Whether you’re just having an off week or it’s been a couple of months of sales struggles, it’s only natural to wonder what’s going on. And the truth is, there are probably several issues at play.
After all, sales can be intensely personal when you’re running a small business, and we’re all naturally complicated as humans. But while the reasons might be complex — you’re having a bad day, you’re not yet facing your fear of sales, or you’re just having a hard time getting enough customers to come through the door — the answer of what to do next is very simple. You figure out what’s going on, and then focus on one challenge at a time.
Start by getting clear on what’s going on
You can’t fix something if you’re not sure why it’s broken, so put down the phone, shut off your computer, and take yourself away to somewhere quiet for at least 30 minutes. Ask yourself, what are the main challenges you’re facing with your sales? And be honest in your answers! It might not be fun, but it’s the first step towards solving the issue.
Once you’ve done that, choose just one challenge to focus on, and write down as many possible solutions to it as you can. You’ll probably be surprised by just how many you can come up with — and you’ll feel much better knowing that you have something concrete to do about this issue instead of getting stuck in the Valley.
You can probably guess what the next step is…action! There’s no point in writing down all these great solutions if you don’t use them, so choose just one, put it on your calendar, and do it.
Stuck on next steps? Try one of these suggestions:
Ask yourself what you’re doing that’s not working
Do a self-assessment and take note of the activities that are not creating a return on your time. Don’t just do it in your head; make a proper list that you can refer to over time. Identify where you can tweak your sales process to focus on the actions that are paying off, and stop doing the ones that aren’t. For example, you might stop going to the networking event that is far from your office if you have been a member for a significant time with no referrals. Take an especially hard look at the items that are on your schedule by default.
The more familiar you are with your sales pitch and the more you practice the material, the more natural your delivery will be and the more comfortable you’ll feel when it matters. Not sure where to start? Try going back over your pitch and seeing whether it meets the four criteria for a perfect sales pitch.
You can only ever improve at something when you step out of your comfort zone — and this is certainly true for sales. So, try to think of at least one area in your sales routine where you can push your boundaries a bit. Maybe it’s getting more comfortable with sales calls, or perhaps you want to get better at following up with customers? Whatever you decide, make sure you really step into the Learning Zone. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it’s the only way to make progress!
While it’s often easy to feel isolated when you’re caught up in running your own business, you don’t have to go it alone — in fact, you shouldn’t! Surround yourself with the highest performers in your peer group, or connect with a mentor who’s really good at sales, and see what you can learn from them. Try adapting their style with pieces of what works from your own.
So get to it!
Whatever first step you decide to take, make sure you do it today, and be sure to track your progress. Your sales struggles might feel insurmountable now, but you’ll be amazed at the positive patterns you can recognise in your sales after tracking your changes for a few months.
Until next time,