Sales Moves

Leaving for greener pastures? Are you sure they’re green?

March 18, 2016
TAGS new job / sales
Text Size:

Why do salespeople quit their job?

More money? Better job opportunity? Don’t like what they’re doing? Don’t like their boss? Don’t like corporate politics? Don’t like how they’re being treated as a person? Don’t feel the company is supporting them as a salesperson? Just had their commissions cut? Company going back on their word about paying or deal structure? Not paid what they felt they were owed? Just lost their best customer to the competition?

Answer: some or all of the above.

Salespeople seem to hopscotch jobs like moths flutter from one light bulb to the next, trying to find the brightest one. I don’t think the question is just, “reason for leaving.” I think it goes deeper. I think it’s “cause and effect,” and even deeper: “motive” — motive being a short word for motivation.

This issue is further complicated by the fact that most people, when they leave a job, won’t tell the boss their real reason for leaving. Oh, they give reasons like better opportunity or more money, but there’s always an underlying motive. An unspoken reason. Like, “I hate you.”

And then there’s the boss, who has to tell his other people why the salesperson quit. Standard reasons: better opportunity or more money.

It’s interesting to note more than 74 percent of people who quit their jobs do so because of a bad boss or bad company policies. Yet, no boss I have ever spoken to ever told me: My best salesperson quit and it’s all my fault.

Note well: The departing salesperson will soon become the scapegoat for everything bad that’s ever happened in the history of the company within one week of their departure.

If you’re the boss and you throw the person who quit under the bus, it sends a message to every other person on the team that you’re going to do the same thing to them if they leave — not a real boost to moral.

If you’re the salesperson and you don’t have the guts to tell the boss the real reason you’re leaving, then you’re going to have to be willing to accept your fate with respect to the trashing that you’re going to take.

There’s no easy answer here. Some industries are more incestuous than others. Banking, personnel, accounting and advertising seem to have an excessive amount of job hopscotching going on.

Why are you quitting and what can you do to build your career, rather than having to start over?

I get a minimum of 10 requests a week from salespeople wanting to quit their job and asking for advice. What I tell them is what I’m going to tell you:

1. List the real reasons you dislike what you’re currently doing.

2. Now, list the reasons you like what you’re doing.

3. Add a one-sentence description to both the dislike and the like column to give yourself further insight as to “why.”

4. Ask yourself which one of the bad things will be eliminated at the new job and which one of the good things will continue at the new job. This way you give yourself an evaluation before you enter your new position.

5. Call people at the place you want to work or where you’ve just been hired to work and find out what they like and dislike.

6. Write down what you feel you gain (other than money) at your new position and ask yourself if you could have gained the same thing at your old position.

Note well: As you know, if you read my column, we’re about to get to the .5. You will not like it. The .5 will make you grimace but will show you the reality of where you are and where you seek to grow.

6.5 Become the No. 1 salesperson at your existing company, then quit. If you’re thinking about leaving your job and you are not the No. 1 salesperson, it is likely you will not be the No. 1 salesperson at your next job, and it is even more likely you will bring half your disgruntlement to your next job. If you stay at your present job until you become the No. 1 salesperson, no boss will be able to throw you under the bus. You will leave a hero of the company. You will leave with pride, with self-respect and with the attitude of a winner, not a whiner.

See? I told you you’d hate it.

So here’s your opportunity: Quit complaining, quit whining about your job or your circumstance, quit trashing other people to make yourself look good, and just dig in. If you really consider yourself great at sales, then attaining the No. 1 position shouldn’t be much of a problem. Heck, you’re always bragging about how great you are — prove it!

There are rewards for being No. 1. People will be nicer to you in your company. You may even earn some degree of respect. Your value in the marketplace will increase, you’ll have choices — genuine choices, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’ve done it for the right reasons, not the negative reasons.

Bosses beware: If your salespeople are leaving you at a rate of greater than 20 percent per year, look in the mirror. If you “can’t find any good people out there,” let me give you a big clue: There’s plenty of good people out there, they’re just not working for you.

Salespeople be aware: Your next boss may be no better than your previous boss. He or she just may be sweeter in the interview process than in the day-to-day battle. Your best tactical and strategic advantage is to arrive on the scene as the No. 1 salesperson from your previous job rather than the No. 1 whiner about your previous job.

If you do this, you have set the stage for sales success. Your sales success.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 13 books. His online courses are available at For information about training and seminars, visit or, or email Jeffrey at  

Recent Articles by Jeffrey Gitomer

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus