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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 slump

In this fast-paced environment. distractions are inevitable. Emails pile up, urgent issues arise, and salespeople often find themselves pulled in multiple directions at once. It's easy to let these distractions derail us from our most important sales activities - developing new high-potential accounts.

Many refer to these distractions "the rats in our heads." They gnaw at us constantly, invading our mental space and eating up valuable time we should spend on productive business development. The "rats" can be loud and frenzied, making it hard to stay focused.

But we can regain control. Here are some strategies to share with your sales teams to keep the rats at bay.

  • Prioritize your time wisely. Block your calendar for dedicated account development.
  • Set daily goals to stay focused on high-value activities.
  • Declutter your workspace to minimize distractions.
  • Learn to say no to non-essential meetings and tasks.
  • Take breaks to recharge when you feel overwhelmed.

With some discipline, we can keep the rats in our heads from taking over. Staying focused on high-potential accounts will improve sales results over time. What matters is consistently doing the right things day-to-day.

Prioritize Work and Personal

  1. Take a piece of paper and fold it vertically.
  2. On one side, list all the tasks you have on a given day.
  3. Flip it over and list everything you wish you had more time for in your day.
  4. Then, unfold the paper and compare. See what you can cross off 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 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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*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated since its original publish date.

Topics: business development sales performance