How to Get Out of a Sales Slump

August 4, 2023
Sales slump

The dreaded sales slump. Most sales leaders know that feeling of watching your numbers dwindle and feeling powerless to change the downward trend. Athletes refer to a slump as a plateau, but whatever you call it, it feels devastating.

If your sales team is experiencing a slide, you’re not alone. Sales are down in many industries as buyers reduce spending. Nearly all business leaders (99%) in a recent survey said their organizations are preparing to cut costs in 2023 amid economic uncertainty.However, it’s important to remember that sales downturns are a normal part of business. Even in a tight economy, you can take steps to get your sales back on track.

Once you know the causes of poor performance, there are tactics you can use to overcome them and get out of a sales slump in no time.

As Willie Jolley preaches, “A setback is a setup for a comeback.” So gear up for a comeback.

What Exactly Do You Mean By Sales Slump?

Just like it sounds, a sales slump is a dry spell in your business, during which  you’re not making the same number or size of deals as usual. These can be caused by various factors, from changes in the market to new competitors to a turbulent economy.

Incoming leads may fall during these times, and pipelines slow to a trickle. Whatever the reason, the company has trouble generating revenue. That’s why knowing how to get out of a sales nosedive and back into successful selling is important.


What Causes Sales Slumps?

There are many possible reasons for decreasing sales revenue; we’ll expand on a few for you.

Unrealistic Expectations

In our post-pandemic economy, everything is in a state of flux, including the goods you offer, the level of competition, prices, trends, etc.

With this level of constant change, it can be difficult to set goals and objectives, but they are more important now than ever. Having practical and reasonable expectations is the first step to avoiding a letdown.

A great way to do this is by creating realistic (SMART) goals. For instance, take the amount your team sells in a month historically—either quarter over quarter or year over year. Then increase that amount by an attainable number, say 5% to 10%. Adjust your metrics to align with the current market and shoot for small increases over time.

Poor Attitude

An important component of selling is attitude. A sales slump can be a Catch-22 situation. A drop in sales can lead to a lack of motivation and a negative attitude, or a poor attitude can lead to declining sales. Whether caused by personal troubles or challenges at work, attitude will affect your sales team motivation and, ultimately, how well they can sell.

Additionally, a poor attitude could make your sales professionals feel more depressed, anxious, or dissatisfied than is normal. Check in with your team to see if an attitude adjustment is in order.

Lost Confidence

Your sales professionals need to believe that they have the education and skills to handle buyer objections and overcome challenges. Establishing a practice of ongoing sales training will build confidence and give your team the resilience they need in today’s economy.

There are many ways to boost self-esteem and belief in your abilities. You can also advise your sales force to share knowledge with their peers, reach out to colleagues, organize weekly brainstorming meetings, or read books by sales experts.

Lack of Product Knowledge

Most organization’s products and services change continually. Software updates, new offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and other factors mean that sales professionals need to continually update product knowledge. Make sure that you have a consistent process for product rollouts and verify your salespeople’s ability to sell new offerings.

Insufficient Buyer Understanding

Buyer behavior changed dramatically during the pandemic. The root of many downturns is a failure to comprehend prospects’ motivations and satisfy their demands. Many sales professionals also fail to convey credibility while describing how the product meets buyer’s needs. Make sure your team completely understands your target market and their pain points.

Out-Of-Date Sales Process

New buyer behavior and other factors mean that your sales process might need an adjustment. An old process that doesn’t incorporate new techniques and strategies to serve your buyers can be holding your team back. Updating your sales process can be an important way to halt or reverse a downturn.


11 Sales Manager Tactics to Get Out of A Sales Slump

If your team is having trouble selling, you might feel like you’ve lost your touch and even be fearful of losing your job. It can be difficult to motivate your team during these periods because your salespeople are dealing with more negative interactions, disappointment, and rejection.

Here are eleven tried-and-true sales tactics to refill up your sales funnel and get your sales force through this rocky time.

1. Adjust Your Attention

Even the most seasoned sales professionals might lose confidence when they experience rejection after rejection. However, sales are all about a positive mentality. If your salespeople are approaching potential customers out of desperation, they’ll know it.

You can help your team reset and regain their focus by encouraging them to do whatever it takes to stay positive and keep their mind on the task in front of them. There are many motivational sales books and podcasts about sales from leaders such as Tiffany Bova, Jill Konrath, and Daniel Pink that can help shift their thinking.

2. Review Your Numbers

Review stats such as close/won rate, average deal size, and average sales cycle over time to get an idea of what kind of progress you’ve made. Compare your sales funnel to the same period in the past to see if you’re improving. You may find that you’ve improved your conversion rate or that you’ve lost customers.

Either way, you’ll know whether you’re moving forward or backward. You must determine your baseline performance before planning how to get out of a sales slump.

3. Identify Successful Sales Tactics

Take a look at what’s worked in the past. Review your sales process and the activities of high-performing team members for any trends or methods that helped reach past peaks. It’s time to re-apply successful tactics and strategies and introduce new ones to pull sales out of a dip.

4. Review Un-Closed Leads

Examine the data and figure out why some sales aren’t closing. Narrow your focus to the leads that didn’t close and investigate what went wrong with the process. Develop a plan to address those issues and implement them step-by-step.

5. Reach Out to Current Customers

Existing satisfied customers can be a fruitful source of new business and also restore sales professionals’ confidence. If you haven’t already, establish a program of regular check-ins via scheduled or ad hoc calls and emails to inquire about their situation and see if you can do anything to assist.

6. Be Consistent

Sales lulls come and go, and the only factor your sales professionals have complete influence over is the daily effort they put out. Make sure your team is following a consistent process, setting individual goals, and sticking to them. Be sure goals are specific, and each salesperson has a clear plan of action to achieve them.

7. Stay Motivated

The key to overcoming a slump is sales team motivation. There are many ways to spark motivation, including attending conferences, connecting with a mentor, or taking a micro course. The ability to find motivation is literally only a keystroke away.

Even if your team isn’t operating at 100% daily, sometimes the key is to “fake it ‘til you make it” and keep pushing through. Eventually, they will feel that passion for selling again.

8. Tackle Non-Sales Activities

When you’re experiencing a sales slowdown, your sales professionals can use this time to focus efforts on tasks they usually don’t have time for. This will not only keep spirits high but checking things off a long to-do list can give salespeople the drive they need when sales motivation is down.

This feeling of success can transfer to a higher belief in overall selling abilities, which is often the first step to get out of a sales slump.

9. Prioritize Prospects

Your sales professionals may be treating every prospect as equally strong, when some are much better opportunities than others. Make sure that your team knows how to qualify a lead and identify more promising prospects. This will prevent them from expending too much time and effort on a possibility that is unlikely to progress.

10. Upskill Your Sales Team

Sales managers may feel reluctant asking others for help to get out of a dip because they think it shows a lack of ability. However, if you want to solve an important problem, sometimes all you need to do is listen to another person’s perspective.

Set up sales training for your team or bring in experts to conduct a workshop to address specific sales skill gaps. Learning together as a team will increase morale and self-esteem, not to mention the new sales skills they will learn.

11. Take a Break

You might want to take some time off to relax and recharge your batteries. Talk to your sales leader about whether he/she would be willing to support you on this path. You don’t have to take a long break. Even a longer lunch hour or working from home two days a week instead of one could be enough of a break to help you regroup.

Getting out of a sales slump can be difficult, but it is not impossible. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this post, you can regain your momentum and get back on track to reaching your sales goals.


Break Out of a Sales Slump

Find out how The Brooks Group workshops and sales training programs can help your team break out of a sales slump.

Watch our on-demand webinar Overcoming Adversity in Sales: How to help your sales team succeed.

Written By

The Brooks Group

The Brooks Group teaches straightforward, actionable sales training skills to sales managers and their teams. Our IMPACT Selling® Sales Training Program has been taught to over one million sales professionals nation-wide, and we've been recognized as one of the top sales training companies annually since 2010. We also provide various behavioral and selling assessments to aide sales managers making hiring or management decisions.
The Brooks Group teaches straightforward, actionable sales training skills to sales managers and their teams. Our IMPACT Selling® Sales Training Program has been taught to over one million sales professionals nation-wide, and we've been recognized as one of the top sales training companies annually since 2010. We also provide various behavioral and selling assessments to aide sales managers making hiring or management decisions.

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