How To Get Out of a Sales Rut: Stop Selling

Regardless if you’re new to the profession of sales or a veteran. One thing is inevitable. You’re going to get into a rut where it seems the harder you try – the more diminishing the returns. Which leads to frustration, over thinking, then inaction.

So many so-called “Sales Guru’s” tout from the stage or books that this is where you should “double your efforts.” It’s a load of bunk.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I wanted do when I got into a rut was go out and cold call. If I had a choice of shoveling crap barefoot for 8 hours or spend 10 minutes cold calling –  I would choose the full day shoveling. (And most sales veterans are nodding their head.)

Here’s what I did personally and teach others to do. I recommend this because it has proven results while accomplishing what a salesperson needs most – momentum. Nothing makes more sales than more sales. That’s not a play on words.

Rather than going out following the traditional mode of cold calling. I would bang doors of potential clients I had my eyes on previously asking for 5 minutes of their time. I only wanted to ask them a couple of questions while promising I wouldn’t try to sell them a thing. And if I did they could throw me out and I would never darken their doorway again. The difference with my example is this: I meant every word.

My version of prospecting is far different from most when contemplating the term “cold calling.” I’m making the case to stop selling when prospecting – not to stop getting yourself in front of potential clients. If you stop doing that you’ll lose any and all momentum. Period.

I never tried to hide who I was, who I worked for, or what I sold. I wasn’t trying to play some form of gotcha as to get my foot in the door. I was trying to accomplish the following:

  1. Continue getting myself in front of potential customers.
  2. If I was honest I could ask compelling qualifying questions i.e., “You know what I carry. Why haven’t you purchased from us previously?” or “I respect the loyalty you have to our competition. What are they doing right that we aren’t?”
  3. If I respected my promise of 5 minutes and adhered to it by my own accord. I might gain enough respect as to get another possible meeting. (So many try to ask for more time rather than asking to be excused because the time was up. That alone will separate you from the others.)
  4. The more people I saw the better I felt because It was the equivalent to working through an injury. The more I worked, the better I felt. (Just ask someone with arthritis, they’ll tell you it hurts more to stop.)
  5. I would find out things I didn’t know while making notes of who were worth pursuing, and who weren’t. And at times for the most important reason of all. I had real answers, and real information to tell some sales manager or boss who was reading that so-called “Guru’s” book that I despised. However unlike most I had pointed answers to all their questions while accomplishing a task they thought was important no matter how flawed. While at the same time saving my sanity and keeping up my momentum.

I could write a chapter or more on the benefits (and will be in my upcoming book) of this one simple change in prospecting. You may not be able to explain what you’re doing to your boss, or to others. However in the end. Only one thing matters in sales that needs no explanation.


© 2012 Mark St.Cyr