How are your sales doing right now?
Because secretly a lot of sales professionals who sell services are concerned that their sales are slowing down.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic… but there are other reasons that your sales might be slowing down too.
So in this post I’m going to show you why a sales slump might not be anything to worry about and what do to when you feel like you’re sales are slowing down.
WHY IS BUSINESS SLOW?
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to change your sales success rates. But if your sales have slowed down over the past few months then there might be other factors in play as well.
The first thing to do when sales slow down is to troubleshoot what the REAL problem is.
There are three variables that you should consider when trying to work out why sales are slow. They are –
- Inbound interest – Has the level of interest for the service you sell dried-up? For example, your service might be seasonal. If you’re selling accounting services, the end of the tax year is going to be busier than in the middle of it.
- Sales pipeline – If the level of inbound interest for your product has not changed, then the next variable to examine is your sales pipeline. You need to determine if you are you able to capture the interest the market has in your service. If you’re unable to capture attention and drive it through your sales pipeline over time your sales will slow.
- Closing percentage – Finally, if the market is interested in your service, you’re able to capture this interest and drive it through a sales pipeline, yet your sales are still slowing down, the closing end of your sales process must be the issue.
So before you start blaming the pandemic for your selling slow down, ask yourself if any of these variables have changed over the past 12 months.
There are lots of issues that can affect inbound interest, sales pipelines and closing percentages. Here are a few examples –
- Disruptive innovations from your competitors
- Your service being commoditized and cheaper versions brought to market
- Regular economic upturns and downturns
- Legal or legislative changes
- Changes in customer facing members of staff
Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to uncover where the issues are. Once you uncover what the real issue is that is causing your sales slow down, you can try one of the following 6 ways to eliminate it.
#1 Better lead generation
No matter what the issue is that is slowing down your sales, 9 times out of 10, if you put in a few extra hours a day on lead generation, these issues disappear. At least in the short term anyway.
Also ask yourself if you’re doing less lead generation now than you were 12 months ago. I know when the pandemic first hit I personally went quiet with Salesman.org as I struggled to figure out what to do next and that lack of activity at the beginning of the year effected my sales pipeline for months afterwards.
#2 Robust sales planning
If your sales have ground to a complete halt, it’s time to stop, take a couple of days away from your usual daily selling activities and create new a plan of action.
Albert Einstein once said –
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
So if things are slowing right down you might need to take a different approach to your selling.
To create a quick sales plan, grab a pen and paper and ask yourself questions like –
- What is and what isn’t working right now?
- What’s the one thing I could change in my sales process that would have the biggest impact on all the other steps?
- What deals could I work on this month that would lead me to having the best next quarter ever?
- If I could add anyone to our team, who would it be and what would they do?
Use these questions to create a sales plan to dramatically change your future results.
#3 Recharge yourself
Could your sales be slumping because you don’t feel energized right now? Maybe you feel stressed and tired?
Your own emotions might be sabotaging your sales efforts. Everybody has “mirror neurons” in their brains. These neurons mirror the emotions that we see in other people.
So for example, if you call on a prospect and you feel stressed, tired and have a lack of energy, the mirror neurons in the prospects brain will replicate the emotions that you’re feeling. They will then start to feel the same way. You feel stressed, they’ll feel stressed.
And it’s impossible to close sales with prospects who aren’t feeling positive. Therefore when you’re in a sales slump, often the best thing to do is to take a week off and reset yourself and your brain.
#4 Competitive analysis
If your sales are slowing down, could it be that your competitors have overtaken you?
I know that a whole bunch of sales training companies have gone bust over the last few months. When I look at their websites and product offerings, all of them are dated, boring and clearly haven’t been developed in years.
So has the business you work for been resting on its laurels?
Here are a few questions you can ask to uncover if this is the case –
- How does your competitors sales process differ to yours?
- How has your competitors revenue changed over the past five years?
- If everything was the same price and came with the same level of service, would your prospects buy from you or your competitor?
- Why would a buyer choose to work with your competition over you?
Do a little soul-searching in answering these questions. They’re great questions to gain insights as to how you can reignite your sales activity.
#5 Professional development
If you’re in a sales slump right now, one variable could be YOU!.
When was the last time that you improved your sales skills? I mean seriously. Not watching a 10 minute YouTube video like this but seriously getting educated about selling?
If you sell services and you want to dramatically improve your sales performance the first thing to do is to get signed up at Salesman.org.
But even setting aside a little time each morning to read a few pages of a book on business or personal-development can often pull you out of a sales slump.
If you really want a kick in the ass try my favourite book personal-development book – “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robins.
#6 Buyer interviews
The final suggestion I have for you if your sales have slowed down is to do some buyer interviews. Buyer interviews are simple. Reach out to the people who bought from you over the past few months and ask them the following questions –
- Why did you buy from us?
- How did you hear about our service?
- Who else did you consider?
- How could we have sped up the sales process?
- What did you need to know before buying that was difficult to learn?
These 5 questions make up a great 10-minute buyer interview that can give you a lot of information on your current selling performance.
So there we have the variables that can lead to your sales slowing down and six ways to speed your sales back up.