3 years ago
January 5, 2015

Why you Should Never Accept a Counter Offer

Though a counter offer may be generous, there are more downsides to accepting that counter offer than upsides.

Rhys Metler

You have thought long and hard about why now is the time to leave your current sales job, and spent countless hours updating your career objectives and resume, researching your career options, and meeting with recruiters and hiring managers. Now you have received an offer from an organization that can provide you with the career growth you are looking for, but there is a problem. Your current sales job is now upping the ante by making a counter offer. Though the counter offer may be generous, there are more downsides to accepting that counter offer than upsides.

Your Future Earnings Potential May Be Reduced

As soon as your sales job makes a counter offer, you know that the compensation package is not as equitable as it once seemed. The next time you become eligible for a compensation review you can expect that the increases you received under the counter offer will be a point of contention. Furthermore, if you needed to announce your imminent departure in order to initiate negotiations, what else can you do if negotiations are refused in the future?

Loss of Trust Is an Unfortunate Possibility

Most organizations assume that employees who are performing well are staying for the long term until they receive notice otherwise. Once you have made your intention to leave your sales job clear, the trust that you intend to contribute for the long term is unfortunately severed, and it can take a long time to reacquire that confidence. Similar issues can occur when:

  • Other sales employees know that you were made a counter offer, and are now earning better compensation
  • Greater responsibilities become available, but uncertainty over your tenure harms your competitiveness for assuming these tasks
  • Clients find out that you considered making a move, and are not sure how long you will continue to support them

Your Current Sales Job May Be Less Secure

While it speaks to your strengths when your sales job is willing to make a counter offer to keep you on board, it is important to consider other reasons for your sales job to extend a counter offer. It is possible that the offer is a delaying tactic to keep you producing while replacements are sought, which means that your position might not be secure after you accept the counter offer no matter what your sales numbers are.

You May Lose the Bridge to the Organization Making the First Offer

If you have given your current sales job enough information that they know there is another offer on the table, it is likely that you have already gone a long way to accepting the offer made by another organization. In any case, you have successfully passed the interview process, which took time – yours as well as theirs. If you accept your sales job’s counter offer, the organization with which you were interviewing may not be willing to extend an offer a second time if you ultimately leave your current sales job later.

Your Reasons for Leaving Your Sales Job Go Beyond Money

Most counter offers involve better compensation packages, and some may include more vacation or flexible time. However, were compensation and personal time your only reasons for looking for a new sales job? No counter offer can automatically fix the underlying reasons for dissatisfaction with a sales job, whether those are career growth, lack of culture fit, or similar mismatches. If you accept your sales job’s counter offer, these problems will still be there – which is why most employees end up leaving within a short time even when a counter offer is accepted.

There are many other reasons to refuse a counter offer from your sales job, yet perhaps the simplest reason is the strongest of all. Your sales career should always come first and if you were considering leaving your current sales job, better opportunities await regardless of the counter offers made.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.