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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Selling


Are You In A Sales Slump?

Stop That Dip In Your Performance and Get Back In The Selling Zone

Bill Cole, MS, MA

Selling slumps. We've all been in this train wreck before. You miss an important sale. You have a series of bad days. You can't sell to your potential. You can't seem to extricate yourself from its deadly grip. You're in a sales slump.

Let's take a look at what slumps are, how to get out of one, and how to avoid them altogether. Let's get you out of the dreaded sales slump syndrome so you can reach more of your selling potential. If you know what to look for, and how to manage your mind, you can minimize the effects of slumps and reduce their frequency.

What Is A Slump?

A slump is any decrease in performance, over time, not just one bad day. A slump may start innocently enough. You might simply lose a sale. It bothers you. You lose another sale. That bothers you more. Then someone makes a comment that "you might be in a slump." You botch a sale again. Suddenly you decide you are in "an official slump". Your depression and anger about "being in a slump" fuels it, makes it worse and maintains it. Your poor results worry you more. You begin to think so much of how to fix the slump that you "get into your own head" too much. Now it really is a slump. And now it's a mental issue. But one you can handle.

How Do You Get Out Of A Slump? My Top Five Tips To Peak Performance.

1. Be Clear About Your Definition Of A Slump.
Make sure the slump you are in is a real one. If you assume you are slumping after one bad sales performance, you are far too quick to judge yourself so harshly. A more reasonable definition of a slump would be where you have a series of poor outcomes.

2. Don't Let People Talk You Into A Slump. Some people love to tell you that you're in a slump. They think they can see the slumping pattern you're in. Don't let their negativity affect you. Make up your own mind about your sales performance.

3. Change Your Routine. Sometimes a slump starts because you're bored, yet you may not realize it. Your routine may be too predictable. Mix it up! Try some new selling skills, some new selling practice systems and some new presentations. Often just a change in routine will wake you up and give you a new perspective.

4. Practice Harder And Improve Your Sales Weaknesses. Simple as it sounds, sometimes you sell poorly not because you are weak mentally, but just because you have a selling weakness or outdated presentation. Try practicing your presentations and closes longer, harder, better and smarter. Work the slump out on the selling practice court.

5. Stop Trying So Hard When You Are With Customers. This sounds like a contradiction from the previous tip, but think for a minute. Slumps are very frustrating. They can make you exert incredible amounts of non-useful energy. From a performance psychology standpoint, only a perfect amount of effort gives great results. Too little effort and your performance is flat. A slump unfortunately brings out too much negative energy in your efforts to defeat the slump. Trying too hard kills your selling performance. Relax and try softer, not harder.

Don't assume you are in a slump before one is truly there. Have a slump plan ready to go and take concrete, positive action. Stay one step ahead of the slump and you'll keep your sales performances soaring.

To learn more about how sales coaching can help you become a better, more confident sales professional, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™ at

Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2005, 2008 All rights reserved.

This article covers only one small part of the mental game. A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control training, mental rehearsal, concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation training, psych-out proofing and media training.

For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 66-item sales skills assessment tool you can score right on the spot, visit This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your mental game of selling.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at

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