How To Straighten Your Way Out Of A Sales Slump


(By Loyd Ford) A lot of sales organizations focus on the “right now” and celebrate that snapshot as the official score of who is good and who is bad at sales. But maybe celebrating sales alone is the wrong way to figure out who your strongest sellers are.

Stay with me.

Everyone takes their turn in the barrel.” Even your best and most consistent seller can fall into a challenging period. Some might call this a slump. So, this week I thought we might focus on how to turn around a sales slump.

How To Get Back On Track:

  1. Go to the sales data. Look for patterns in your sales activity, especially areas where you are underperforming. Understanding what’s underneath a sales slump is the first step in readying your comeback.
  2. If you are the sales manager or market manager, ask yourself the hard questions about your work with the sales team. Are they well-trained, up-to-date, and motivated for success? Giving certainty to your level of training and providing incentives (people will do what you reward) can go a long way to encourage your team to reach their goals.
  3.  Be Clear About Sales Goals. Communicate specific, and goals that your sellers have to reach for, but make sure you also give them the firm support they need to make your goals happen.
  4. Be Willing To React And Revise Strategy When Needed. Be nimble and adjustable to what is happening in your radio market. Also be willing to expose your team to new opportunities, including customer segments, as a part of any anticipation of challenges you will need to make up.
  5. Only Skip Additional Sales Training If You Want Poor Results. Investing in ongoing sales training to help your team become and continue as the most helpful consultative team on the ground in your market is essential. That’s deep product knowledge and sharpening consultative selling, cold-calling and so much more. This can also include rotating presentations where someone on your team presents an active presentation to your team in a sales meeting before they approach a potential client and the team gives thoughts, tips, and encouragement or having your sales manager ride along with sellers regularly and share observations and areas of opportunity. It is important to point out how positive these interactions should be. We’re not looking for what’s wrong. We want to encourage what is right and help suggest additional opportunities for sellers.
  6. Create A Sense Of Importance Around Deepening Customer Relationships. Strengthening those relationships with existing customers and building on that with new customers is powerful. Leadership is about making the job of sellers easier. That means that you are encouraged to think about effective ways to personalize service and keep your team focused on effective follow-ups and creative hooks like loyalty programs and client-exclusive events no one will want to miss.
  7. Generate Leads. You don’t think this can be done in radio? It can. Generating leads is simply another way to motivate sellers about interest, opportunity, and potential. Use customer events, digital marketing, advertising-focused blogs, and other engagements designed to create a consultative appearance for our sellers.
  8. Don’t Skip Paying Close Attention To Customer Feedback. Customer experience is a big part of loyalty and higher sales. If you are not on top of this, some other smart sales manager likely will be and it will cost you money. Develop ways to listen to your customers and act on their feedback, then continuously improve your products, services, and client interaction.
  9. Monitor Your Processes And Execution Of Sales Strategy. Being adaptive to what you see can save your business time, money, and relationships. Don’t be afraid to change something rapidly if it isn’t working.

Turning around a sales slump requires an intense focus on what I call time spent selling, training, community sales encouragement, focus on follow-up, creativity, and persistence. As a bonus, having a sales manager and market manager who are encouraging and willing to experiment and adjust when needed is worth their weight in gold.

Loyd Ford is president and chief strategic officer at Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works (RPC). They help local radio with ratings and revenue. Reach him anytime at 864.448.4169 or [email protected]. Read Loyd’s Radio Ink archives here.


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