Firing a salesperson is never an easy decision, especially if it is someone you have close ties with. Whether the decision is based on performance, cutbacks, or other issues, it…
Firing a salesperson is never an easy decision, especially if it is someone you have close ties with. Whether the decision is based on performance, cutbacks, or other issues, it is part of your role as a sales manager or leader to let people go.
Even if an employee has poor habits, fails to improve performance, learns from mistakes, or even breaks defined sales rules, it’s still not a task anyone looks forward to doing. But it has to be done.
At the end of the day, you always have to do what is best for business. This includes letting go of people who consistently do not meet the standards of the role. Failure to let them go will not only allow issues to continue; it can affect performance and the morale of your entire team.
Here is some advice to help you make effective and efficient firing decisions:
Once you have made the decision to remove a salesperson from your team, it is best to do it immediately. Consult with your human resources department to get all the necessary paperwork in order. Break the news to the employee as soon as you have everything in order.
Avoid firing an employee over the phone, via email, or text. Ideally, you should plan to meet with the employee first thing in the morning, early in the workweek. Collect your notes, supporting documentation, and know what you want to say. Keep things short and to the point, but be willing to answer the employee’s questions if they have any.
Always have another person in the room with you. Ideally, you will have someone from HR or another sales manager or executive accompanying you.
People will talk. You can limit the amount of gossip and misinformation by announcing the termination to your team. You can explain your decision, but do not go into great detail or share personal information about the exiting employee. Use this time to reassure your team and reiterate the overall objectives and goals of the team.
Depending on the type of sales and how close the terminated employee was with your customers, you may need to inform them of the change. Make a list of the customers, vendors, and business partners who should know. It is always a good idea to provide as few details as possible. Explain the salesperson is no longer with the company and who will be taking over their account. If a replacement is not already hired, explain that a manager or other salesperson is their temporary point of contact.
Firing is never easy, but you can minimize issues or complications by being straightforward and direct. Use the above tips to fire a salesperson and have minimal impact on operations.
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.