Sales Training Tip – Retaining Top Sales Performers

There are four primary reasons why a successful salesperson who is producing at a high level in a company may choose to leave. Surprisingly, the most frequently cited reasons are not financial in nature.

The Top Reasons a Successful Salesperson Leaves a Company

1. Lack of a sense that the company “cares” about them
2. Inadequate satisfaction and reward on a personal or intangible level
3. Absence of a clearly defined or desirable career path or future
4. Inadequate or undesirable income

Consider each of these areas and consider how to avoid the problem.

1 – Lack of a sense that their employer “cares” about them

The most common reason for a salesperson to leave your company is that they believe you and the company do not genuinely care about them. They believe the company is only concerned with profit and could care less about their health and welfare. How do you convey to them that you genuinely care about them? Simple: Show genuine concern for them!

As a sales manager, you should take pride in your salespeople’s success. Your sales team should understand that you will defend and assist them against upper management, the government, the competition, and anyone else. Your sales team should believe that you are more concerned with their success than with your own. And you should, because your success is contingent upon their success. You must be the captain who leads the troops into battle. When your sales team understands that you will take the proverbial bullet for them, you will never have to worry about retaining top performers. Again, the only way to convince salespeople that you care about them is to demonstrate that you do.

2- A lack of personal or intangible satisfaction and reward –

Here, I am referring to the things that make a salesperson feel good about themselves and their work. While the majority of salespeople and their management may be unaware, this is a critical area of need fulfillment. Each individual must “feel” good about themselves. The job must instill a sense of self-worth in you, particularly in the sales industry.

Bear in mind that a salesperson is already viewed as a charlatan or con artist in many circles. Numerous slang terms and derogatory labels are frequently automatically associated with a salesperson in the minds of many consumers. In the life of a professional salesperson, public trust becomes paramount, and with that public trust comes personal trust.

A salesperson must be made to “feel” as if they serve society in an honorable and trustworthy capacity. The issue is that when this environment is not present for the salesperson, it does not manifest in a discernible manner. In other words, the salesperson does not approach management and say, “You know, I do not feel important or as if I am performing an honorable job function…”

No. Indeed, the salesperson will rarely understand precisely why he or she is feeling unenthusiastic about the job. This issue will manifest itself through a variety of symptoms that frequently appear unrelated:

a. A lack of zeal

b. An erratic closing average
c. A sense of overwork

d. A sense of repetition

e. An erratic work ethic and increased time off

f. Forgetting “basics” or taking “shortcuts” g. An overall attitude of “I just do not care…”

These are just a few indicators that this salesperson does not “feel” significant. The following are a few suggestions for resolving this issue:

Have a clearly defined company and departmental mission and vision statements that include the product’s or service’s broad impact. (Seek out the Ask-The-Expert article titled “How to Stay Motivated”).

Consistently communicate to the sales team the full scope and significance of a salesperson’s mission. For instance, if you sell automobiles, a car sale accomplishes more than simply satisfying the car buyer. A car sale benefits the community, the buyer’s family, the dealership’s two dozen employees, the economy, and more. Determine the long-term impact of your product or service and assist salespeople in appreciating its true significance.

Provide private gratification and public recognition. You should have regular private conversations with your salespeople, in order to stay informed of their wishes, dreams, and concerns. Develop the ability to “listen.” In private, inquire about the salesperson’s personal goals and objectives.

Does she wish to marry?
Are you expecting a child?
Is he considering returning to college at some point?
Is she pursuing a career in management?
Is he in the market for a new vehicle?
Does she and his family wish to relocate? Etc.

Take an interest in the personal lives of your salespeople. They will communicate to you what is on their minds—pay attention.

Make public compliments and affirmations. Recognizing a salesperson’s efforts and a job well done is critical to their mental health.

Request that the more experienced salesperson teach the newer salespeople. This is a highly effective management tool that resolves a wide variety of potential issues. When a seasoned salesperson begins to lose enthusiasm for the sales process as it becomes routine, enlist that salesperson’s assistance in teaching a sales training class or in supervising newer salespeople. To the newer salespeople, promote the veteran salesperson as a “long-time expert,” and assign the veteran salesperson the responsibility of assisting in the training of the new recruits. Find a way to increase the salesperson’s bonus or override income; this will assist him or her in refocusing.

3 – A lack of a clearly defined or desirable career path and future –

This is a straightforward but frequently overlooked issue. Ascertain that you understand your salespeople’s career and life goals. Ascertain that your company’s promotion is progressive. Frequently, a sales organization will have two positions:

1. New Sales Representative, rookie, or probationary period
2. Salesperson

Some include a few additional steps, such as

3. Senior Sales Representative 4. Manager

It is critical to have a sufficient number of “steps” so that a salesperson has something to work toward at all times. Additionally, ensure that your company’s objectives align with those of the salesperson. Often, salespeople view the company as a means to a NEW BEGINNING, rather than as an end in itself. This is acceptable as long as you are aware of their objectives. For example, you may have a salesperson whose objective is to earn enough money to open a bridal boutique. Fine. However, once you are aware of this, you can assist in motivating this individual.

4 – Inadequate or unsatisfactory income –

Your salespeople should earn the highest wages in your industry. How do you accomplish this? You hold your sales team to the industry’s highest standards of excellence. You hold your sales team to the industry’s highest standards of achievement and customer satisfaction.

How are you going to do that? You hold your company to the industry’s highest standard of product or service. Often, a business will believe that it can provide the best service while paying the lowest wages to its salespeople. This is not, and will never be, effective. Numerous businesses pay their employees just enough to keep them from quitting. In exchange, the majority of employees work just enough to avoid being fired. No. Pay your staff the maximum amount possible and hold them to the highest standards.

When it comes to retaining good salespeople, the old adage holds true: the more you assist others in achieving their goals, the more you will achieve your own.

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