Breaking out of a sales slump

By Joe Simonds

Advisor Internet Marketing


I have noticed the more successful advisers, regardless of location or time of year, always have shorter slump periods than the average adviser. Why is this?

Over the years of consulting financial planners I have noticed a few common themes that keep reappearing each year like clockwork. One in particular is that every single adviser -— new, old, big or small — goes through a slump or slow period at some point during the year.

Sometimes it is due to their geographic proximity. For instance, advisers up north always seem to slow down a bit when it is below freezing with 7 feet of snow on the ground. Clients just aren’t in a rush to go out and meet their financial planner when they have to snow blow and de-ice their car just to get out of the driveway.

Likewise, my Florida advisers tell me their summers see a big slowdown because it is just too hot, and many of their snow bird clients have ventured north.

On the other hand, sometimes it is due to the stock market. When the market is going up smooth and steady, many clients now seem to feel like they can do it on their own, and the assistance they needed during a slow, scary or recessionary time is less applicable.

And sometimes it is due to family. Clients with pre-adult children are out and about during spring break and also many times throughout the summer.

But here is the most interesting part of these slumps. I have noticed the more successful advisers, regardless of location or time of year, always have shorter slump periods than the average adviser. Why is this?

After studying this phenomenon for many years, I discovered that the successful advisers always put a similar idea to work. They bust out of their slump by working harder than they ever have before, and even putting more time and money back into their practice than they were during good times.

The average adviser, on the other hand, sees this slow time as less income coming in, thus less money he or she is willing to spend on his or her own practice. Ultimately, he or she ends up working less than they normally would.
Two examples of the above mentioned trend would be a successful producer who always puts 25 percent of his/her commissions back into the practice to continue to grow each year. All of the sudden an unforeseen slump hits. Instead of cutting back their 25 percent for that month, they do the unthinkable to the average adviser. They invest 35 percent back into their practice until they see things start to grow again.

But here is where it gets even more exciting for that successful planner. When they get back on track to seeing growth again, these advisers usually explode through to new sales levels never seen before. Yes, these are the same advisers who continue to experience growing trends in their business despite having a short-term slump.

The average adviser quickly starts cutting back 10 percent to15 percent, and continuously wonders why their slumps last so long. Not to mention, when they finally break the slump, they usually end up right back where they were before the slump began and in most cases, end up closing the same amount of business they did the year before.

Another incredible tip to get out of a slump is something I learned from Brian Tracy. He calls it the 100-call method. He originally published this in his book, "The Art of Closing the Sale" as a tip for a salesperson starting a new sales job. However, I have taught others to use this along with personally using it myself to break out of a slump.

In this method you set a goal to make 100 face-to-face calls in the shortest period of time possible. This can be used for phone sales as well. Now this accomplishes a few things. First, it gets your mind off of the slump you are in. One of the objectives is to wake up that morning with nothing on your mind than to have one of the hardest working days you have had in quite some time. Some would say this is analogous to creating your own luck.

It also takes all of the pressure off of you to sell. In this short period, you should put the idea of selling away and just focus on getting in front of 100 new people to tell them about yourself, your services or your product. In many cases, just getting together unselfishly and talking with your old clients can generate future business activity. Not to mention the large amount of new customers who now know you, your product or service, and why they should do business with you.

If you don’t believe me, try out either of the ideas above the next time you get in a slump. You will be amazed with the results. You might even find yourself having the best year of your career.