BILL LEE: Not All Employee Turnover Is Bad

By / 2 years ago

When is it the right time to initiate personnel changes?


When is it the right time to initiate personnel changes? When to terminate a weak member of the team is a decision every executive must eventually face.

It’s impossible to grow your company’s market share unless your salespeople are able to take business away from the competition. But since the odds are quite high that your competitors are not going to sit idly by and allow your salespeople to “buy” their customers with a low-ball price, your salespeople must be sharper and more aggressive than those who work for the competition if they expect to grow market share.

If the quality of your salespeople doesn’t represent your company’s strategic advantage, what does? Are your salespeople more talented than the salespeople they must compete against or are they no better than equal? Or worse, are they less talented?

To make room for a salesperson with the talent, experience and chemistry to win the battle for business in your market, it is sometimes necessary to terminate a salesperson who lacks the “right stuff.”

On any given day in sports, a cellar team can beat the team that’s in first place. Any team can put it all together once in a while, but to compete every day and win more business than they lose, a team must possess more talent than the competition.

This is the way it is right now. There are a lot of really sharp salespeople going after the same handful of creditworthy contractors. The winner will usually be more impressive, more innovative and hungrier.

There are many salespeople who do an outstanding job servicing existing customers, but for the life of them, they can’t seem to close new customers. When the telephone rings, they leap into action, but they struggle to come up with innovative ways to make the telephone ring.

Based on my experience working with salespeople, I believe I understand how hard some of them work in an attempt to bring in new business, but it’s not trying hard that counts, it’s the ability to get results.

I personally believe owners and managers aren’t doing their salespeople any favors when they keep them on board when they are not performing up to the company’s standards, and especially when top management has given up on them. These marginal salespeople for one company could be with another company, perhaps in another industry, doing an outstanding job. Sometimes a change of scenery is what a salesperson needs to boost his/her productivity.

I am motivated to write this article about employee turnover because I have been working with several clients whose bottom line earnings are pitiful. In our industry, an astonishingly small percentage of businesses are earning a satisfactory return on investment.

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Bill Lee

Bill Lee has nearly 40 years of experience in the construction supply industry. A seminar leader and consultant, he is the author of two books: Gross Margin and 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. You can reach Bill at, or 800.277.7888.