Sales Moves

by Jeffrey Gitomer

Published: November 10,2003

Why do salespeople leave their jobs? Why do salespeople not leave their jobs? Why are some salespeople “stuck” in their jobs?

All these questions — and more —will be answered in this week’s column. So, let’s start with this e-mail message I received recently:

Although I am the No. 1 sales professional at my company and I am making great money (for the town I live in), I am miserable. These may be classic complaints and they are simple. I am dissatisfied with the company’s treatment of customers. I am dissatisfied with the feeling that the sales team is the red-headed stepchild of the company.

I have seen your advice in this matter and have prospected for positions in my area to no avail. I am at the point that I am ready to walk away with no prospects of work, simply to get away and focus on getting new work and cutting my loses.

So what’s the conflict?

My family, I cannot let down my family and without the ability to bring in the bread, I am afraid I would let them down.

Please help.

Wow. That’s as real-world as a letter can get. And here’s the real world response: More people leave their jobs because they hate their boss, disrespect their boss and/or dislike their company practices than any other reasons including “more money.”

Lack of recognition and appreciation are way ahead of lack of money.

If you’re in a leadership position or seeking to become a leader, and things aren’t going your way, here’s what to do while you stay where you are, even if you’re planning to leave:

• Do things that make your people proud.

• Adopt policies and philosophies that make doing business with you a pleasure.

• Celebrate something once a week.

• Seek to help, not measure, who did what for who.

• Not your job? What’s your point? Do what’s best for your customer.

• Hold town meetings. Let your people state their opinions and answer

their concerns.

• Meet with your leaders and talk frankly. Do it. Have a list and the solutions you propose to fix the situation. You have nothing to lose but your job, and you’re leaving anyway.

And the biggest rule of them all:

• Treat fellow co-workers better than you treat customers.

These solution-oriented actions may actually change your situation for the better. May.

Here are a few personal rules as you make a transition:

Keep your attitude up: Rather than “this sucks,” make a plan for what can be done. If nothing can be done, or what can be done falls short of your ideals, make a plan to get out.

Keep your thoughts focused on doing your best while you’re there: Wherever you end up, always be able to say you did your best until the last minute of the last day of where you came from.

Keep your mind open to other possibilities: What would really like to do? Why aren’t you doing that anyway?

Stay away from pity parties: Odds are that if you’re dissatisfied with your job, so are others. Stay away from groaners, whiners and other assorted non-solution oriented people. They are a waste of your time and energy.

Note well: If you have a family, meet with them and get their ideas and their support. Your family wants the best for you. Talk to them. Get closer to the people you love in times of transition.

No risk, no reward? I say, no risk, no nothing. And if you want to risk going someplace else to follow your dreams, at least at a job where you like (love) what you do, you will have a happier disposition and a more creative mind.

Fear of the unknown is always greater than fear of the known.

There are no easy answers when you’re in the heat of the fire. Follow your heart, and your wallet will catch up.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail

salesman@gitomer.com.


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