A senior-tenured sales representative leaving is the worst thing for a sales manager.
Companies realize that sales managers are the number one reason salespeople leave. It takes time for a sales rep to decide to leave your company. Salespeople become disengaged if they don’t get enough coaching and receive little feedback other than negative. They begin to question if there is a better way.
These are five ways sales managers can prevent their sales reps from leaving.
1. Adopt a teaching mindset
How can you do this? It’s easy: just do it. You will be able to coach at least one rep each day, starting from now, before lunch. Make it a priority now and get started! Limit your time spent on email to make it easier for coaching. Better yet, wait until you have coached someone before looking at your email.
2. Provide better feedback
There is nothing more damaging to a relationship than making vague generalizations or judgments during a one on one conversation. Make sure you are specific with your comments. You should be clear if a salesperson doesn’t update CRM on a daily basis. This is something you should tell him/her, not something like “You don’t support company management.” You will be a better coach if you stick to the facts.
Effective coaching conversations are based on what you have actually seen, not generalizations. You can make general statements that are judgmental, and people will be defensive.
3. Your new hires should be instructed to ask for your coaching whenever they are in need
You want to increase the salesperson’s development, so you need more coaching opportunities. Don’t limit your coaching to when you feel the need. Your salespeople and new hires should learn to be open to asking for coaching when they have questions or need help analyzing their strategies.
4. Your “B” players!
Consider a salesperson that you would consider a solid “B” player on your team. Do you recall the last time you gave this rep one-on-one coaching?
Although your B players possess the skills and energy to sell enough, many sales managers don’t view them as performance problems. It’s possible that you don’t work as closely with them as the lowest performers (who have the most support) or the best performers (who have the most significant sales opportunities). However, B players can be disengaged from coaching and development if they aren’t given it. It’s not good.
5. Your admin staff should be careful with the information they share with callers.
Here’s how a headhunter/recruiter got the names of top salespeople in my office:
He called my receptionist, and he said to her: “I’m an attorney downtown. One of your salespeople was here a few months ago to show me your copier. Now I believe we are ready to do something. The problem is that I lost the card of your salesperson and cannot remember his name. However, I do remember that he said to me that he was your #1 producing rep. Are you familiar with this person?
Receptionist: “Does Ed Jones sound familiar?”
Recruiter: It doesn’t. Maybe the person you met with was your #2 representative.
We made sure that we shared the above story with every new receptionist who started working for us, which is typical for many businesses, and stressed the importance of keeping sales information secret.