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Overcoming a “Sales Slump”

As a personal producer, my record sales week was during a holiday season a few years ago. I sold 26 life insurance policies in five days during the week of Christmas. Still, most “experts” consider Christmastime to be a “sales slump.”

I believe in quality sales, not quick sales. My persistency rate (13th month premium paid by customer) is between 85 percent and 95 percent, depending on the carrier.

As a National Top Producer, I can say that the biggest secret to my own sales success during the holiday season and other typical sales slumps is self-adjustment. What are you willing to think and do differently within your habits, mindset, and daily schedule, to realize your dreams? I had to “tweak” several things about my daily habits, sales presentation delivery, marketing strategy, etc. in order to sustain consistent high-volume sales production.

Rookies have it. Pros have it. A “sales slump” is a dry period extending into days, even weeks, of little to no sales. How do winners overcome a sales slump? Self-Adjustment! Listed below are small, yet important, and achievable upgrades to a sales approach that I put into practice myself.

1. Identify Your Weakness. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right? A chain of closing sale-after-sales-after-sale in the same day is possible. So, zero in on what weakens your sales opportunity. What zaps your positive outlook, sales schedule, customer appointments, and “can-do” spirit? Whatever it is, this has become your weakness—your Kryptonite. Know your weakness! Understanding the problem is half the solution.

2. Stay On Schedule. A “streaky” work ethic ultimately ends up with inconsistent sales results. Why? “Taking a break” for several hours, or days, when you are in a slump, puts an agent into the habit of failing. Winners choose to focus on selling, not on not selling. Instead of wondering off to “take a break,” utilize any down time to practice closing a sale with a “dummy customer.” Deliver your entire sales presentation to a “practice buyer.” Include an application process, so that you get familiar with collecting customer payment information. KEEP YOURSELF BUSY IN HABITS OF SUCCESS. Do something to “close a sale,” even if it is a pretend sale. Afterwards, ask your “practice buyer” to point out areas that you could improve on. Keep practicing until your sales presentation becomes streamlined and flows well. Then, put a new and improved sales presentation into play with live customers. An improved you guarantees improved results.

3. Refocus On Basics. In sales, it’s kind of obvious. To stack the odds in your favor, run the numbers. That is, the more customers you set appointments with, the more sales you have a chance to close. Talking to the next customer is the only way to make the next sale. In the beginning of my sales career, as an average salesman, I discovered the more I worked, the luckier I became. The more people I spoke to, the more sales presentations I delivered, which resulted in more sales. Success is simple, but not easy. Winners, who earn thousands of income commission dollars each and every week, are smart enough to know that “the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing”. Keep talking to as many people as it takes to reach your sales goal on a daily basis.

4. STOP Telling Yourself You “Can’t.” Positive or negative self statements often lead to exactly what will happen. Misguided thoughts can creep in through the natural ebb-n-flow of selling’s ups-n-downs. Empower your reality instead! Say loudly, “I am getting better.” “I control my destiny.” “I don’t have to make a low paycheck.” “I can overcome this.” Combat emotions by verbalizing who you really are, and what you really want. The truth is that you can succeed.

5. Change Your Close. Stop “wimping out” when a customer does not want to make a buying decision today.  Your sales slump can be fixed immediately, when you stop enabling a customer’s habit of procrastination. When a customer says, “Can we have more time to think about it?” use authoritative closing remarks that boosts your confidence…

“No mam. No sir. I prefer that you decide if this plan is right for you, while you have me here with you.”

“I prefer that we apply for the benefits, while you have me on the phone with you.”

“This is not important tomorrow, this is important today.”

“Sure. Go ahead & think about it for a few minutes. I’ll be here at my desk working. In 5-10 minutes you can tell me which one you want.” *(I assume they want to think about it, while I am talking with them at that time and place).

“Premiums can go up for people who wait. I am not allowed to hold these lowest premiums and no cost benefits open for anyone. However, you do not have to spend any money today to secure permanent protection coverage for your family. Now, which plan fits best into your lifestyle and budget if, God forbid, something should happen to you tonight?”

6. Change Your Clothes. This means your business attire is important. For example, I personally wore a tie every day for the first six months while pivoting from field sales to phone sales, even though my customers never saw what I was wearing. Why? Because of how it made me feel.

I felt important dressing for success. Look like a professional! If you work in your pajamas, you are going to feel like you’re still in bed. On page 49 of my book How YOU Can MASTER Final Expense, I articulate the value of looking the part of a professional. In today’s culture, perception is reality to most people. It is comical how Walmart shoppers sometimes walk up to me and ask where they can find certain items in the store. Because of my shirt and tie outfit, I get mistaken for a Walmart store manager. What you wear as you are working can attract customers in need, and also determines how important you feel as a professional.

7. Reward Yourself. Set a doable sales goal. When a goal is reached, reward yourself with a small purchase, or savory meal. However, agents in a slump are “rewarding themselves” way too early, trying to make themselves feel better by spending money, or taking breaks, because of poor sales results. Reverse your slump by reversing your reward system. No sale, no reward. Decide to reward yourself only after reaching a doable, yet worthy sales goal.

The key to overcoming a sales slump is to improve one thing each day about yourself. Habits of improvement in one area of your life connect to improvements in other important areas. Go from a “sales slump” to a sales bump this holiday season and into 2014! I believe you can!

About Dr. Troy Clark

Dr. Troy Clark
Executive-level Consultant, Author, Master Sales Trainer. Dr. Clark’s field-tested methods released salespersons who were living on food stamps to earning weekly four-figure paychecks within 10 weeks. Mentoring executives, business owners, individual agents, and managers, across all business sectors of America, his superior sales scripts are accessed by thousands of sales professionals, as well as nationwide agencies and corporations, at

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