Sales is a tough business. Managing sales people and then keeping them happy is an even tougher business. But … sometimes you lose them. And lately, it seems like more and more salespeople have been leaving companies for greener pastures. They move to another city, they want more “work/life” balance or they decide sales is not for them. No matter what the reason, it’s painful for management. All exits of staff is a loss of training time and recruitment dollars.
In my 25 years of managing an uncountable number of sales team members, I have been fortunate to develop nurturing and long-term relationships with several of them. I have attended weddings, baby showers and funerals. I have kept in touch by their choice. If they want to continue the mentor and mentee connection, it is an honor to still be connected to them. However, what I find interesting is that I don’t really hear from any of my sales team members that were working at the company I left two years ago. Why? They are all doing great. Who do I hear from? Several former team members who had left that organization. Again, why? Not for fear that I am no longer a workmate but rather, they are asking my advice because they didn’t realize how good they had it and what they gave up.
Maybe it was a rash decision, maybe they left for more money or maybe they thought something better was ahead. Either way, they didn’t think about the infrastructure and support they received from their former company that was not detailed in their paycheck. They didn’t think about the award-winning culinary team making their food (so they didn’t have to be concerned with food quality). They didn’t think about trucks breaking down on the highway (because the operations team always took the vehicles in for servicing). They didn’t think about the payroll actually being funded on payday (because it was). They didn’t have to think about a thing because they thought all these things were normal, especially if this was their first job out of school.
Employees need to realize that “compensation” is more than just money and benefits. Do not take for granted all the other “extras” your company does to run as a successful business. I am not talking free lunch either. I am talking about running a solid business. The core and infrastructure that a company provides is often as important as the extra money in your paycheck.
It was my second vacation day in Mexico. I was already settling into my routine. I was staring out at the blue water. The sun was blazing. The palm trees were swaying. Ezequiel, my lovely waiter asked me what I wanted to drink to cool down. It was very hot. He struck up a conversation and he asked me where I was from. I said “Chicago” and he said, “What is the weather like in Chicago right now?” I said, “Snowy and cold.” You know that smug feeling you get when you know you could be home shoveling, freezing and fighting the elements but you are actually lounging on a tropical beach chair? I could not have been happier at that exact moment. Ezequiel looked at me, then out at the beautiful water, off the steamy sand and said, “I wish I was in the snow right now”. We just looked at each other and laughed. The Grass is Always Greener.