Learn Why Good Sales People Leave
A lot of good sales professionals I have met tend to jump from RV dealership to RV dealership and a lot of dealerships wonder why good sales people leave. I have been in sales since I was young enough to work and I have met all kinds of sales people. I have met exceptional sales people who are making a boat load of money and I have met complacent sales people who are comfy where they are at.
The problem you will see at a lot of dealerships (and for businesses) is the good salesmen will leave while the mediocre salesmen stay, but why is this?
I have come to learn that most of your good sales people are more entrepreneurial and they like to make money while doing what they want to do. They can get mad at one little commission change or they might just want something different and poof they’re gone and you’re left with a mediocre sales team.
After these sales people relocate, I have made it a habit to ask them why good sales people leave their previous dealerships and a lot of their reasons were the same.
- They feel they weren’t being used to their full potential
- Their company was trying to control them or cut their commissions
- They wanted to start their own venture
- They didn’t like upper management
These are just a few of the reasons I have heard over the years but the real question is, how do we get our good sales associates to stay?
Start Using Them To Their Full Potential
Most of your good sales people will be more entrepreneurial and driven and you have to keep them engaged with your business. Sometimes the lack of challenge for a sales person is part of the reason why they leave and really they just want to do more for the dealership.
When you see a sales person excelling and putting up numbers, see how you can get them more involved with the business. Whether this means getting their opinion on how your dealership can improve your sales process or how the dealership can help the sales associates sell more, ask for their opinion and keep them involved.
If you don’t keep them involved with the business they might start to look for other opportunities where they feel they can be used more. Remember good sales people aren’t with your company just because they want a job. They are with your company because they want to help you grow and you have to let them help you!
Pay Your Sales Team What They’re Worth
What happens to a lot of good sales people when they start to land bigger deals is a company will cut the commission on them and all sales people, not just the good ones, hate this.
Good sales people are hard to come by and a lot of them work hard to be good at what they do. When you start to mess with your sales teams commissions you will start to lose good sales people because they will take it as a slap in the face and they will leave your company on principle alone.
Dealerships and companies have a bad habit of not rewarding their sales team when they do a good job and it hurts the business.
When good sales people land big deals or are doing well make sure you reward them instead of punishing them. Instead of cutting commissions or lowering the pay scale when sales associates start to sell more units, give them a bonus or an extra day off. Things like this will make it so you don’t lose your good sales people and they will respect you more and work harder for you, which will increase sales in the long run.
Dealerships and companies have to remember that nothing happens without sales and when you have good sales people they’re worth keeping. Lowering sales commissions or pay scales might seem like a good way to increase your companies revenue for the short term but it is not. In the long term, the money you will lose for not being able to hold on to good sales people will out weigh the money you’re saving in cut commissions. Do yourself a favor and pay your sales team good!
Stop Trying To Control Your Sales Team
Some dealerships make the good sales people work longer, harder, and with unrealistic expectations to pick up the slack for the mediocre sales associates and again, they hate this. A lot of good sales people have a “work hard, play hard” mentality and when they land a big deal they might want to take a day off just because. Let them have their day off and don’t slam a bunch of work on their desk.
Giving them an extra day off or a bonus will reward them and show them that you respect their hard work and because of it you will see them land 100 more big deals. If you try to control them and look at them as your cash cow and you will see them landing big deals for other companies.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean all good sales people won’t want extra work. You have to know your sales people and understand the way they want to work. Some sales people will work hour after hour with no issues and actually love it while others need a day off and want to enjoy some of their hard work.
Know what kind of sales people you have and use this to your advantage. If you have to give a sales person an extra day off because they landed a big deal then have a good sales person on the team who don’t mind picking up the customers while they take a day off. The small act of learning your sales team and allowing them the freedom to live their life and make a good living with your dealership makes all the difference. Keep your employees happy and they’ll want to help you grow, try to control them and you’ll watch them leave time and time again.
Sometimes It’s Out Of Your Control
Good sales people usually come with more entrepreneurial blood and sometimes they want to do their own thing. The harsh reality is sometimes it’s out of our control and you have to respect this. Good sales people think that any company can prosper with a lot of sales and sometimes this makes them want to go out on their own. If you burn your bridge with these sales people because you’re mad they’re leaving your company then you’re making a mistake.
One thing sales people usually don’t understand about starting their own venture is its harder then just making sales. A lot goes into running a business and some sales people are good at selling but bad at managing and sometimes they have to learn this on their own.
If a good sales person is leaving to start their own venture you should inform them of these hardships and ask them if there is anything you can offer them to stay, because as I have said before sometimes they just want a bigger challenge. After you talk with your sales person and if they still want to try their own venture then you have to respectfully cut ties with them and tell them if it doesn’t work out they can come back. Doing this will build their respect for you and if their venture doesn’t work out they will come back to your dealership and work harder for you than ever.
As Richard Branson has been quoted saying, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Have Leaders In Management And Not Busters
Being in the Army for 7+ years taught me a lot about leadership, and one of the biggest things you have to understand is leading by example. Good sales people, for the most part can get a job anywhere they want and they don’t choose to work for your dealership simply to make money. When your sales people start to lose respect for their upper management and don’t want to work for them you have a big problem. Having upper management that don’t know how to lead a sales team can cost your dealership a lot of money.
Interview your sales team every so often to make sure the team cohesion and morale stays high. Make sure they want to work for their upper management and that they respect them. Ask questions to find out if they’re learning and training with their upper management on a daily/weekly basis because training with your team is a great way to build team cohesion and chemistry.
You have to put leaders in management that are going to train and push your sales team to grow in a healthy way. Good leaders have a way of pushing people without making them mad. They have a way of getting people excited to work for them and sales people always strive to get better when they have a leader they look up to and respect.
Address The Management Issues
As an owner, when sales people leave your dealership you should personally talk to them and find out why they left. If upper management is the common denominator for your best sales people leaving your dealership then you hired a buster and not a leader and you have to fix this ASAP. When you take responsibility for your upper management and get rid of bad apples in the team your sales people will respect you. There are a lot of busters in management right now and they are costing your dealerships a lot of money.
Show your sales people you respect them and give them a leader they can respect and look up to. Put people in upper management that are willing to be in the trenches with your sales team and that will help them grow. When you build a strong team of people who work together and have good chemistry you will smash your goals time and time again.
Be a leader, not a buster!