There are four primary reasons a good salesperson, who is producing at high levels at a company, will choose to leave that company. Surprisingly, the top reasons are not about money.
Top Reasons a Good Sales Person Will Leave A Company
- Lack of feeling that the company “cares” for them
- Lack of personal or intangible satisfaction and reward
- Lack of a defined or desirable career path and future
- Lack of sufficient or desirable income
Let us look at each of these areas and see how to prevent the problem.
1 – Lack of feeling
that the company “cares” for them
The number one reason a salesperson will leave your company is that deep down, they feel as if you and the company do not really care about them. They feel as if the company just cares about making money and could care less for their health and welfare. How do you make them feel like you really care for them? Simple:
Really care for them!
As the sales manager, you should take the success of your salespeople personally. Your sales team should know that you would face upper management, the government, the competition, or anyone else, to defend them and help them succeed. Your sales team should believe that you put their success above your own.
And you should because when they succeed you succeed. You have to be the captain who goes into battle in front of the troops leading them. When your sales team knows that you will take a proverbial bullet for their sake, you will never have to worry about retaining good salespeople. Again, the answer for making salespeople believe that you care for them is to really do it.
2- Lack of personal
or intangible satisfaction and reward – In this, I am referring to the things that make the salesperson feel good about himself or herself and what they do. Most salespeople or their management may not even realize this, but this is a critical area of needs fulfillment. Everybody has to “feel” good about themselves. The job has to give you some heightened level of self-esteem, especially in the business of sales.
Remember a salesperson is already thought of in many circles as a charlatan or a con artist. There are many slang terms and pejorative labels that are often automatically attached to a salesperson in the eyes of many consumers. Public trust becomes a big issue in the life of a professional salesperson and with that public trust, comes personal trust.
A salesperson must be made to “feel” as if they perform an honorable and trustworthy function in society. The problem is that when this atmosphere is not present for the salesperson it does not materialize in a recognizable fashion. In other words, the salesperson does not go up to the management team and say, “You know, I don’t feel important or like I am performing an honorable job function…”
No. In fact, the salesperson will rarely understand exactly what is making him or she feel less than enthusiastic about the job. This problem will manifest itself in a number of symptoms that often seem unrelated:
- a. A lack of enthusiasm
- b. An erratic closing average
- c. A feeling of being overworked
- d. A feeling of repetitiveness
- e. Erratic work ethic and increased time off
- f. Forgetting the “basics” or taking “short-cuts”
- g. An overall attitude of, “I just don’t care…”
These are some signs that this salesperson does not “feel” important. Below are a few ways to help solve this problem:
Have a clearly defined company and departmental mission statement and vision statement that includes the wide-reaching effect of the product or service. (Look for Ask-The-Expert article “How to keep motivated”)
Continuously explain to the sales team the entire scope and importance of a sales person’s mission. For example, if you sell cars, a car sale does more than just satisfy the car buyer. A car sale helps the community, it helps the buyer’s family, it helps keep two dozen people employed at the dealership, it helps sell more petroleum, it helps the economy and more. Find the long-range effect of your product or service and help the salespeople understand their real importance.
Supply personal gratification in private and recognition in public. You should have regular private conversations with your salespeople, keeping in touch with their wishes and dreams and their problems. Learn how to “listen.” Seek out the salesperson’s personal goals and objectives in private.
Does she want to get married?
Have a baby?
Does he want to go back to college one day?
Does she want to get into management?
Does he want a new car?
So she and his family want to move to a bigger home
Take a personal interest in the life of your salespeople. They will tell you what is on their minds—listen.
Make compliments and uplifting statements in public. Recognition for hard work and a job well done is critical to a salesperson’s mental health.
Ask the salesperson to teach the newer salespeople. This is a powerful management tool that solves many potential problems.
When you have a seasoned salesperson who is beginning to lose the enthusiasm for the sales process as things begin to become routine, have that salesperson help you in teaching a sales training class or having newer salespeople watch them. Promote the salesperson as a “long-time expert,” to the newer salespeople and charge the veteran salesperson with helping to train the new recruits. Find a way to add a bonus or override income for the salesperson and this will help him or she begins to refocus.
3 – Lack of a defined
or desirable career path and future – This is simple but often overlooked. Make sure you know exactly where your salespeople want to go in their careers and in life. Make sure that your company has incremental steps of promotion. Often a sales company will have two positions:
- New Sales Person or rookie or probationary period
- Sales Person
- Some offer a few additional steps like
- Sr. Sales Person
It is important that you have a number of “steps” that a salesperson will have something to work for all the time. Also, make sure that your company’s goals match with the salesperson’s. Often you will have salespeople who view the company as a means to a NEW BEGINNING and not as a means to an end.
This is fine, as long as you know what they want. For instance, you may have a salesperson whose goal is to earn enough money to start a bridal shop. Fine. But when you know this, you know how to help motivate this person.
4 – Lack of sufficient
or desirable income – Your salespeople should be the highest-paid in your industry. How do you do this? You hold your sales team to the highest standards of excellence in the industry. You hold your sales team to the highest levels of accomplishment in and customer satisfaction in the industry.
How can you do that? You hold your company to the highest level of product or service in the industry. So often a company will think that they can provide the best service yet pay their salespeople the least. This does not and will not ever work.
Many companies pay their people just barely enough to keep them from quitting. In return, most employees work barely enough to keep from being fired. No. Pay your people the most you can pay them and hold them to the highest standards.
When it comes to retaining good salespeople the old adage is key: The more you help other people get what they want, the more you will get what you want.