6 Tips To Help You Retain Your Best Salespeople Paul Argueta cheapertokeepthem Motivational speaker

6 Tips on How to Retain Your Best Salespeople

6 Tips To Help You Retain Your Best Salespeople Paul Argueta cheapertokeepthem Motivational speaker


Working in the Sales Industry is one of the toughest jobs. Because of how challenging this profession is, finding and keeping talent is hard. It can feel like a vicious cycle to Human Resources or Management.  Salesperson turnover is a common and expensive problem that every industry faces.

The average turnover rate of salespeople in an organization is about 16%.  It definitely affects the company’s bottom line, but it also affects the morale of the salespeople on the front line.

Companies spend millions of dollars every year on strategies to attract and recruit some of the best salespeople in the world.  Allocating resources to retaining these salespeople would save money and result in more sales. Here are 6 tips on how to retain your best salespeople.

1. Hire the right People

Jim Collins coined the, “Getting the right people on the bus.” phrase. Have you ever heard it? It has since morphed into other corporate catch phrases, but the axiom still holds true. You have to hire the right person for the job.  I recently wrote an entry on hiring for attitude over skill and I stand behind it. Skill can be taught. Attitude cannot. If you hire a person with the right skill set, but the wrong attitude, it will wreak havoc within your organization the same way one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

There are professional floaters. Salespeople who float from company to company in search of their next salaried position. Some are polished and very difficult to catch. It will require calling on their references but it is worth it considering the cost of hiring, firing, and then on-boarding a new sales rep.  Making a few 5 to 10 minute calls with references can save you weeks or months of headaches down the road.

2. Instill A Purpose

If you tell a brick layer to start laying down bricks with no specific purpose or vision of what is being done, the brick layer will eventually quit from fatigue or boredom.  If you tell a brick layer that every brick they lay is for a wall that is going to insulate and protect their country, or to shelter their own family, the brick layer now has a sense of purpose.

Sales companies that only teach their agents to sell and churn out numbers will eventually be out of business.  If your salespeople have to sell widgets then make sure they understand the significance of each sale. Getting a paycheck is great, but the paycheck wont motivate a salesperson on a bad day or worse yet bad month.

Your organization has to sell, sell, and resell your vision. Contrary to what you might think, your troops can’t hear it enough. There’s a reason you are leave a Disney theme park Disney’d out. Everything there is branded with Disney so that you are sold, sold, and re-sold. Cups. Napkins. Shopping bags. Everything. You are immersed in it. You leave whistling or humming Disney songs. Your salespeople need that type of culture.

3. Offer Career Growth

You will lose 21% of your salespeople leave because of the lack of career growth.  This is not only limited to promotion opportunities. People get bored. Salespeople are no different.  It can be scary to hear that your top salesperson doesn’t feel motivated anymore especially when they are hitting their numbers.  This is usually a cry for help and a desire to develop new skills.

When we only emphasize hitting sales goals we forget that what really drives people. People want a sense of purpose and growth. If we don’t listen to our top performers they will find another organization that will. It pays to invest in the skill development of salespeople, as well as, promoting the opportunity to acquire additional skills by creating adequate promotion opportunities along the way.

4. People Are Starving For Recognition

Recognition is necessary in all industries, not only in sales. Every employee wants to feel like their work is appreciated and valued. It’s easy for superiors to have a “That’s what they’re getting paid to do right?” attitude, but that doesn’t foster a culture where people genuinely want to do more than they are asked for the betterment of the organization as a whole. Take care of the overachievers in your organization.

Recognition isn’t only bonuses, commissions, and salary increases. People crave things that have meaning. Monetary rewards are short lived-especially with sales professionals. Celebrating someone’s big and small victories with words and commendation is a meaningful way to make someone within the organization feel special. Do this publicly in front of others, especially their peers, and you earn brownie points. Wins should also be celebrated in the forms of company benefits and opportunities for personal growth.

5. Get Rid of the Boiler Room Mentality

Public perception of the professional salesperson is usually not good. Our profession has been referred to as sleazy, manipulative, and dishonest to name a few. Warranted or not, these stigmas exist and many start from within our own organizations. 

Sales horror stories detail struggles of overworked and over pressured sales agents to achieve regular hard pressed quotas, where they breakdown and struggle with poor mental & physical health. Rumors or not, it is our duty to eliminate these perceptions if we want to retain talent. To do this, we need to be just as concerned about the well being of our sales force as we are about the sales figures.

6. Start From Within

Any organization is only as good as it’s leadership. As such, it is important that you don’t only assign or require that your salespeople attend conferences to sharpen their skills, but that we lead the charge and do the same. You may not be in sales, but there are plenty of HR conferences or management seminars that you can attend virtually or in person. Just as children do as their parents do and not as they say, your sales force will do as you do. If there is a culture of consistent improvement everyone will follow. Nobody wants to stay in a group where their leaders slack off or where the leaders do not know how to empathize with their members. In the Sales industry, effective and empathetic leadership is important because of how saturated and competitive the nature of the business is. Therefore, it is necessary to produce sales managers that are equipped with the skills and knowledge to lead. Investing in good leadership that includes self improvement is also investing in your employees’ welfare.

Another common mistake that companies make when it comes to leadership is hiring new managers instead of nurturing one from the existing team itself. Newly-hired sales managers usually end up detached from the team because they lack the sense of empathy and the experience to cope up with how the team is running. If companies develop leaders from within the team, all the skills and experiences that newly-hired sales managers lack can easily be offered by these home-grown leaders.

I know firsthand what it’s like to invest time, money, and emotional resources into someone only to see them leave. It’s a part of the cycle, but the more you can minimize defection and increase retention, the better off your organization will be. These 6 tips I shared are probably not new to you, but they bare repeating and re-implementing regularly.


Ways to Handle Difficult Conversations with Your Salespeople

Ways to Handle Difficult Conversations with Your Salespeople


Managing people is not that easy. Managing salespeople can be even more of a challenge. There will be times where you will face some difficult conversations with one or more of your salespeople. Each member of your sales team has their own unique personality and attitude. It can cause clashes and poor sales performance if you don’t know how to handle their personality or how to deal with a difficult conversation with them. Not dealing with these situations can cause ill feelings to fester making it harder to motivate your sales team.

Sales Manager Role

As a Sales Manager, your goal is to create and maintain a sales team with great results but it requires a lot of adjustments, understanding, and patience. It is a good quality of a leader to know how to handle tough conversations with any team member. It is imperative if you really want to have a great salesforce team. You should not only focus on the member who gives you a lot of sales and immediately kick out those who are a burden on your team.

There are sales leaders that don’t know how to handle a difficult conversation with their salespeople. They focus on the low sales result of particular salespeople without identifying what causes their poor performance. The conflict can cause more dropped in sales and possible demotivation of the employee.

There are also some who become blinded by their top sales representative even if they have a bad attitude because they are trying to keep the sales coming and avoid conflicts. They will only realize at the end that ignoring such kind of behavior has a great impact on the team and even to the whole organization in the long run.

You as a leader should treat each of your salespeople fairly, motivate them during hard times and appreciate all their effort no matter how much is their contribution to the team’s total sales.

Types of Difficult Salespeople

It is also important that you know the different types of personalities of your people. This is a great way for you to know how to manage them. If you don’t recognize and understand their personality, it will just cause serious damage to the team performance.

1.The Narcissistic

This is the type of team member that has a very high sense of self-importance and can be manipulative. They feel that they are special and superior. They are too confident with their skills and may underestimate his or her teammates. Controlling and giving them advice can be tough because they think they know everything.

This can be hard to deal with but you can manage this by creating a strong bond and team cohesion. You may use team meetings where each member provides peer feedback. This is less threatening to them compared to a manager’s criticism.

2.The Insecure

This is the type of member who feels a lack of confidence with themself. They tend to ask help from the other often. They also compare themself to others most of the time. It makes them feel so down and hopeless especially if they can’t add sales to the team.

This can annoy you and other team members especially if they keep asking for help even if it was taught to them several times already. You just need to empower them most of the time. Talking to them and praising them even with just small accomplishments can help them boost their confidence. You may also offer training that can help them improve their skills.

3.The Happy-Go-Lucky

This is the type of salesperson who is always late, who takes long lunches, loves to party and drinks so much alcohol after work. He can be a bad influence on other team members.
This can be toxic to the team and even to the organization. Talk to them and give them a constructive solution for every negative action

The Negative

This is someone who often talks bad about his or her teammates, the management, and the company. They also respond negatively to different situations that may also affect the thinking of his or her teammates.

Talk to them and encourage them to spread positivity instead and how it can greatly help her and teammates to have better relationships and sales.

The Blamer

This is the type of salesperson who always blames others with his low sales. He will reason out that his teammates took the sales away, the client takes too long to decide and management lacks support.

Divert the conversation in a positive direction. Tell her what she’s doing good. Explore by asking what makes him/ her feel that way and let her answer what she can do better.

How to Handle Difficult Conversation with Your Salespeople

If you are struggling handling difficult conversation with some of your salespeople, you have to make sure that you do the following reminders. This can help you resolve the conflict and turn tough conversations on a skyrocket sales team performance.

1.Treat them with respect

As a leader, make sure that you show respect to your subordinates so that they will also respect you. You can gain the respect of your team by treating them fairly and managing your mindset. Show them that you really care and you have good intentions. It can help you get their trust so that they can easily open up any arising problems before it gets worse.

2.Establish facts

Before you say that they’re wrong or they made a mistake, it is important that you establish the facts. Make sure you know how to control your emotions, keep your self compose and focus on resolving the conflict based on the facts you observed.

3.Active listening

This is really important in handling difficult conversations. You have to make sure that you listen actively to each word they were saying and make them feel you are interested to hear more. You get cues from what they say to better understand why they’re behaving like that or what makes them feel that way. If you missed a word, it can mean differently to you and may just lead to further misunderstanding.

4.Addressing with their names when talking to them

Using their names while you were talking to them is a way of showing respect. Never call them using inappropriate words that can trigger a sudden burst of emotion and may worsen the situation.

5.Do not interrupt

Make sure that you allow them to talk and let them say what they feel. Allow them to share their point of view and perspective. No matter if you do not agree with them and you are very eager to say your rebuttals, you have to control yourself and let him or her finish. Then, explore by asking probing questions if you need more details.

6.Avoid words that may increase conflict

Do you know that saying words such as “Never”, “No”, “Wrong” and “No way” can just increase the conflict? Try to acknowledge their point and seek further information instead of disagreeing immediately. It will help you understand why they say that. You may say “ That sounds interesting. What makes you think that way?” or “ Seems like a plan. Go on. I want to know more about your idea.”

7.Be careful with your questions

It is important that you have to be careful in choosing the right words in asking questions. Remember that your goal is to identify where their behavior is coming from and resolve the main issue. You can ask lots of probing questions until you get the core and as long as you don’t interrupt.

8.Create a plan of action together

After having a conversation and you have identified the issue and other contributing factors, it is time that you showcase your skills on how you will resolve this. Come up with a plan together then share what you can do on your behalf to support the agreed plan.

Remember that salespeople are the building blocks of your organization. Conflicts and misunderstandings may happen from time to time. It won’t be easy to handle difficult conversations once the problem arises. That is why it is important that you check them and ask how everything is going. Through this, you will know if they are struggling and if they need your support. This is also a great way to identify any arising issues to prevent difficult conversations or future conflicts affecting the whole team or organization.

They need your support as much as you need their cooperation and dedication to have a great team with great sales results.