Help! I’m in a sales rut and I can’t get out!”

BY Jennifer Gluckow
Featured image for “<span class="dquo">“</span>Help! I’m in a sales rut and I can’t get out!””

I was working with a sales team when a couple of the salespeople were complaining they were in a rut. In a rut, is another way of saying, “I’m not making enough sales,” with some other excuse attached to it.

A rut, I said, is all in your head. You are not in a rut. Your head is. The question is are you wallowing in it or trying to work your way out of it?

Your head ever been in a sales rut? Or maybe you’re not in a rut yet, just behind in quota…

You feel frustrated, worried, concerned that you’re going to lose your job or your business, worried about how you will tell your family… it feels awful and the negative thoughts can be all consuming. These thoughts are part of a “rut” cycle and these thoughts, your thoughts, perpetuate the situation. Not good.

Wanna get out? First realize there is no silver bullet. YOU are the only person who can dig yourself outta that hole. YOU are the only person who can take yourself from sales slump to over the hump – and realize you’re not gonna get out of there immediately. BUT, you will get there one sale at a time. Focus on 1 sale, then focus on 2, then focus on 3, and then you’re outta the slump.

Here are 19 strategies you should implement if you find yourself in a rut. One or two or more may help you now and in the future…

1. Break the morning rut. You know, the rut of get up, take a shower, make a coffee, and go to work. Instead, go for a morning walk. A little change of scenery can make a big difference. You don’t need to walk miles upon miles. Two to three thousand steps make a difference (get a fitbit or an apple watch!), and of course it doesn’t hurt if you're by the beach, or water. Some days I used to walk all the way over the Brooklyn Bridge — I walked off the stress, the could-​be rut, and the little extra weight I had been carrying. A walk can make a major difference. A morning rut means you’re probably in a daily rut. A sales rut. Get out of that rut!

2. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you’re gonna be okay. If you don’t believe it, then seek professional help (I cannot help you). You may need a whole day of deep breaths. Go to a spa – take some “mental” time off to clear your head.

3. Think about a time you did well. A time you were uber successful. Draw on your past history of success. As hokey as it sounds, make a list of your past accomplishments. Visualize them. Take a moment to be proud.

4. Rate the people you’re surrounding yourself with. Are they rutters too? Surround yourself with successful positive people. Achievers, not rutters. Sales rainmakers not sales crybabies.

5. Keep swinging, err selling. The great Hank Aaron said, “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” Keep calling, keep prospecting, keep meeting with clients, keep pitching, keep trying. Keep swinging.

When your sales are slow and you feel like you’re in a rut, it’s easy to slow down or even stop… to stop meeting with prospects, stop prospecting, stop putting yourself in a winning situation. Sounds like a self-​fulfilling prophecy, eh? Why don’t you start taking the right actions, double your output, double your lead generation efforts, prepare for sales meetings with an extra umpppph.

6. Focus on fundamentals. On the tennis court this morning, someone had two bad strokes in a row. She said hold on a sec, recomposed herself, got in ready position with extreme focus and hit one of the most amazing shots I’ve ever seen. What do you think she thought about when she took a second to herself?

7. Find the fun. Remember what you loved about your company/​products/​services when you first started selling? Remember how it used to be fun? Make it fun again – laugh out loud, take a selfie with clients and colleagues, have a random dance party at work, send a funny video to a customer thanking them. Make them laugh – it will make you smile, and maybe make them buy.

8. Check your belief system. How well do you believe in yourself, your products and services, your ability to serve after the sale?

9. Reinforce your attitude. Find new inspiration – Instagram, podcasts, audio books, read positive and stay positive. Read Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of YES! ATTITUDE (there’s a new edition coming out before the end of the year!). Watch attitude clips on YouTube.

10. Call your best customers and make appointments for coffee and for lunch – ask them why they bought. Ask them what they like about working with you. Reinforce your beliefs through theirs.

11. Make early and late and lunch calls – try to catch people “in.” Both timing and persistence will help you succeed. If you don’t catch them on your first or second or third attempt, try and try and try again!

12. Play music you love while you prep. Come on, have a little fun! Maybe you’ll even get up and dance for a minute.

13. Record yourself and listen to your phone calls and presentations. They are more than eye opening, and they will likely make you laugh or cringe. BUT you will learn from them. Make a list of what to do more of and what not to do ever again. Read that list before every appointment for the next month until it becomes a habit.

14. Meditate. Sounds corny, I know. But I use the headspace app and 10-​minute a day meditations and they have been life-changing.

15. Workout. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes. A little sweat will lead to sales. I have a 20–30 minute workout scheduled for myself every day at noon. Inspired by our graphic designer, who is in totally great shape – both body and mind.

16. Avoid all news, negativity, and violence. Focus on “feel good.” The news people prey on our society with negative, upsetting, anger-​creating headlines. Our news, especially in America, is more negative than ever. Take a break. Need to know what’s going on? You can still find out by reading, which won’t affect you as much as watching.

17. Avoid griping and whining – keep your talk and expressions positive and hopeful. Listen to how you are phrasing your sentences – do they sound angry? Do they sound optimistic? Pay attention to your language and specific words – and replace negative words with positive ones. Don’t tell me what you can’t do, tell me what you can do.

18. Watch “feel good” kid’s movies (Sing, Home, Leap). These movies are not for kids, they are really for adults. Find the message and get inspired.

19. Go Spartan – no drink, no party, no TV – focus on WINNING. It’s time to go ALL-IN.

A sales slump is in your mind and your actions reinforce it. Then you create the slump and now it’s not just in your head, it’s in your numbers.

Having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month? Stay calm. Human tendency is to tense up. But that won’t do you any good. That will just lead to more slump.

Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting,” said Yogi Berra. And that is the ultimate “taking responsibility” for your situations, your response to it, and your actions to improve.

IDEA: When you’re in a sales slump ask yourself what’s causing it, and write it down. Once you write, answers will begin to appear. Don’t play the blame game, play the answer game.

I just gave you 19 SOLID slump-​breaking ideas, BUT the only way to START to get out of a slump is to pull yourself out, head first.

Jennifer Gluckow blogs regularly at Sales In A New York Minute.
©2017 Jennifer Gluckow and Sales in a New York Minute.