This One Leadership Attribute Will Reduce Turnover on Your Sales Team

May 17, 2019  |  Posted by in Leadership Development, Odds Are

The loss of just one top-performing sales team member can cost an organization more than $1 million in lost opportunities, time/resources needed to fill an open position and ramp-up time for a new sales professional. There can be many contributing factors to turnover on the sales team, many of which center on the individual salesperson and his or her skill set. But sales leaders need to consider what we can do – those factors completely within our control – to prevent the departure of our best performers. One under-utilized tool is empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s experience or perspective. As empathy relates to leadership, it is too often written off as a superfluous “soft skill” in favor of “stern” or “strong” management styles. Yet, without the insight that empathy provides, we cannot inspire others or cultivate loyalty. Empathy is what allows us to understand each team member’s needs and motivations, and that is the very key to their satisfaction, as well as their performance.

Employee satisfaction has never been more important than it is right now. It is an employee’s market and sales leaders everywhere are feeling the challenge of finding and keeping good sales professionals. According to a study cited in Forbes,66% of employees say they would ‘likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated.’ This is up significantly from 51% of employees who felt this way in 2012. Among millennials, the number of employees who’d leave if unappreciated jumps to 76%. This helps account for the overall increase from the 51% figure in 2012, as millennials are becoming the dominant generation in the workforce.”

In sales training, we always talk about the importance of getting into the customer’s “odds are,” which is alternative terminology for cultivating insight and empathy. The logic goes that we can’t provide valued solutions for customers if we don’t fully understand what they want and need. As sales leaders, we need to view every member of our team as a valued customer and put in place communications processes and practices to ensure we lead from a position of empathy and connectedness.

For more information on skills, processes and tools to reduce sales team turnover, drive empathy and increase sales team connectedness, visit our Sales Leadership program page or our most popular sales leadership program page, Excellence in Sales Leadership.


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