3 Steps to Escaping a Sales Rut


By Todd Duncan

How long have you been waiting for results? A month? A year? Ten years? If your sales are stuck, there is a fundamental idea you should grasp. Your sales are not in a rut. You are in a rut. You need a paradigm shift.

Matthew Pruitt was new to the mortgage business after working in a restaurant as a waiter.  He was trying to help real estate agents get their buyers financing for homes. He was stuck in a rut. When Matthew was pushed to “get naked,” to be vulnerable and authentic he shared what he thought was keeping him stuck.

“I’m afraid to call on the really big clients because I don’t have a nice suit,” he said. “I want to get a custom suit made, but I need to lose 15 pounds first. I don’t want to order my suit until I slim down.”

What was so important about a custom made suit?  “I would feel better about myself,” he said. “I’d make sales calls with more confidence and call on bigger and better prospects.”

When asked how long he had been waiting to lose weight, he said, “Two years.”

For two years, Matthew had been selling hard and getting nowhere. He had been delaying his own success. His fundamental belief that a suit would make all the difference—and that the suit was impossible without the weight loss—was keeping him stuck.

Matthew had it backwards. Imagine that he’d bought that custom made suit two years earlier. What would have happened? He would have felt better about himself and, with that increased confidence, made better sales calls on bigger prospects. His improved self-image would have led to weight loss, and he could have bought a second suit!

When this thinking was laid out for Matthew, a switch flipped inside him that changed his life forever. He experienced a paradigm shift.

On Monday morning, Matthew immediately began calling on big prospects. He then called a tailor and ordered a custom suit. Matthew lost 15 pounds, and by the time the custom suit arrived he had increased his income to $20,000 a month, an increase of 400% in 120 days.

Matthew thought the suit would have some magical power that would help him close more sales, but like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, he really had the power all along. The fear that he wasn’t enough all by himself vanished, and he decided to stop waiting for his results.

How many times in life are we our own worst enemies? We give our power away to a certain object we don’t know if we’ll ever obtain or to some future event beyond our control. Within each of us is a Matthew Pruitt. We all have a gear we haven’t activated that has the ability to propel our success to a different galaxy.

Whatever you sell, whatever business you are in, whatever opportunities exist in your genre, if you make three decisions, you will get the same kind of results that Matthew did.

Decision No. 1: Define Your Belief

Most salespeople need a shift in their belief paradigm. Don’t be afraid of the gap between your dreams and your reality. You do, however, need to define that gap. Here are the two questions that Matthew was asked that really got him thinking about what he believed:

1. “What are you doing with your one and only life?”

Nothing changes until you do something differently. Where do you need a small or large victory that will help you achieve a paradigm shift? For Matthew, it was calling on the bigger prospects without his new suit. Once you identify your difference maker, commit to preparing and executing on that goal as soon as possible.

2. “By when?”

When you pick a date, you will have the discipline to drive to your destiny. After his initial success, Matthew assigned a “by when” to each of his goals. Then he developed daily non-negotiable actions that brought him closer to that goal. If you orient your actions around your “Dream Dates,” you will have real power.

Decision No. 2: Focus on What’s Important

Accelerating your sales success isn’t about doing more of a lot of things. Rather, it’s about focusing on a few of the right things. Focus is the gateway to productivity. It always precedes success.
Matthew focused in on several key changes:

  • He cut his primary client base by 75 percent and tripled his time and focus on the remaining 25 percent. This increased his volume by 75 percent.
  • He cut his regular tasks by 60 percent and delegated them to a new assistant. As a result he had 60 percent more time to sell.
  • He got out of bed an hour early five days a week. Over a period of four months, he immersed himself in learning his trade. Those 60 hours of focused learning have helped him quadruple his income.

Decision No. 3: Follow Up

This is one of the most important decisions you must make if you want to accelerate your success.

A key thought is if you don’t follow up with them, they won’t follow through with you. Most loan officers stink at following up, and that included Matthew. Now he devotes two hours a day to following up with new leads, contacting existing leads that haven’t converted to sales, and corresponding with existing clients to get more orders and referrals. The fortune really is in the follow up.

Yesterday, Matthew texted me and here’s what he said, “I made $37,000 serving tables in 2011. In March of 2015 I made $40,000”. Boom! Switch flipped!

comments powered by Disqus