Valerie L. Sizelove
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Freelance writer, mom of four.
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Life for women in sales can feel like a rollercoaster, but it’s also rewarding. When sales roll in and commissions are good, you really reap the benefits. But sometimes, sales slow down or even seem to disappear altogether, making you debate whether you should be in sales at all. Could you be experiencing a sales slump?

What is a sales slump?

For whatever reason, your sales just aren’t hitting the mark. Maybe you’re falling short of your personal goals or a company quota, or you need more commission dollars. Maybe it’s a bad time of year for sales, and it’s starting to feel like you’re sinking further and further into a hole. It’s easy to become exasperated in a sales slump and want to give up on everything.

The good thing about sales slumps, though, is they’re almost always temporary. They usually start with one big downfall that gives your self-esteem a hit. You then adopt a pessimistic view on sales prospects, making it less likely that you’ll close your sales successfully. You fall into a pattern of losses and a might have a feeling of failure as a salesperson.

Your sales are an outcome of your attitude. It’s completely possible to turn a sales slump around and start seeing success again. Instead of wallowing in despair, take some time to examine your sales process, make any needed changes and give it your all again.

What do you do in a sales slump?: 5 Steps

Sales slumps are bound to happen to everyone — even the most successful salespeople. But what do you do when your sales are down? How you handle a sales slump can mean the difference between success and failure. Following these steps will help you find solutions for your sales slump while working to get back on top again.

1. Refocus.

Stop for a second. Take a look at your life. Are there any current stressors in your personal or work life that are pulling at you? If your head’s not 100 percent in the sales game, your sales are going to suffer. You need to let go of distractions.

Address the stressors in your personal life first. Each stressor adds more weight for you to carry on your shoulders — a condition not conducive to sales success. Do some deep thinking and planning to figure out what it is you need to do to eliminate stress in your life.

When it comes to the sale itself, focus on one step at a time. Too much focus on the big picture could cause you to gloss over important selling points and conversation markers.  By staying completely focused at each stage of the sale, you’re sure to give it your best.

2. Reassess your strategy.

Has it crossed your mind that you might not be using the best sales strategy? Virtually all sales strategies can use some sort of improvement. Think about your entire sales strategy — from start to finish — and identify some areas where you could improve. Perhaps it’s the level of prospecting you’re doing or there’s a follow-up service you could be offering.

Is there just one area where you could make an effort to improve? Start by working on one thing at a time in your sales process, experimenting to see if different strategies bring you better results. Adding these changes to your strategy will make sales feel more exciting again and better your chances of rising back up.

3. Get help.

It might be time to get someone else’s perspective. Sometimes, it takes a fresh set of eyes to point out problems we hadn’t previously noticed. A trusty coworker, a mentor or even your manager can give you a hand at reassessing your sales game.

Constructive criticism is best, but it’s not always offered. Remember to ask people you trust for their help, and actually use the advice they offer you. If they offer criticism, think about how you can improve in the areas they critique. There’s no shame in getting help from others, especially when that help can help you succeed.

You could also learn more about sales on your own. There are tons of books, podcasts, blogs and other resources available at your fingertips that can bring you new insight on your sales slump situation.

4. Take care of yourself.

If you’re not your best you, you won’t be able to excel at sales. This means you need to make sure your body and mind are functioning well. Your body needs to be given adequate rest so your brain can stay on top of things.

You might be tempted to work on your off days to attempt to increase sales, but in the long run, it’s probably better to take a break and rest up when you’re able. You, as a human, need a break once in a while to perform at your best. If you’re not feeling good, that will be reflected in your work and could contribute to your sales slump.

5. Just push through it

Never give up. That’s easier said than done, right? But a sales slump will eventually end if you keep at it. A large part of what makes a sales slump continue is a negative attitude. You’ve got to resist the urge to give in to feelings of negativity because a negative attitude doesn’t contribute to successful sales.

To help you get through the negativity, remember that this slump will pass. You will become productive and feel good about yourself as a salesperson again. As long as you continue working on strategy and keep a positive outlook, the sales are bound to start rolling in again.

Don’t forget to celebrate small successes. Each small success that you achieve is a building block for your new positive outlook. Let small successes add up into larger wins, and you’ll continue climbing out of the slump.

Why do sales slumps occur?

Sales slumps happen for a plethora of reasons, sometimes well out of our own control. However, we do have control over our sales strategy and attitude, which make a big impact on our sales success. Sometimes, it’s hard to see where exactly a sales slump is coming from, especially if it’s an issue within ourselves. Here are some potential causes of a sales slump:

  • Rushing through sales to meet a deadline or quota
  • Too high of expectations
  • Negative attitude
  • Low confidence
  • Disorganization
  • Lack of product knowledge

Staying positive

It all sounds easier said than done. A sales slump can really suck the energy and hope out of us when we are going through it. So, how do you stay positive when sales are down? The most important thing is to remember you have at least some control over the situation and can get yourself out of it. By avoiding a defeated attitude, you can keep your sales success in your own hands.

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Valerie Sizelove is a freelance writer of blog posts, career guides and more. Her specialties lie in writing about mental health, administration and parenting. When she's not writing up a storm, you might find Valerie cooking a huge dinner for her family of 6 or tinkering around in her amateur vegetable garden. Books are pretty good, too. You can find her on LinkedIn and Facebook. 

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