Sales is a streaky profession.
It’s easy to get hot, close a few good deals in a row, and feel confident and optimistic about every single opportunity coming your way.
Pick your metaphor: when you’re hot, the game slows down. We see things clearly and correctly. The basket looks gigantic, and it’s easy to make shots. The pitches come at you slowly, right down the middle, and the ball flies off our bat just where we want it to go. In my business, every year tends to have a run like this, usually in the fourth quarter.
But these days, I’m in something of a selling slump. I’ve received rejections on my last four proposals. This is also not unusual and tends to happen here approximately annually. In these moments it’s easy to feel frustrated, dejected, anxious, and more.
After all, as salespeople, if we don’t sell for long enough, we can’t take care of our family, and that’s just a little bit of pressure, isn’t it?
In the sales profession, we can do everything right and still not get the business.
Unlike many other jobs, we cannot control the final outcome of our work.
We cannot control if the customer will say yes.
So what do we do when we are in a sales slump?
Three things: (1) We maintain perspective. (2) We persevere. And (3) we focus on the things we can control.
Perspective: Streaks happen, and they end. Also, some of these no’s will become yeses. They frequently do. The no’s are almost never permanent.
Which is why we must persevere. We keep going, forward, to the next prospective customer. We keep trying to help people, because that’s our job, and people deserve our help.
We also go back, to the people who said no, because we know they need our help too. With them, we try again. We try a different way. We try with a different person. But we must always keep trying.
Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
The truth is that each rejection brings us closer to the next yes. We need the no’s, or there will be no yeses. So we persevere through them.
Finally, we focus on what we can control.
We must keep doing the right things that lead to success, even when they aren’t working at the moment.
We are like baseball players: we can hit the ball exactly right and it flies right at a defender for an out. We cannot control where the ball goes. But we can control our swing mechanics. And we can control making our swings:
So even in a slump…especially in a slump… stay proactive. Keep making calls. Keep offering additional products and services. Keep following up on your quotes and proposals. Keep doing the things that fill your pipeline and move deals along toward a close.
Because if you don’t, your slump, and the negative thinking that comes along with it, becomes permanent.
Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg started his professional career in a 1-for-32 slump. Then he became the greatest offensive and defensive second baseman ever.
Because he kept swinging the bat with the right mechanics.
And so must we.
To create systems of perseverance in your organization — for 15-30% annual predictable sales growth, as my clients enjoy — please call me directly at 847-459-6322, and we can discuss your current situation.