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Whether you are a small business owner or a member of a company's sales and marketing team, sooner or later you'll likely have to deal with a slump in sales. Sales slumps can cause you to feel a range of emotions, including disappointment, anger, and fear that the slump will never end. Staying motivated is one of the keys to ending the slump. The worst thing you can do is let self-doubt prevent you from getting back out there and making sales calls.
Recall Your Successes
Many people have a tendency to dwell on failures and not give themselves enough credit for their successes. Even golf champions say they tend to remember their crushing defeats in tournament competition more than their dramatic victories. Remembering highlights or milestones of your sales career can cheer you up and motivate you. Think about the time you surprised your supervisor by closing a deal that seemed nearly impossible, or when you were the leading salesperson at your company three years in a row. Remember the joy and exhilaration you felt -- and how much you want to feel those positive emotions again.
Separate Yourself from Your Products and Services
Don’t internalize feelings of rejection. The customer turned your company’s products or services down -- not you. The reasons for the slump may have nothing to do with your sales efforts. Analyze the business environment to uncover clues about whether competitive conditions might have changed, making it more difficult to acquire customers. Talk to customer prospects who chose not to buy from you and find out the reasons they turned you down. You might have to adjust your sales tactics or marketing message to get back on track toward reaching your sales goals. Having a concrete plan in place -- new strategies, messages and tactics -- to fight back against the slump will provide additional motivation.
If you are experiencing a bad sales quarter or even a year, tell yourself that the condition is not permanent. Remind yourself that you have come too far in your career to let the slump defeat you. Think of the slump as an opponent that you intend to beat. Your refusal to surrender will provide additional energy and motivation.
Take a Break
A slump can leave a salesperson feeling trapped, perhaps even overwhelmed. Taking a short break from business and doing something fun can take your mind off the slump so when you return to work you will be refreshed. A break can provide badly needed perspective. You will see that this slump, like others you have probably experienced, will pass, and that your sales talent and dedication will lead to future success. Just make sure you truly take a break. Checking your cell phone every 10 minutes during an afternoon of golf doesn’t constitute getting away from the office. Put the cell phone away and enjoy your round of golf instead.
Get Advice from the Master Motivators
Even salespeople who are relentlessly optimistic can find themselves turning negative during a protracted sales slump. Reading business motivational books or watching motivational videos can help re-kindle a salesperson’s innate drive to succeed. These tools serve as a reminder that your next sales winning streak could be right around the corner.
Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."
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