If you’re like many of our online sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria, you’re doing your best to deal with a challenging economy. Low commodity prices are having an impact in virtually every industry across Western Canada. If you’re a business owner, Sales Manager or Salesperson dealing with a sales slump, here’s what you can do to fight it.
Many Salespeople are nervous of checking their inbox or returning messages right now. It’s the client cancellation they fear. It’s a call no one likes to make or take. Despite the hard work you’ve done for your clients and their appreciation of your efforts, they may feel they have no choice but to cancel their order or delay the expected purchase of new products or services.
How to fight a sales slump
Here are 8 ways to combat slow sales in a weak economy:
1. Try not to take clients’ decisions personally
I know. That’s really tough when you put your heart and soul into meeting their needs, exceeding their expectations and helping them stay ahead of the competition. Understand the basis of their decision. Companies need to practise survival skills to stay in business. If it was a choice of laying off staff, paying utility bills or cancelling your order, know that they decided to pick the one with the least amount of pain.
Continue your relationship as if nothing happened. Confirm to your buyer that you have a relationship that goes beyond billing. Reaffirm your standing as a class act. If your client is reducing his or her volume of buying, think twice about a rate increase for less purchasing. Even if you win that war, you may lose the battle. Buyers have long memories. They will remember you for that when times get better.
2. Keep your head straight and stay positive
Success starts with what happens between your temples. If you haven’t read my recent post on Your Sales Perception is Revenue Reality, here it is. You simply cannot afford to have a negative attitude right now, so stay clear of others with one. Attitudes are contagious – what are you catching?
Be aware of what I call mental grouping. That’s the process of taking totally unrelated events and drawing lines of attachment to form a pyramid of pain. The events of a client cancelling, a hot prospect going sideways and your car breaking down have no attachment to each other than the imaginary line you draw to connect them. Don’t allow yourself to group events.
Know that all Professional Salespeople go through a slump. You haven’t lost your ability to sell. Your sales skills aren’t a set of misplaced car keys. You’ve worked hard to build your level of expertise. It will always be within you.
3. Super serve all of your clients and get creative
This is a time to be prepared to work harder for less billings. Ensure you are doing a detailed Customer Needs Analysis with all of your clients every six months. Their needs change, especially during challenging times. Smart Salespeople stay focused on the buyer’s current environment. Ask your decision makers what else you could be doing to help.
4. Look for growth opportunities with existing clients
Don’t expect that every industry is looking to shave the bottom line. Lower commodity prices and a lower Canadian dollar mean the transportation industry and tourism are seeing growth in specific areas. This will be the year to position yourself as a market leader and steal market share from competitors who are in panic and retreat mode.
5. Reach out to new business
Prospect. Prospect. Prospect. If you are guilty of panic prospecting during a sales slump, make this the last time it occurs. New business development should be a set appointment in your weekly schedule at all times. Fight the urge to procrastinate or move prospecting meetings, even if a Key Account wants to see you at that time by suggesting an alternate option first. Consider your prospecting block to be appointments to meet many new potential buyers. Look for non-traditional opportunities that your competition wouldn’t even think of.
6. Sharpen your sales skills
Read a book, take a course and stay open to new ideas and learning opportunities. Practice your opening statement, value proposition, delivery and objection handling skills. Concentrate on your activity level, using sales tools and getting into the mind of your customer. Get back to the basics of customer focused selling. Brainstorm with your colleagues for new creative methods of customer engagement.
7. Ask for help and guidance
This is not a time to be hiding from your Sales Manager. He or she will tell you what they did when they were in a sales slump as a Salesperson. Talk to the veterans in your company and get their advice and suggestions. Find a Mentor – one who you respect and admire. Set up regular meetings or phone calls to discuss your proactivity and action plan.
8. Stay positive and have confidence
All sales slumps are temporary. They just feel like they last forever. As you experience them, you’ll remember what you did last time to fight it. This tends to make them less severe. Take heart in knowing that sales success is like a running a marathon, not a sprint. Eventually, you’ll find that sales slumps are great learning opportunities. You learn to refocus, create new strategies and you will build character in the mean time.
Do you have any suggestions to get out of a sales slump? I’d love to hear them. If you liked this article, share it on your favorite social media platform.
Thanks for reading!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
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