Leaving for greener pastures? Do you know why? Are you sure they’re green?

Leaving for greener pastures? Do you know why? Are you sure they’re green?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Why do salespeople quit their job?

More money?
Better job opportunity?
Don’t like what they are doing?
Don’t like their boss?
Don’t like their corporate politics?
Don’t like how they’re being treated as a person?
Don’t feel the company is supporting them as a salesperson?
Just had their commissions cut?
Company going back on their word about paying or deal structure?
Not paid what they felt they were owed?
Just lost their best customer to the competition?

Answer: some or all of the above.

Salespeople seem to hopscotch jobs as moths flutter from one light bulb to the next, trying to find the brightest one. I don’t think the question is just, “reason for leaving.” I think it goes deeper. I think it’s “cause and effect,” and even deeper, “motive.” Motive being a short word for motivation.

This issue is further complicated by the fact that most people, when they do leave a job, won’t tell the boss their real reason for leaving. Oh, they give a stated reason like better opportunity, more money, but there’s always an underlying motive. An unspoken reason. Like, “I hate you.”

And then there’s the boss, who has to tell his other people why the salesperson quit. Standard reasons, better opportunity or more money.

It’s interesting to note that more than 74% of people who quit their job do so because of bad boss or bad company policies. Yet, no boss that I have ever spoken to ever told me: my best salesperson quit and it’s all my fault.

NOTE WELL: The departing salesperson will soon become the scapegoat for everything bad that’s ever happened in the history of the company within one week of their departure.

If you’re the boss, and you throw the person who quit under the bus and back up, it sends a message to every other person on the team that you’re going to do the same thing to them if they leave. Not a real boost to moral. If you’re the salesperson and you don’t have the guts to tell the boss the real reason why you’re leaving then you’re going to have to be willing to accept your fate with respect to the trashing that you’re going to take.

There’s no easy answers here. Some industries are more incestuous than others. Banking, personnel, accounting, and advertising seem to have an excessive amount of job hop scotching going on.

The subject is WHY are you quitting and what can you do to build your career, rather than having to start it over?

I get a minimum of ten requests a week from salespeople wanting to quit their job and asking for advice. What I tell them is what I’m going to tell you:

  1. List the real reasons that you dislike what you’re currently doing.
  2. Now, list the reasons that you like what you’re doing.
  3. Add a one sentence description to both the dislike and the like column to give yourself further insight as to “why.”
  4. Ask yourself which one of the bad things will be eliminated at the new job and which one of the good things will continue at the new job. This way you give yourself an evaluation before you enter your new position.
  5. Call people at the place you want to work or that you’ve just been hired to work at and find out what they like and dislike.
  6. Write down what you feel you gain (other than money) at your new position and ask yourself could you have gained the same thing at your old position?
    NOTE WELL: As you know, if you read my column, we’re about to get to the .5. You will not like the .5. The .5 will make you grimace but the .5 will show you the real reality of where you are and where you seek to grow.

6.5 Become the number one salesperson at your existing company, then quit. If you’re thinking about leaving your job and you are not the number one salesperson, it is likely that you will not be the number one salesperson at your next job, and it is even more likely that you will bring half your disgruntlement to your next job. If you stay at your present job until you become the number one salesperson no boss will be able to throw you under the bus, you leave a hero of the company, you leave with pride, you leave with self-respect, and you leave with the attitude of a winner, not a whiner.

See? I told you you’d hate it.

So here’s your opportunity: quit complaining, quit whining about your job or your circumstance, quit trashing other people to make yourself look good, and just dig in. If you really consider yourself great at sales, then attaining the number one position shouldn’t be much of a problem. Heck, you’re always bragging about how great you are, prove it!

There are rewards for being number one. People will be nicer to you in your company. You may even earn some degree of respect, your value in the marketplace will increase, you’ll have choices, genuine choices, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve done it for the right reasons, not the negative reasons.

BOSSES BEWARE: If your salespeople are leaving you at a rate of greater than 20% per year, look in the mirror. If you “can’t find any good people out there” let me give you a big clue; there’s plenty of good people out there, they’re just not working for you.

SALESPEOPLE BE AWARE: Your next boss may be no better than your previous boss. He or she just may be sweeter in the interview process than in the day to day battle. Your best tactical and strategic advantage is to arrive on the scene as the number one salesperson from your previous job rather than the number one whiner about your previous job.

If you do this you have set the stage for sales success. Your sales success.