The Ups and the Downs of Sales

The sales profession is a wonderful one, if you can deal with the psychological aspect of dealing with the constant pressure and the ups and downs of sales.

For those of you who know what I mean and have experienced those peaks and valleys, I have great news – There is a way to avoid the lows. It took me awhile to figure out the key to getting consistent results. For years I would experience the ups and downs associated with sales. The ups were of fantastic but the downs were excruciating. You have the pressure from your manager and feel as if you need to press more and more, only to get more and more “no’s”. Then comes the self-doubt…and the spiral downward begins. Once the confidence is lost, a salesperson goes from thinking, “I am going to get the sale” to “I need to get the sale!” Somehow, it comes across, the prospect senses it and in the long run, your pressing too much, you lose credibility and ultimately you lose the sale.

How do you avoid this trap that is often the demise of many a sales folk?  It is easy; all you need to do is continue to feed the sales funnel. The best way to do that is to have consistent activity. Consistent activity leads to consistent results. In order to figure out how to have consistent activity, it is helpful to understand why there are often inconsistencies in your activity levels.

One reason there tends to be inconsistencies is when the sales are high. A salesperson tends to divert their focus from prospecting to making sure everything gets set up properly for their new sales. They stop filling their pipeline and then come out of the great sales months with a very weak pipeline.  Again, when the pipeline is weak, the salesperson then starts “pushing’, often times trying to fit round pegs into a square holes. This is another destructive behavior, since close ratios go down and the confidence levels go down as well. Then it is hard to get back up that hill once again.

Another reason for activity levels to go down is the natural inclination for a sales person is to take their foot off the petal when the sales start coming in. They convince themselves that they deserve it and take a mental break. Unfortunately, often times it is hard for them to get it going again…resulting in months of poor results.

Here is an example of such behavior and how it affected a phenomenal sales person I once had. Jeff, worked for me, and would come in at 100% of quota for three years in a row. Not that 100% is bad; I just knew that Jeff could do so much more. He used to come out of my planning sessions with his head between his legs. I kept saying, Jeff, you are an “A” student getting “C’s”. He didn’t get it. He thought since he was 100% of quota that it was good enough. I just knew Jeff had the potential to be a superstar. This is what happened; for three years Jeff would go down to 92% of quota and then he would put the “petal to the metal”, increasing his activity levels significantly. Then the results started increasing and he would get his percent of quota up to 105%… then he would totally release the petal again, dropping back down to 93% of quota, and then the cycle would repeat. Finally, after three years of hovering around quota, he had the epiphany. He understood that if he kept his activity levels high, throughout every great sales month, even when he wanted to take that mental break, he would have superstar results. Jeff is now a top performer with a fortune 100 company and is knocking the cover off of the ball.

You too can get phenomenal results by just doing one thing, make sure all of your efforts are focusing on maintaining high activity levels and consistently fill your pipeline. By doing that, your results will be consistent, you will maintain confidence and you will ride the success wave for a very long time.

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