When I hear the word, “slump,” I think of two things: baseball and sales.

Here in July, we’re right in the middle of baseball season, and some hitters are finding themselves in a slump. Every time they step up to the plate, they strike out, fly out to left or ground out to short. It’s frustrating for a ball player to watch his batting average plummet despite trying everything he can think of to get out of a hitting slump.

Midsummer is also the time of year when many sales professionals find themselves in a slump. Prospects are on vacation and business just moves slower. Decisions take longer to make. But even though everyone seemingly has summer on their brains, you still have to meet your July and August goals.

Like you, I hate slumps, but as much as we try to avoid them, they sometimes happen.

I met with a client over coffee this week. She’s a respected sales professional and has amassed an impressive record over 20-plus years selling high-value products in a handful of different industries.

She told me she had been going through a mini sales slump this summer and had just shaken free of it.

“How did you beat it?” I asked.

As it turned out, she simply phoned her best friend, another long-time sales pro, and asked her for advice. They had an in-depth conversation. Friend-to-friend. Salesperson-to-salesperson. Two professionals helping each other be more successful. Two people who understand the challenges that come with selling goods and services for a living.

Actually, this phone conversation was really nothing new. These two sales pros have been helping each other for many years. They once worked for the same company but now they sell entirely different products. But what they sell really doesn’t matter. To one another they are counselors, coaches and friends.

You could call them “sales accountability partners.”

Any professional working in any industry can benefit for having an accountability partner. In sales, a profession that requires you to work independently under heavy competitive pressure, these trusted confidants are particularly valuable.

Sales accountability partners lift you up when you need it and call you on the carpet when you haven’t accomplished what you said you would. An effective sales accountability partner sometimes plays the role of the supportive friend and other times acts like a results-oriented boss.

Do you have a sales accountability partner?

If not, it would be worth your while to find someone who understands what you do for a living. Often the best sales accountability partners come from a different company or an entirely different industry segment. The key is to find a high-quality person who can help you while simultaneously profiting from your advice.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide. He has spoken in 6 countries and 41 states. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.