Frustration, disappointment, nervousness and confusion are all symptoms of a sales slump. When you’re "in the slump," you may feel like the cosmos has aligned just to deny you deal after deal. But in fact, a slump isn’t the result of supernatural forces. And, with the simple techniques described below, you can shake off the yips and get your A game back.
1. Make a gratitude journal.
Our brains are wired to overly focus on -- even obsess about -- negativity. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Our ancestors had to pay particular attention to the stressors in their lives because ignoring them could mean death. Even though your sales stress isn’t the same as what you'd feel were a bear trolling the tribe, your brain doesn’t know the difference.
When you’re in a slump, your brain wants to focus on all the negative things, even to the point of self-destruction. Don’t allow your slump to be the magnifying glass that intensifies the sunlight on the ant. How can you avoid this? Thankfully, there are a few ways to actively shift your perspective back to the positive.
A gratitude journal, for example, is a great way to open your eyes to your strengths, your gifts, your resources and the supportive people around you. When you write down what you’re grateful for, make sure you take a moment to feel intensely grateful for each item on your list. Then, take another look and see if you can leverage any of the list items to help you get back on the path to success.
One of the problems with a slump is that you focus on what you’ve missed out on and what you don’t have. To break out of that downward spiral, you can create a victory list. A victory list is a list of everything that you have accomplished.
Take a strong look at where you are, compared to where you began. You have achieved so much already on your path. A slump detour doesn't erase the value of those accomplishments. When you re-remember your past progressions, recall what it took to make them happen. Pay particular attention to your emotional state and thoughts that propelled you in those moments. You can tap into them once again.
2. Use your confidence playbook.
When you’re in a slump, your body deflates as a reflection of your current state. If you let a slump overpower you, then you are no longer bringing in the same energy that you had when you were on a winning streak. You body language and vocal patterns change and send a subtle (or not so subtle) loss of confidence.
A client of mine was in a slump and highly frustrated that he had lost his edge. So, to help him, we created his confidence playbook. It was so effective that he bounced out of the slump within two sessions. To build his playbook, I asked him this question: If I were an alien who knew nothing about the human experience, how would you teach me how you "do confidence"?
This is a fantastic and powerful exercise. When you go through it, you’ll notice that there is a physicality to confidence. You'll stand tall, your shoulders down and back, your chest proud, and -- perhaps, most importantly -- you'll breathe a certain way. Then, go a little deeper. What are the unique things you do when you’re confident? Do you smile more? Look people in the eye? Do you tilt your head down or do you tilt it up? Do you have a bounce or swagger to your walk? Do you feel like you take on a fighter’s stance or a dancer’s stance? How do you do confidence?
Discovering these nuances will help you create your own confidence playbook. Then, when you’re in a mental slump, you can circumvent it by accessing your physical -- and therefore emotional -- confidence state. With that plan, you’ll be walking into meetings with the energy and compelling nature that will land your next sale.
3. Do something else you’re good at.
Sales situations can push you outside of your comfort zone, and sometimes a slump is a symptom of being outside your comfort zone for too long. Even if you are the type of person who thrives on being outside of your comfort zone, you still need those moments when you’re completely in your element, doing something well that you could do in your sleep.
Spend time in your art studio, play an easy video game, crush some sets at the gym, run a race against a 5-year-old. Do whatever it takes to feel invincible at something.
You can also get your groove back by teaching or mentoring someone else. In a slump, you can easily forget how much you actually know. When you take on a teaching role -- even for just one conversation -- you realize that you are more knowledgable and resourceful than you have felt recently. Then, use that newfound self-esteem and bring it into your next meeting.
Sales is a mental sport, and slumps happen to everyone. With these three techniques, you’ll be able to break out of the slump faster and get back to being the selling rock star that you are.