5 Strategies for Breaking Out of a Summer Slump

We all slow down from time to time. The summer is particularly prone to slow-downs – everyone’s going on vacation, emails get left unanswered, Summer Fridays take over… and you find your sales team in a slump.

slump [sluhmp] noun

a period during which a person performs slowly, inefficiently, or ineffectively, especially a period during which an athlete or team fails to play or score as well as usual.

How does a slump come about? The most common cause I’ve found is the following:
Causes of a summer slump
An overconfident salesperson, especially one blowing out their Q1 and Q2 quotas, might be at risk for falling behind on prospecting and running out of leads for Q3 and Q4.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, its time to kick things into gear now that the summer is over. Here are 5 strategies for breaking out of a slump.

1. Take Out the Head Trash

Very often, when we wake up to the fact that making our numbers might not happen, guess what?  We dive right into our own head trash. We start playing the blame game – blaming ourselves, blaming the leads, or blaming our manager. During a slump, head trash often sounds like this:

“If I go to my boss and talk about my lack of prospects, she is going to fire me.”

“If I call my Agency Exec and ask for a meeting, he’s going to say “no.”

“I say this and they will say that, I do this and that will happen.”

Remember – all of this is in your head.

Listening to the head trash stops you from acting.  It stops you from dealing with reality. Now is a good time to remember that “It’s not what you think that determines what you do, its what you do that determines what you think.”

2. Make it an Adventure

While you’re working on getting rid of your head trash, remember that sales is an adventure. It’s my favorite sales philosophy and drives my behavior every day. One sure-fire way to lose the game is to appear anxious or desperate to our prospects, and that’s exactly what ends up happening when we are acting from our head trash.

Bring a little attitude and remember to have fun with it. Don’t let your slump get you down – keep having fun and making progress every day. A positive attitude is a huge factor in sales success.

3. Get on the Field and Play the Game

Most likely, your slump came about because you stopped playing the game. You stopped prospecting, you stopped working leads, or you just went on vacation. The easiest way to get back on track, then, is to get back to your best practices lead generation activities.

Take a look at your best lead sources, look for old opportunities in your CRM, or get in touch with your network to generate referrals. I also recommend you keep track of all your activities for a week or two. Keep a journal of all the actions you take and all the head trash that comes up. If you write it down and get it out of your head, it’s a lot easier to let go of.

4. Burn the Boats

Various historic conquerors have issued this one command to their troops upon landing on hostile shores: “Burn the boats.” By cutting off their escape route, the commanders left their troops with the choice to fight to victory or death.

While this might sound brutal, it’s helpful to keep in mind during sales as well. Don’t get caught up in the past or how something “could have gone.” Focus on what’s in front of you and don’t doubt yourself. If the only acceptable outcome is winning, you’ll be amazed at the attitude (and outcome) shift you’ll experience.

5. Take it One Step at a Time

So now you’re in the game, you’re fighting the fight.  The best way to build confidence and momentum is to practice what I call “steppary.”  What do I mean?  Stay focused and build on each step.

Celebrate small wins like getting a meeting, securing a next step, or sending a confirmation document. When you close something, even if it’s small, it’s a big deal.  When you close a big deal – that’s a celebration. When you close the RIGHT deal, that’s priceless.

Take it one step at a time
Focusing on the small, achievable wins will get you in the right head-space to deliver on bigger and better opportunities. It’s another subtle shift in approach that will yield a huge breakthrough in results.

In Summary…

Slump Antidote:

  1. Take out the head-trash
  2. Make it an adventure
  3. Play the game
  4. Burn the boats
  5. Take it in steps

There you have it – the five strategies you should employ to get back on the horse now that summer’s nearly over. Let us know what works for you in the comments!

By | 2016-12-05T11:35:22+00:00 September 3rd, 2014|Sales Leaders, Sales Success|0 Comments

About the Author:

Charles Bernard is the CEO at Criteria for Success. He writes about sales, sales leadership, social selling best practices, time management, and anything related to helping others make sales success a habit.

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