Keeping Your Top Performers
Keeping Your Top Performers
Pat owns a small distribution company. She sells and services industrial equipment in a highly competitive market. Her company has been very successful. Last week however, her best salesperson quit. Greener pastures elsewhere. Pat is beyond frustrated.
“What did I do wrong?” she wanted to know. She let him do his own thing. She never harassed, or tried to micro managed him. He seemed happy and now he’s gone. How did that happen? Her company has 6 salespeople. She manages them all. In addition she does everything else required to run the company.
A couple of the salespeople are relatively new and need training and direction. Another one is high maintenance and takes up too much of Pat’s time. Two others are doing OK. Not great, but OK. Bob, the guy who quit, seemed to be self-sufficient. He sold more than the other 5 combined. He didn’t need any hand holding.
Therein lies the problem. Pat was busy all the time. Too busy to worry about her top performer. Her theory was, “If it doesn’t seem to be broke, don’t fix it.” That came back to bite her in the butt. People need to feel appreciated. Even an occasional “thank you” goes a long way. It’s too easy for somebody in Pat’s situation to get sucked into the drama of needy people, or to spend all their time on underperforming salespeople. She wasn’t spending any time at all with the individual who was bringing in more than half of her revenue.
William Belk, http://www.rocketfueledpeople.com says that 68% of high performing employees are contacted about new job opportunities every month. 24% are contacted every week. Good employees are tough to find. Top performers are in very high demand. It’s far better to hold on to them than to have to replace them.
What can the owners of small companies do to retain their top employees? Plenty as it turns out. You may not always be able to compete with the money offered, or the benefit packages of some large corporations. You can however, get creative with profit sharing and commissions. In addition, most people don’t change jobs just for the money or the benefits. They leave because they don’t feel appreciated.
Bob quit because he felt that he was being taken advantage of. He felt like one of the fixtures in the office. The owner didn’t seem to know he existed. It wasn’t really true but, it was his perception and so he left.
- Sales management is a full time job. It can’t be done part time, especially not with 6 salespeople. Pat needs a sales manager.
- Pay attention to all your people … not just the high maintenance ones. Talk to them on a regular basis and find out what’s going on with them. Show them some appreciation. Nurture, nurture, nurture. That way you reduce the risk of losing the good ones.
Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors sales managers and sales professionals. To learn more about his services please go to http://www.clevelstrategic.com