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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

In A New Business Slump? Try Getting the Rats Out of Your Head!

new business sales slumpI was recently working with a group of sales managers on helping their sales teams develop more high-potential accounts. After listening to some of the challenges they feel their salespeople are faced with day-to-day, I added, "They need to get the rats out of their head!" One sales manager looked at me inquisitively and questioned, "The rats out their head?" So let me explain...

In our fast-paced sales environment, it's easy to let distractions get in the way. These distractions can sometimes hurt our sales performance and almost always get in the way of developing high-potential accounts. Then it's a domino effect... so many issues feel as if they need to be addressed immediately and almost always end up taking the place of the productive new business development activities that you know will help you improve performance. It gnaws at you and feels as if you can't get away from it - like rats, invading your space and eating up your time.

I have felt this way myself many times. A single working mom with three kids with an active career built on helping others improve sales performance is a constant juggle, and sometimes, I too let rats get in my head. Here's how I quickly re-group and get back on track:

Prioritize Work and Personal

A coworker illustrated a great exercise in one of her workshops that I feel really helps you determine the priorities likely to have the most significant impact on you. You can do this for work, for personal, or both.

  1. Take a piece of paper and fold it vertically.
  2. One one side, list all the tasks you have in a given day.
  3. Flip it over and list all the things you wish you had more time for in your day.
  4. Then unfold the paper and compare. See what you can cross of the first list you made and replace the time you spend on tasks not so important with what you want more time for.

Remove Your Known Distractions

We all know what we are great at and what we struggle with. Sometimes we are confident enough in ourselves to share our challenges with others. Sometimes we're not. Some can stay incredibly focused and on tasks like a cat scoping out prey, while some feel less focused, and often scattered, like a squirrel chasing a nut. If you're distracted easily, remove those distractions for at least 20 minutes a day, and dedicate that time to new business development

Have Others Help You

Enlisting others to hold you accountable is a great way to help keep you on track with the right activities. Once you've created your priorities and allocated the time to make it happen, share your goals with a colleague, friend, or family member who you can count on to keep you on track. Sometimes it's a simple reminder email, or maybe a 15-minute meeting to help you stay focused on the things you have determined are the best opportunities for new business development.

Don't let distractions (or rats in your head) get in your way and hurt the opportunity to develop high-performing accounts. Or if it's your personal life where you've been distracted, don't let the rats keep you from the things that are most important. Clear your mind, set your priorities, remove the distractions, and enlist those you trust to hold you accountable. 

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Topics: business development new business development sales performance sales management salespeople sales training