reps adhere to the routines they’ve been using because that’s all they know. Unfortunately, these routines are often what created the tough positions reps are in.
“When things aren’t going your way, the worst thing you can do is just sit back and wait for the winds to change,” Ryan McDonald, an Inbound Marketing Specialist at HubSpot, said. “Sometimes, when it feels like everything is going against you, the best medicine is to just put your head down and work your way through it.”
Reps would be wise to examine their sales strategy to find weaknesses and mistakes. For example, try changing the subject line in your prospecting emails, or arriving at work an hour earlier so you can prospect without compromising time spent with leads further down the funnel. Other options include leaning on current customers for referrals or revisiting old deals to spark conversations again.
4) Neglecting to think long-term.
Some reps can develop a short-term mindset during a slump. After all, they need to get out of the rut now. However, when salespeople only focus on closing, they often neglect laying groundwork for the future. This neglect can result in future droughts.
“The secret to beating quota month after month is to maintain a consistently full pipeline,” Emma Brudner, HubSpot Sales Blog section editor, writes. “This way, even if you miss your number once, you’re laying the groundwork to crush quota in the future — and possibly make up for your slow period.”
To set yourself up for future success, schedule time for prospecting. By doing so, you’re reminded to plan ahead and maintain a healthy pipeline, while also improving your mindset. According to author Laura Vanderkam, people who express their goals in tangible terms are 50% more likely to feel as if they can reach their objectives.
Unfortunately, sales slumps happen. But by avoiding certain behaviors, salespeople can use droughts as learning opportunities.