How to Get Out of a Selling Rut

How to Get Out of a Selling Rut

...and Regain Your Selling Spark By Dan Stiff, Guest Writer

Why do salespeople get into a selling rut? It can happen when they’ve been doing their job for so long that they’re bored and uninspired. It can happen when they’ve been calling on the same customers or selling in the same industry for years, so it seems as if nothing new ever happens — they’ve lost the thrill of the hunt. And it can happen when arrogance or complacency creeps in. When they feel there’s nothing they haven’t already experienced, they may feel there’s nothing new to learn.

Fortunately, there are practical strategies you can learn that will help you recapture your passion for selling, connect emotionally with your customers, and expand personally and professionally in the process.
Let’s look at three key seller’s mindsets as ways to climb out of that selling rut.

Sales Mindset 1: Selling Starts Before We See the Buyer
Selling starts long before you first engage the buyer. Like a professional athlete, who envisions the competition, the plays, the crowd and her success before going onto the field, as professional salespeople we should envision the sales environment, the impact of the brand, the conversation and the close well before they happen.

Like other professionals, we should also be proud of the profession we are in and represent it accordingly. We should know our company and its brands and represent them as an expert. And we should build positive mental soundtracks and narratives about our brand in order to engage our buyers.

Sales Mindset 2: The Heart Is the Wellspring of Sales Confidence
Salespeople who are in a rut don’t need a lobotomy — they need a heart transplant! Why do I say this? Because the very issues that keep buyers from trusting us as salespeople are not logic-based, they are emotion-based. Whether you realize it or not, customers make purchasing decisions based first on their emotions, and then on other factors, such as price and quality.

Your ability to interact with your buyer in a confident manner answers the buyer’s basic, emotion-based doubts and questions about you: Can I trust you? Do you care about me and my business? Do you know what you’re doing?

The dilemma most salespeople share is giving too much power to the buyer. Two common reasons sellers allow this to happen are: (1) They haven’t earned the right to do business, and (2) They lack confidence. Both of these factors are closely linked to how you feel as a seller, and how the customer feels about you.
Effective selling starts at the heart, not the head. Sales Mindset 3 explains what I mean.

Sales Mindset 3: The Salesperson’s Confidence = E2KG
Here’s a formula I use in my workshops to remember the important elements of building sales confidence:

E2 = enthusiasm and experience
K = knowledge
G = growth

The first E in E2 stands for enthusiasm. Good salespeople are enthusiastic about their products, services and company. Enthusiasm and passion are contagious, and go a long way toward convincing the buyer that you believe in your product. Buyers are basically asking themselves: If it were your money, would you be spending it on your product? During interactions with the buyer, enthusiasm is critical. What I’m talking about is being excited when you talk about your product, your company, or your brand. Show confidence by looking the buyer in the eye and assuring him or her that you will take care of any problems that arise with the product.

The second E in E2 stands for experience. Experience is your ability to convey to the buyer that you understand his issues because you have been there; you have experienced similar situations, thoughts, feelings, and buying transactions. If you find yourself in a selling rut, try to remember why you enjoy your job or what it was like when you first started — when you were learning and developing at a rapid, exciting pace.

When you combine enthusiasm with experience, you have an incredible sales weapon.

The K stands for knowledge. It is rooted in the specific industry, product or customers that you’re calling on. Gaining masterful knowledge increases your confidence in the product, the brand and your company. However, be careful not to rely so much on showing your product knowledge that your buyer’s eyes glaze over and you forget to connect with the buyer’s heart.

Finally, the G in E2KG stands for growth. Growth mentality is the wild card in the formula. It’s what separates the average from the good and the good from the great salesperson. It’s an intangible asset that means the salesperson is always looking for ways to help the buyers grow their businesses, and find solutions to their problems.

The higher your E2KG, the higher your confidence will be, and the higher the buyer’s trust will be.
If you feel you’re in a selling rut, adopting the above three mindsets will go a long way toward bringing the excitement back into your profession.

Dan Stiff is president of Leadership Performance Development, Inc. (, a training and consulting company specializing in sales, leadership and organizational development. His book is Sell the Brand First: How to Sell Your Brand and Create Lasting Customer Loyalty (McGraw-Hill). 

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