You’re filling a position on your sales team. In poring over stacks of resumes, you notice that a lot of your candidates have changed jobs every two years. And you’ve heard about how people aren’t staying with companies. Many people will have as many as 13 jobs in their lifetime. So you start wondering if you should settle for a job hopper.
Don’t do it.
Forget about what you’ve read on the internet or in the paper, and apply common sense and just look around. Study your colleagues and peers that are successful and wealthy. Are they job hoppers? In looking at the clients I work with, the resounding answer is no.
Look outside your sphere of influence. Would Mark Zuckerberg be the successful entrepreneur he is today if he decided to job hop two years after starting Facebook? How about great athletes? Do they switch from football to basketball to track and field because they feel a calling to a new career?
So, sales managers and CEOs, realize that job-hopping doesn’t work in sales for a variety of reasons. Job-hopping salespeople tend to think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Instead of working at making the grass greener at their current employer, they keep searching for nirvana, especially when adversity hits.
Taking care of your clients provides several reasons to avoid sales job hoppers.
Reason #1. Step into your customer’s shoes. Apply the emotional intelligence skill of empathy and ask: Do customers really want a new salesperson showing up every two years? Even if the salesperson is good, it’s a new relationship. Strong business relationships are built over time and generate high trust, repeat business and referrals.
A job-hopping rep doesn’t build strong business relationships because they don’t stick around long enough to earn the reward that comes with such relationships.
Reason #2: Lack of expertise. Who knew you could bring Buddha into a sales conversation? But this quote of his is quite accurate around the topic of job hopping: “If you want to draw water, you do not dig six one-foot wells. You dig one six-foot well.” The job-hopping salesperson is always digging one-foot wells because they never stick around long enough to dig a six-footer and gain deep expertise in the field.
Everyone talks about the value of being a trusted advisor to clients. Salespeople that are trusted advisors possess delayed-gratification skills. They put in the work to become an expert in their business – dig that six-foot well -- and as a result, they provide better and more creative solutions.
Reason #3. Do the math. You hire a salesperson and even if they’re very good, it will take them about six to nine months to build their book of business. You aren’t losing money, but you’re also not making a lot. Year two rolls around and the salesperson is achieving revenue targets and profits. But then they leave for another job.
Now you are back to square one, investing time and money in recruiting, interviewing and training to fill the position. And don’t forget about the amount of time you’ll invest in trying to cover an open territory. The math doesn’t work.
Study successful people and organizations. You will find they have strong business relationships and deep expertise. They make money for themselves and the organizations they serve. None of this happens if you settle and hire a sales job hopper.