A sales career is full of peaks and valleys, and no matter how good a rep is, the valleys are inescapable. Sales reps can find themselves in a slump for many reasons (often out of their control) from new competitors to shifting market conditions that alter a solution’s value proposition.
It’s natural for a general lack of confidence to creep in. As a sales leader, it’s important to diagnose this early in your team members and get ahead of it. Just as winning is contagious, so is losing.
Here are three tips to coach ‘up’ a great rep in a sales slump:
Re-evaluate the rep’s sales process.
Dissect your rep’s last few lost opportunities and cross references your results with the last few wins. Consider variables like lead source, preparation, timing, competitive differentiation and the contacts involved on the prospect’s side.
Understanding the intricacies of a sales rep’s deals will help you decide how to coach them on addressing areas of improvement. Sales reps – even the great ones – have a tendency to get complacent. You’ll probably find a few discrepancies that can help you coach your rep back up. For example:
- The rep didn’t thoroughly qualify the client’s pain points.
- The rep didn’t identify competitors early in the process.
- Lost deals are moving faster or slower than usual, and it’s causing an issue with next steps.
Get their colleagues involved.
Have your rep sit in on virtual or in-person meetings with their colleagues. Choose peers who hold similar roles to the rep, or who are selling similar solutions. Ask the rep to take notes and report what they learned. Struggling reps can often get stuck in their own process, and they almost always pick up a few helpful tips from their peers.
This is especially helpful for remote sales reps who may think they have the best sales pitch, competitive differentiation, or objection handling. But they are often working alone and managing their own sales process, and they could benefit from different perspectives and learning experiences.
This is also an effective practice to incorporate with reps who are new to remote work. How they respond to these peer sessions can indicate whether or not a rep is able to self-correct, adapt and learn on-the-fly.
Take a break.
Great sales reps are often ultra-critical of their own performance. Great reps thrive on self-confidence, so when they face a setback, they push themselves to do better. That urgency can often come through as desperation, in the way they interact with their clients and manage their deal opportunities. Pushing isn’t always good.
Have your rep take a few days off and completely check out. A simple mental reset may be all they need to get back on track. Some self-reflection can go a long way to greater success and professional happiness.
There are many other techniques managers can incorporate. You may want to try additional product or sales training; going back to sales basics; or co-managing the next couple deals with the rep. Regardless, if you get ahead of the sales slump early, your rock star rep will be back on track before you know it.