Sales can be a rough gig.

The highs are great.

The lows are low.

In the current economy, nearly everyone is “in” sales.  The word “Sales” may not show up in your title but chances are good your work has a direct impact on it.

I do have “Sales” in my title.  So for me, when the phone calls slow down and the email activity starts to wane, I feel it settling in.

Restlessness.

The, “I’ve got to do something different now because I’m not as busy as yesterday, or last week, or last month, or <pick your timeframe>”.

And frankly that state of mind kind of drives me nuts.

Doubt creeps in.  Confidence wanes.  Fear stares back from mirror.  And I start asking myself if somebody added a hint of paralysis to my coffee instead of creamer even though I’ve drank it black all along.

Here are 5 possible options you can pursue when staring a sales lull right in the face:

1.  Start dialing.  If everyone has forgot your number it’s time to refresh their memory.  I’m not a huge fan of the “dialing for dollars” approach (make x number of cold calls to receive an x percent response), but I also can’t hide from the fact it has proven to be effective in certain industries.  Yet, for anyone in sales, warm calls are better than cold calls.  Examine your existing customer base and develop a list of contacts you haven’t touched in more than 6 months.

2.  Put Linkedin to work.  If you don’t have a Linkedin profile get one.  Examine that existing customer list a second time and send Linkedin requests to every contact you’ve ever done business with.  PS – You don’t have to be on their Christmas card list for them to qualify as a Linkedin “friend”.  Roster a list of complimentary products/services and find people on Linkedin who are using them.  Disclaimer:  Don’t kick off your initial correspondence to a new contact with a sales pitch.  Develop a relationship first and let them discover the benefits your possess by posting messages of value on a regular basis to your Linkedin profile.

3.  Reject paralysis.  Prolonged inactivity breeds paralysis.  At least for me.  Get a change of scenery.  Work from a different location.  Schedule a business lunch with a peer to gain some new perspective.

Sometimes over-hearing an adjacent conversation at a busy coffee shop is just what I need for a new blog post idea, email campaign, or new business strategy perspective.  Surround yourself with others who may be attempting to get out of the exact same rut!  Chances are you’ll leave refreshed.

4.  Give back.  What?  My sales are tanking and you want me to give back?  Yep.

Find a way to give back to the customer base, community, user group, or your general circle of business acquaintances.  This is hard to justify devoting time to when the only thing on your mind is “When is my next sales coming”?  From my experience I believe it is quite possible (almost likely) that your effort to share what you know for the benefit of others (with no strings attached) will come around someday to directly or indirectly impact your deal flow.  Plus it just feels good and gives you a break dialing for dollars!

5.  Introduce yourself to your new best friend: Marketing.  I’ve worked in organizations where the chasm between Sales and Marketing is Grand Canyon-ish.  That won’t help your sales numbers.  You either need to step across the chasm or learn how to market yourself.  Since having more tools in your tool belt will help keep your pants up, I’d suggest both.  You may even learn something new.

Everyone has a little “marketing” inside them.  Keep the focus off what “doesn’t work” and bring an idea to the table.  A hair-brained idea is always welcome to me.  And it just might work.

What do you do to break through times of a sales slow down?