When it Goes Sideways

I’ve written a lot about the necessity of a positive attitude for success.  There just isn’t any way around it.  You’ve got to build one, then work your tail off to maintain it.  Sometimes, things are going to come up that bring you down, and most times you’ll be able to get through that without too much of an issue.

And sometimes it just hits the proverbial fan

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Even the best sales pros are going to have their off days.  Things just aren’t coming out right.  You’re misreading signals, misunderstanding customers, and just missing things altogether.

Take A Step Back

The first thing you need to do is diagnose where it went wrong.  Did you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or are you struggling to remember the last time you even slept well?  Days like this are most commonly the result of pressing- either for a deadline, a quota, or some other sort of pressure.  At any rate, you’re off your game, and you need to get to the bottom of why before you move forward.

You might need to resolve that complaint by your biggest customer.  Maybe you should make up with your spouse (face it, you were probably wrong).  More often than not, your tank is on empty, and you need to recharge a bit.   We all like to believe that we’re invincible- gladiators who wear their courage on their sleeve and never break down.  Well, remember when you called your prospect the wrong name?  That’s the selling equivalent of a flat tire.

Commit To The Solution

Anything less than your best is not going to get the job done, so your most important priority is maintaining your ability to perform at your highest level.  Whatever is knocking you off your game needs to be handled immediately. 

Get your customer on the phone with an update on the solution.  They’ll appreciate your attention, perhaps even a little over-communication, and you’ll also get an opportunity to take their temperature again.  Regardless, your biggest customer will be reminded that they are your biggest priority, and that’s never a bad thing. 

Call your spouse and tell them you’re sorry.  Even on the off chance that you weren’t the one in the wrong, it’s a great opener to an honest, vulnerable conversation that you clearly need to have if that friction is bleeding over into your work life.

Check your voicemail, check your email, and then put your phone and computer in the other room for a few hours.  Have someone cover for you for a bit if anything really urgent could come up, but book yourself for a two-hour meeting.  Take a walk.  Take a nap.  Clear your head.  A noisy mind blocks your flow and your swagger like nothing else can, and what you need more than anything right now is that return to normalcy, confidence, and belief.

No, those don’t all sound like the most productive work activities.  You’re likely not logging your naps in your CRM, and I don’t suggest you start.  But as salespeople we have to be honest about what is jamming us, and taking the ego-driven route of denying the problem is counterproductive more often than not.

This Is Not A Slump

A slump is something very different, and actually something that you need to work through.  But that’s a blog post for another day.  You need to be careful that a day or two in a row like this doesn’t lead to something more chronic.  That’s where your attitude can really work against you if you let it.  Be mindful of these little bumps in the road and you’ll prevent them from becoming potholes.

Now go and be great.

Sales MindsetJeff Bajorek