4 years ago
March 10, 2020

It’s Not Us, It’s You. 7 Tips for Firing a Salesperson

Firing a salesperson is a difficult task, but it’s part of being a sales leader. There will be times when you have to let a salesperson go for the betterment…

Rhys Metler

Firing a salesperson is a difficult task, but it’s part of being a sales leader. There will be times when you have to let a salesperson go for the betterment of the team. There are countless reasons why you may need to fire someone. Perhaps they are not able to consistently meet sales goals. Maybe they are not a good cultural fit or they are not in the right role. Or they could be engaging in activities that are detrimental to your sales team or organization.

Regardless of the reason, there is a right way and a wrong way to terminate an employee. In this blog, Toronto sales headhunters take a look at common signs it’s time to fire a salesperson, provide tips for how not to fire them, and tips for firing salespeople the right way.

Signs It’s Time for a Salesperson to Go

Just like there are many reasons to hire someone, there are many telltale signs it’s time for them to go. Here are some key signs to keep an eye on. If you see these signs consistently, it may be time to remove the salesperson from the team:

  • They have poor habits (always late, call in sick a lot, not reliable)
  • They are not willing to learn and grow
  • They are resistant to coaching
  • Consistently poor prospecting and sales numbers
  • They are not team-focused
  • They don’t own their mistakes
  • They are negatively impacting relationships with your customers
  • They break the rules or don’t follow the proper sales protocol

How NOT to Fire a Salesperson

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. Once you’ve decided you are going to fire a salesperson, you need to take the right steps. Here are some important things to NOT do when you fire a salesperson.

Toronto sales headhunters explain how not to fire someone

  • Don’t fire people via text or email
  • Not being completely upfront and honest
  • Failing to be sympathetic
  • Dragging it out
  • Making a decision based on emotions
  • Breaking the proper process for employee termination

7 Tips for Firing Salespeople

It’s important to have a proper protocol in place when firing an employee. You need to do things the right way to avoid issues arising. Here are some important tips from our Toronto sales recruiters for firing salespeople using the proper methods:

1. Have a Clear Termination Process

Firing someone is hard. Most sales managers just want to get it over with. But it’s important to have a clear internal process for how you handle poorly performing sales professionals. Firing should not be out of the blue. There needs to be a clear termination process in place. It starts with formal warnings to the reps about the issues. It must be clear that if they do not rectify the issues addressed, they could be terminated.

If a rep does not improve over time, they will be well aware termination is a possibility. If you get to the point where you need to fire a salesperson, they should have an idea that it is happening.

2. Consult HR

Once you have decided to fire a salesperson, you should consult with your human resources team. Why? You need to make sure you have grounds for dismissal and you are taking the proper steps. You need to follow the company policy.

HR can inform you of all steps that need to be completed, the information you need to communicate to the employee and provide you with advice for managing the situation.

3. Don’t Meet With the Salesperson Alone

Always have another person in the room when breaking the news to the employee. Often it will be someone from human resources. It’s important to have a witness for the termination just in case issues arise.

4. Get to the Point

When you meet with the employee, break the news immediately. There is no need for chit chat and a big build-up. Be honest and direct about the reasons for termination. Refer to performance issues and other reasons that led to the decision. Be specific and provide examples.

5. Show Compassion

Getting fired is a blow, even if the employee saw it coming. It can be humiliating. Be as supportive as you can. Do what you can to make the situation as easy as possible for them.

6. Answer Their Questions

Many employees will have questions about what happens next. They’ll want to know about final compensation, how long their benefits are active, and have other questions about the process. Be ready to answer these types of questions. Be an information resource for them to help them with their transition out of the company.

7. Have the Meeting at the End of the Day

Having the meeting at the end of the day allows the employee to leave the premises right away. This will help reduce questions from others about why the fired employee is not present.

More Sales Team Management Tips From Toronto Sales Recruiters

Effectively managing your sales team is a key success factor. Here are some additional blogs by our sales recruiters to help you manage your salespeople efficiently.

Noticing a Drop in Sales? 7 Ways to Get Your Sales Team Back on Track

9 Common Reasons to Fire a Salesperson

Healthy Conflict Is a Part of Sales. 4 Ways to Handle a Sales Rep Who Is ‘Too Nice’

4 Ways to Properly Evaluate Your Sales Team and Make Them Even Better

Should You Hire an Overqualified Candidate on Your Sales Team?

5 Simple Reasons Your Sales Team Is Underperforming

True or False?! Recruiters Expose the 5 Top Myths About Sales Teams


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.