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Retention is a Problem That Won't Go Away
What are the critical factors that contribute to the retention of top producing salespeople? Why are some sales managers able to consistently recruit and retain quality salespeople, while other managers have a revolving door? Excessive personnel turnover is not only unhealthy for the morale of a sales force, but it is also costly in terms of time and money. Perhaps less obvious, but just as detrimental, is the negative impact excessive turnover has on eroding customer confidence and loyalty.
A career in sales can be extremely lucrative for the person who is able to prospect effectively and willing to work hard. However, surveys indicate that compensation is just one piece in the career satisfaction puzzle. Salespeople make their decision to leave or stay with a company for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Retaining successful salespeople is not a secret recipe, but a formula that includes factors such as leadership, recruitment, training, and professional growth opportunities.
Salespeople Don't Quit Companies, They Leave Managers
A sales manager's career and income potential is inescapably intertwined with their ability to recruit, develop, and retain a top producing sales force. The most effective sales managers acknowledge the reality of personnel turnover and prudently plan for replacements. Only naïve or inexperienced managers are oblivious to their critical role in the equation of agent retention. Job exit surveys consistently indicate that job satisfaction is directly linked to the quality of the relationship they have with their sales manager. Award winning managers intuitively understand this important fact and as a result, treat their salespeople more as business partners than employees.
Progressive leaders choose to inspire and empower rather than direct and control their sales force. Recognizing that a strong relationship is indeed the key to their success, they lead by example, praise achievement, and strive to maintain open communications. Those managers who adopt and practice the principals of enlightened leadership find that their people understand what is expected of them and deliver.
Both Success and Failure Leave a Trail
During the selection process, it is imperative to check references and look for a history of job stability. In my opinion, there are two mandatory qualities any new hire should possess. The first quality I look for is loyalty. If a person is not loyal to their company, they are more likely to violate company policies and procedures. Disloyal employees are also the first to leave when the going gets tough. The second quality I look for is dependability. It makes absolutely no sense to invest huge amounts of emotional and financial capital training someone you can't depend on.
In his best selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey makes a strong case for the fundamental importance of training, or as he calls it, "sharpening the saw." Salespeople are often reluctant to take time away from their busy schedule for training and as a result, over time, become less productive. While established salespeople might not always ask for assistance, they frequently need help game planning appointments and appreciate their sales manager's involvement.
Recognition and Rewards
The key to staying one step ahead in these competitive times is recognizing that people are by far a company's most important asset!/P>
John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call 877 725-3750. Free Newsletter available on website.
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