Sometimes, a slump can be a good thing since it pushes us to be more inventive and creative. It forces you to explore other lead sources, other places or methods, that you have not been in before. In this episode, host Ken Courtright explains what happens and what we should do when we encounter a sales slump.
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This is episode 99 and we’re talking about Slumping Sales. What happens when sales are not only down, you’re in a physical slump? I’m going to hit this from a couple of different angles. The first one is obvious but if you look at professional baseball players, they make it to the hall of fame when they hit 300. That means 3 out of every 10 times they come up to the plate, they safely reach first base. Seven out of ten, they either strikeout, ground out, pop out, but they fail 7 out of 10 times. They get into the hall of fame if 3 out of 10 times they hit the ball.
A slump to a baseball player is simply the statistical chance, since you have a 70% chance of making it out, it’s the statistical chance of a lot of those outs stacking up. When they grind through and then they start hitting the ball, it’s not ironic, it’s not an accident that they get into the opposite of a slump, which they get into a hot streak. It’s the same thing as if you’re playing roulette and you got a 30% chance of the first third of the board, 1 through 12, you’ve got about 1/3 chance of that. There are 36 numbers plus 1 or 2 green ones. Conceptually, we’ve got to look at business the same way.
If you’re slumping, before you were in a slump, what were your numbers? Were you closing 1 out of 10 that hits your website? One out of ten presentations you did live, 1 out of 3, 1 out of 2, what were your numbers? The first thing you have to understand is business still involves numbers. You’re a human being. You have a ratio of success, unless you’re closing ratio is better than 50%, the statistical chances say you’re going to have a slump. However, I’ve been slumping for many years. My first presentation was March of 1992 and I’ve gotten through, without exaggerating, 20 to 30 slumps, some of them incredibly severe. I can speak to slumping sales pretty good.The best things happen to a company during a slump. Click To Tweet
I’m going to hit this from a couple of different angles. Some of the nuggets I’m going to pull are right out of episode 66. If you’re more of a left-brain, you like the stats. You like the mechanical ways of getting out of a slump. Episode 66 has a lot of great meat on the bone. The whole 65 through 72, those episodes were built for the left brain person that knows their company either needs hyper-growth or they’re in a slump. It gives them mathematical, statistical, logical steps of how to do what types of marketing in what situations. You might want to jump on that. Let’s cover the first one. To start with, often I have found the best things happen to my company during a slump.
A lot of people have come to me over the years and said, “I cannot believe I’m about to say this but had we not been in that slump, we would have not started doing radio or we would have not partnered with that JV guy.” The concept of necessity often is the mother of all invention. The first thing that a slump does, and it does two things for sure. Number one, it exposes gaps in your business model. Every business model has gaps or blind spots. As growth happens, new gaps open up. The second thing is slumps force exploration. Slumps force us to look at different things and go into the woods a little bit and go into areas we’ve never been before. It leads us to where our company is supposed to be.
Often the saying during and after a slump is, “We were once lost and now we’re found.” Let’s get back to the gaps a little bit. It’s during a slump that most companies realize they are relying on 1 or 2 specific lead sources or methods of prospecting, meaning you don’t often think about it. Let’s say you have six lead sources and maybe one of the sources only gives you a lead once a year. You could claim pay-per-click or Google, Facebook ads, Meetups, radio, flyers, direct mail or even email gives you a trickle of leads once in a while. Most people, most companies, even the biggest in the world, rely on 1 or 2 primary lead sources and gaps are there all the time. Slumps happen when you realize that one lead source or those two lead sources, they’re not enough.
Let’s go back to forced exploration. When you’re in a slump, you have no choice. You have to explore other lead sources. We got out of a slump, it sounds crazy to say that because we doubled before but we also tripled our expenses, we better double or triple our gross revenues. We were forced into areas we had not been in a long time and forced exploration led us into growing our business even more so through new methods. I can’t say new, we’ve done them before, but we’re forced to go back into exploring those older lead sources again. Almost every time we thought through something sales, we came out with new partnerships. Honestly, those new partnerships and I’m even including this new radio stint we’re doing as a partnership and it’s going to be long-term.
I am incredibly grateful that we were in a slump because does that radio work for us. I want to talk a little bit about why do people and why do companies get into sales slumps. I don’t mean from a statistical standpoint like a baseball player. This is going to sound weird, but you wanted that slump. You wanted to be in that slump. There is no question the slump we were in the past. I wanted to be there. I mean that by saying, every decision we made, 6 and 12 months prior to that of how we wanted to do our marketing, I wanted to do Facebook ads. I wanted to do search engine optimization again to get more leads from franchising. I wanted to do Google’s pay-per-click again.
All of those things that I wanted to do 6 to 12 months prior to May and June led to that eight weeks slump. I’m hoping everybody understands, you’re making decisions in the last 6 to 12 months that you wanted to do at that time. They were logical things that you wanted to do at that time, so you chose that. You want to do those things in the last twelve months. You could say that the slump you’re in is because you wanted to be there. All I’m saying is it’s a subtle mindset shift that you can say, “I want to add 2 to 3 to 4 lead sources in the next six months.” The reason I add more than one, what if it doesn’t work? Why don’t you add 2, 3, and 4? We’re still on why are you slumping.Necessity is often the mother of all invention. Click To Tweet
Long-term, let’s go back to my chain of video stores in the late ‘90s. We were in a nineteen-month slump. It had nothing to do with me not trying different lead sources. I tried everything. We were renting VHS tapes. Here’s the deal, do we know anybody renting VHS tapes now? No. Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are gone. All the big chains are gone. The industry shifted. Is the slump you’re in a sustained slump? Is your industry quicksand? Are you standing on quicksand? Is it inevitable that the product you’re moving isn’t being moved? Have you stopped to take a look at the mathematical logical answers to that? We’re going to pretend that we understand why we’re in a slump.
What do we do? The first thing we have to understand is necessity is the mother of all invention. Almost every breakthrough comes because the breakthrough must happen. Sometimes the slump you’re in is the greatest thing that ever happened because it is going to lead you to invent something. What do we do? Number one, if you have not heard episode 66, I’m going to urge you to go back to 64 and especially 65 first, maybe even 63, it depends on the time you have. Please read them before 66, but 66 is going to mechanically equip you to get through a slump. I can assure you of that. Almost every time we’ve broken through a sales slump, it was due to adding something that was related to what’s in episode 66.
Personally, our last two sales slumps, we came through because I tried Facebook’s new lead form and I went back into radio aggressively. I did it with new ads. It looks like we might get some long-term benefit of that. Here’s a question for you, what would happen if you begin doing shock-and-awe boxes? What would happen if you begin personally emailing twenty people from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, twenty days in a row? That’s emailing 400 people individually about your product or service. You could be done with that in twenty days. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes. Is it the right thing to do?
I was with Dan Fleyshman. He’s the young man that resurrected the hoverboard and did about $7 million in seven weeks. He runs Victory Poker. He owns 27 companies. I had some time with Dan. I watched as Dan Fleyshman was inviting 700 people one by one via text to his big birthday party/ fundraiser. Seven hundred people individually got an invite from Dan Fleyshman who owns 27 companies at 31 years old. What would happen if you emailed twenty people? He did all that in three days. He did not sleep for three days personally inviting.
What would happen if you sucked it up and you emailed twenty people individually from 7:00 to 9:00 PM for twenty days? What if you called fifteen people at 8:00 in the morning twenty days in a row? That would be 300 people that you reached in twenty days. What if you wrote a book? What if you started doing fifteen meetups in the next 30 days? What if you started a podcast? Here’s a promise I have for you, if you stay in business, if you’re in a slump, it will not be your last sales slump. Here’s why I know this. As your business grows, your expenses are going to grow also. There’s going to come times where your expenses outraise your sales. Even though your sales are still growing, it is going to look like you’re slumping.
A few years ago, we had 31 employees, eventually, we had 95. We grew year to year, but it looked like we were in a terrible sale slump because we were. In relation to our expenses, we were slumping. As expenses grow, our sales must outgrow them. Our slumps come and go. Here’s what I’m here to promise you. If you’re in business, you’re going to slump in the next year. There’s no question. How do we fix this long-term? There is a long-term solution and it comes from a question. The solution to slumping is simply by you answering this question every time you’re in a slump, “When is the last time I did something for the first time?” If you’re in a slump, ask yourself, “When is the last time I did something for the first time?” What are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to try a new marketing method.Slumps force exploration. They force us to look to different things. Click To Tweet
Remember many podcasts ago when I mentioned that in 1955, 429 or 439 of the Fortune 500 companies are gone from 1955, yet the product they used to sell and the industry they were in is still there. The biggest companies in the world are gone, yet their products and their industry are still there. Other companies survived, why didn’t they? I would be willing to bet you that 90% of them got used to marketing their one thing the same way. They got so in the rut of doing it the same way and doing more of it. That doesn’t work. We have adapted as a species. There’s this thing called the web. The world has gone to the web. Millennials have the web run their life. The Millennials will be the new baby boomers someday. We better adapt or die. You don’t want to be in the buggy whip business. The buggy whip industry made mega-millionaires 100, 200 years ago, not anymore. They’re gone. When is the last time you did something for the first time? I hope this helps, take care.