It’s a shame, but the sales industry is known for having a massive staff turnover. Sales managers typically invest time, money and energy to attract the highest possible level candidate. However, hiring good salespeople is only half the battle.
If you attracted 100 of the best salespeople in the world every 3 months, none of which stayed long enough to build a client base and properly understand your products and sector, it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference to your income.
Staff retention is the real issue. Here are some easily-overlooked considerations paramount to growing a team for the long-game.
1. You Think Your Staff Works for the Company.
Contrary to popular belief, not one of your staff members works for your company. They work for you. They work for their line managers, company directors and seniors in general. Maybe that subheading caught your attention and now makes a little more sense, but here’s a key takeaway from the statement.
The key to retaining your staff long term is to focus on building relationships.
This doesn’t mean becoming everybody’s best friend; on the contrary, any good manager knows that’s not ideal. The problem is that for many managers, it’s much easier to point the finger at others than it is to look inward at the company or even themselves.
I remember when I was younger, one of my first great mentors was a guy named Rob. We were doing door-to-door sales and he wanted me to knock on 40 doors per day. This guy? He had my back. He showed me the ropes and taught me well. I knocked on those 40 doors per day not because he told me to, but because I wanted to make him look good. He was my mentor and he had my respect.
2. You Offer the Wrong Kind of Incentives.
A lot of people focus on material benefits, such as competition prizes, nice offices and better comp plans. These components definitely play a part, but why are so many people who use them still losing staff?
Tricking out Your Office
Everybody appreciates coming into a nice office in the morning. The so-called “Google environment” full of relaxation areas, fridges stocked with smoothies and a foosball table in the corner can definitely improve overall happiness of your staff. But these novelties will only last so long.
You can have the nicest environment in the world, but if the boss is walking around being a jerk putting people down all time and who fails to provide inspiration, it’s only a matter of time before you’re receiving letters of notice.
Offering Better Compensation
Again, contrary to popular belief, offering people more money is not going to solve problems created by having an obnoxious boss who shouts unnecessarily at everyone and destroys motivation. If your staff are put off by constantly being put down, it’s only a matter of time before the big paychecks are outweighed by their low moral.
3. You Don’t Focus on the Leadership Wow Factor
So, if people don’t work for companies (but rather other people), a nice environment and even a boost in income only last so long, what it really boils down to is the relationships.
What your potential staff are looking for in an interview (and in the long term) is someone who impresses them. Good salespeople are looking to learn from impressive industry leaders. That’s how they got good in the first place! The hard-hitting sales folk know their value and they’ll be interviewing around your competition, too. If your nemesis company directors or their sales managers impress them with the ‘wow factor’ more than you do, a little extra money isn’t going to win them over.
Work towards providing staff with the leadership beacon of light which we all secretly desire. Consider public speaking classes to become a more confident and effective communicator, continually develop yourself in constant education and generally project yourself as the impressive entrepreneur and company director that you are. Inspire your team and watch it grow alongside the company’s income.