It’s often said that people don’t quit their jobs — they quit their bosses. But what people tell me most often is that they want to leave because they are not making as much money as they’d hoped. I’ve been trying to reconcile these two things in my mind lately. I think both may be true.
There comes a time in every interview process when potential first-year income must be discussed. It’s always tricky to predict in Year One what someone will make in a new sales position. There are so many variables: The condition of the territory and existing pipeline, the learning curve, work ethic, and sometimes just dumb luck.
One rep I hired stepped into his manager’s former territory. The way the rep described it, wherever they went in the first few months, there seemed to be a purchase order waiting for them. Even the manager was amazed. In the few years he’d worked the territory himself, the business had never come so fast or so easy.
When the rep got to training, someone asked him how he was doing. He shrugged and laughed, “Oh, I dunno, pretty good, I guess. I think I’m number one in the country.”
Fortunately, he’s a solid rep and didn’t let let it go to his head.
I also think it can swing the other way. Maybe things don’t completely tank, but the timing isn’t perfect, maybe the learning curve is a little steeper, the competition is a little fiercer, and in most cases the territory needs a little TLC. With dedication and commitment, such challenges will be overcome in time.
Some people stick around to see it through and some people don’t. One successful orthopedic rep I spoke to this past week said, “It really takes two years to really hit your stride in this business.” I pretty much agree with him. It’s unfortunate when people give up or make a change before they can really see they payoff of their hard work.
Coming full circle, I think a good manager can make a difference in whether someone sticks it out beyond the first tough year. When a new rep “hits the wall” (and they all do), a good manager is there to peel them off and get them going again, through encouragement and support. Without management input, it may be hard for a rep to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lacking support and adequate monetary rewards, the rep may start looking for something better.
Sometimes they might find it. But more often, they’ll soon find themselves back in a similar predicament. Herein lies the danger of making career decisions solely based on money.
In sales, it’s often said that if you win a customer on price, you will lose them on price. Likewise, good career decisions are based on more than just money. Management, company culture, support, training and development, quality products, daily satisfaction — these are the things that are critically important because they will sustain you through the inevitable ups and downs that come with every career in sales.
“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” — Napoleon Hill
Lisa McCallister specializes in recruiting for medical device sales and marketing positions with an operating room focus, such as orthopedics, electrosurgery, endoscopy and a wide range of surgical specialties. She has recruited two Rookie of the Year award winners. Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her blog, MyJobScope.com.