Sales has one of the highest turnover rates of any profession. In fact, 1 in 4 reps plan to quit sales in 3-6 months (source: Sales Happiness Index). There are many reasons for this, but a major one is that reps often aren’t making as much money as they expected, or they’re unhappy with existing management.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you feel like you’re working hard and not seeing the results you want, or when you’re not being treated in a way that you believe is fair. But before you start drafting your resignation letter, make sure you’re not being hasty, and that you’ve exhausted all other possibilities.
Here are five things to always try before quitting your sales job:
1. Review Your Performance
If you’re considering leaving your sales job, it’s important to take a hard look at your performance on a longer timeline. Have you been unable to hit quota since you started, or have you only been struggling to hit your numbers in the recent past? How productive are you on any given day in your sales role? (try taking this Sales Productivity Survey to find out) It’s essential to understand your performance and put it into (bigger) context before making any decisions.
Make sure to carefully go over all of your time at your company and check to see when you have and when you haven’t hit quota. This will put your experience into context and will show whether this is just a down-time, or whether it’s a longer pattern. Don’t quit on a whim — make sure you’re looking at the big picture.
2. Try a New Approach
If you’re feeling stuck, it’s possible that the problem isn’t your job, but rather your approach. Take some time to dig into your product and understand why customers like it. What makes it different from similar products on the market? Once you have a better understanding of your unique value proposition, try switching up your sales process. There’s no shortage of articles and resources (like this blog!) out there that can help you develop new strategies and techniques.
Remember, selling isn’t one-size-fits-all. What might work for one salesperson may not work for another, despite what you might have read on LinkedIn. Experiment with different approaches and discover what works best for you. And make sure you try this before you up and quit. Otherwise, you might be walking away for the wrong reason.
3. Work with Management
As a sales rep, it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own. But (in most cases), your sales manager is there to help you succeed. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for guidance or support. Schedule a meeting and discuss your goals and get feedback on your performance. They may be able to offer insights and advice that you haven’t considered.
If you’re struggling with specific aspects of your job, ask if they can provide additional training or resources. Most reps won’t even bother making the case that they could improve with a bit of outside help, so alway try to take advantage of these opportunities if they’re available.
4. Make Sure It’s the Job, Not a Personal Issue
Sometimes, personal problems can bleed into our work lives and (incorrectly) make us question whether we’re in the right job. Before taking any drastic action, take some time to reflect on whether the problem is truly with the job, or if it’s something else that’s making you unhappy. This, of course, can be difficult to parse, so don’t expect the answers to be easily accessible.
If you’re dealing with personal issues, it’s important to address them before throwing in the towel at work. Because even if you go somewhere else, if left unaddressed, the personal issue will follow you and make your new gig as bad as your current one.
5. Take a step back
Sales is relentless. We work hard week after week, month after month, chasing leads and closing deals. It can be a high-pressure, fast-paced environment that takes a toll on our physical and mental health. So, if you’re feeling burnt out and on the verge of quitting, try taking some time off first. Use your vacation time. Take a long weekend. Disconnect, even if it’s only for a day or two.
Sometimes, the things we think are insurmountable might be due to our own exhaustion and the law of diminishing returns. Stepping back from work can give you the chance to recharge your batteries, get some perspective, and return to work with renewed energy and focus.
So before you type up that dreaded email to your sales manager asking for a one-on-one, make sure you’ve given the other things on this list a try.
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