Are your top salespeople quietly unhappy? Do you have a star performer outside of sales considering a move where they will be loved more than they are currently?
Tasha Eurich's post titled "Eight Enduring Lessons I Learned From My Clients in 2014" hooked my attention - particularly number 6 - Keep Tabs On Your Performers.
Eurich offers sage advice that you must hear. Stop what you are doing and focus on her words. She shares:
"I am always amazed at how surprised some executives are when star performers leave. Smart executives understand that since their superstars are being actively recruited, they must keep tabs on how they’re doing. You can’t be so removed from their day-to-day reality that it’s a surprise when you learn that they weren’t happy. Also, their resignation letter is not a signal to negotiate. At that point, you’ve already lost them. For your best employees, you have to stay involved in their world. Conduct, or ask their manager to conduct, regular “stay interviews” that head off any retention issues as they arise."
I could not have said it better myself.
Know thy talent
Make sure you know who your true star performers are.
A lot of people who believe they are star salespeople are actually sheep in wolf's clothing.
Never ever pursue crappy salespeople and other crappy employees when they threaten to leave.
I have observed far too many companies fearfully and almost tearfully chase crappy salespeople who threatened to leave because the crappy salesperson successfully positioned themselves as indispensable.
Study after study demonstrates the power of human bias in the interview process. Add the complexities of relationships, territories, and Client engagement and it becomes naturally difficult to objectively separate true potential from crap.
My awareness of the potential for human bias and other statistical noise is why I use a valid sales personality and aptitude test with validity backed by brain research to objectively ensure I am getting what I am actually getting. A valid sales personality and aptitude test is my insurance policy.
When you know thy talent - the true potential of each of your salespeople, you will make better decisions when a crappy salesperson threatens to leave you.
Engage thy talent
Get to know the people - the souls that drive the wheels of your company forward. This applies to sales as well as all facets of the business model. I cannot underscore this enough.
You must slow down to speed up.
If you are like me, you are task-oriented, goal-driven, and an asshole at times.
Realize that human beings are what make your business model go. There was a time where I walked right past people without acknowledging them. Sad but true. Over the last 15 years, I have learned to adapt to meet the needs of those I partner with.
Realize that everyone brings their unique Behaviors, Motivators, Attributes, and Skills to the table. Every position in your business requires a different mix. Adapt to meet their needs as human beings and the unique souls they are.
When you slow down to engage thy talent - you will enjoy a richness in your life you may have never imagined.
Make sure thy talent has no greener pastures to choose from
Your human capital does not have to even go looking for a new job! Thanks to powerful tools like Linkedin Recruiter, a competitor can find your star employee and identify them practically by shoe size, college attended, preferred experience and then engage them in a dialogue of a future filled with wonder and opportunity.
And you will not even know it happened until it is perhaps too late. If the opportunity your star performer has currently does not have at least the perceived net present value of the promised future opportunity, you will likely lose them.
The best defense is a powerful offense. Make sure you are engaging and compensating your top talent in a manner that makes it impossible for them to want to leave. They determine what is important - not you.
Money can be matched. It is rarely about the money. Culture and relationships are difficult to match.