I was getting pretty worried because my commission checks were getting smaller, I was really struggling and I realized that I was in my first sales slump.

I went to my sales manager and asked him what I should do.

He said, “you need to hunker down like a Missouri mule in a hail storm and ride it out.”

I said, “what does hunker down mean?”

He said, “hunker down means to dig in. You are probably in a slump because you aren’t prospecting enough and you need to dig in and prospect your way out of it.”

Then I asked him, “why is the mule from Missouri?” and he told me that he grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas City and that the mule was the state animal of Missouri. So, of course, the mule was from Missouri.

I said, “we live in California and I don’t know that much about hailstorms.” I asked him, “what is a hailstorm?” He said, “hail is when rain turns into ice and a hailstorm typically doesn’t last that long, maybe 5-15 minutes and then they are over.” He said, “just like a sales slump usually doesn’t last that long.”

He said, “you aren’t going to be like a mule and just ride out the hailstorm; what you need to do is hunker down and prospect your way out of your sales slump.”

So, I have had many sales slumps in my 36-year career; and, whenever I get in one, I tell myself, “Steve, you need to hunker down like a Missouri mule in a hailstorm and prospect your way out of it.”  Over time the self-talk got shortened to simply, “hunker down”. I also began to realize the words hunker down applied to a lot of other situations. When I was procrastinating something, I would say things like: Steve, hunker down and get that proposal written.  Steve, hunker down and build your list of prospects for this week. Steve, hunker down, pick up the phone and make some calls.  Steve, just hunker down and get it done.

What to do? Hunker down and dig in to whatever you need to get done. The time is now.