Replacing A Salesperson
Your top producer has just left the building–whether by your choice or their’s they’re gone. How you respond will go a long way in determining how much of their business you retain and how easy a transition you create for the next salesperson who goes in behind them. I believe this is one of those situations where you need a strategy and at least an idea of what you’re going to do before it happens–not scrambling and falling all over yourself the day they leave.
Here are three things you must do–and the more prepared you are in advance the better. Hey, let’s hope you never need to use them, but it’s a nice little insurance policy if you do.
Mobilize-The first step is vitally important: Get out and see the account. The last impression you want them to have is they only mattered to the salesperson who is gone. And, if that particular salesperson went to work for a competitor, you want to control the flow of information the customer hears from your company. Never, ever bad mouth their former rep (this could lead to legal issues and it’s just unprofessional). In fact, commend them. Let the customer know you hate they’re gone, but business is business and you understand. Make sure the client knows your main focus is to ensure their business sees no interruption in service or support. Be positive and upbeat.
Stabilize-After the initial contacts, take your new representative to the customer with a very low key introduction. Let them know they’re getting one of your top people, but don’t set the bar so high this person can never live up to it. We have a tendency at this point to over-promise because we want to keep the customer. Be honest. Share information with them about the new representative and let them start to build rapport. It is a process. It takes time–just like it did when the original salesperson called on them.
Energize-Finally, look at this as an opportunity. Even though the departed was your top salesperson (or any of your reps), go into this looking for things they missed. And, yes there are things they missed; customers they took for granted; accounts not buying at their full potential. Even the best get to where they “can’t see the forest for the trees”. Look for ways to energize the customer. Do they know about ALL your programs and offerings? Chances are there was some low hanging fruit left for your new rep to pick.
Mobilize. Stabilize. Energize. Anytime you have to replace a salesperson–put this into action and you’ll go a long way to keeping and possibly growing the business. Remember, it’s always easier NOT to change suppliers or vendors. Make it easy for the customer to remain a customer and most of the time they will.
Unfortunately most of us will be in this position. But having a little road map and a plan can go a long way to a smoother, more successful transition.