4 Bad Reasons to Leave a Sales Job (and 4 Good Ones)
Sales has a high turnover rate. Anyone who has spent considerable time in the profession has seen salespeople come and go, from the chronic job-hoppers to the short-termers: those who dipped their toe into the water, only to move on when things didn’t work out exactly as planned.
There is, however, a significant difference between those who quit their job for the right reasons and those who quit for the wrong ones. Making an impulsive decision can backfire and leave you filled with regret, while staying somewhere despite all indications that it might be a bad idea can mean a major missed opportunity.
We’ve put together a list of good and bad reasons to leave a sales job. Make sure to keep these in mind before making a switch:
Bad reasons to leave a sales job:
1. You’re not making a lot of money right off the bat
Most people go into sales for the earning potential, but too many jump ship before they’ve put in enough time to get a major return on their investment. There are some sales jobs where you can start making the big bucks quickly, but for most, you’ll need to spend months or years building up a pipeline, immersing yourself in the industry, and earning a reputation for doing good work. If you’re in your third month and you feel like you’re not earning what you deserve, consider whether you’re being impatient.
2. You don’t get along with a specific coworker
Relationships with coworkers are important, but you can’t get along with everybody, and quitting a job because of another person does a disservice to your potential. Workplaces can be breeding grounds for interpersonal conflict, especially among the colorful personalities of various salespeople. But if there’s somebody you’re regularly clashing with, try to keep your distance or come to a professional understanding first before you throw in the towel and quit in frustration.
3. Problems at home
There’s no question that problems at home can make life in the workplace more difficult and vice versa. But if you intend to quit your job because of something at home, first ask yourself whether it would actually help things. In many cases, resigning a job can actually make your problems worse, not only because of the loss of income and benefits, but because of the structure a workplace can provide. If it’s possible to fix problems at home without letting them affect the workplace, that’s almost always the better option.
4. You’re in a sales slump
Sales slumps can be dreadful, and when you’re in one, it can feel like you’ll never close another deal ever again. This, however, is not a good reason to quit a job, even if you might feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Even the best of the best can fall into a sales slump, but the key is to keep plugging away rather than throwing in the towel. Giving up an opportunity because of a bad few months is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater — don’t be in such a hurry to give up.
Good reasons to leave a sales job
1. You don’t believe in the product
Sales is difficult enough when you do believe in what you’re selling, but when you don’t, it’s almost impossible to perform at a high enough level to make an impact. If you don’t believe your product provides value, that it’s competitive, or that it solves people’s problems, then moving on might be a good idea. Just be sure that you don’t run into the same problem at your next job, because if it keeps happening, then it might have more to do with you than with the products you’re selling.
2. An uncompetitive comp plan
Complaining about the comp plan is practically a sales pastime, and grumbles shouldn’t always be taken at face value. There are, however, instances where the comp plan truly doesn’t make sense, and crosses the line from frustrating into uncompetitive. To be sure, you should always confirm you’re getting accurate information about what other companies are offering and how your employer’s comp structure compares, but if it becomes clear that the company isn’t showing that it values its salespeople based on the pay plan, it probably makes sense to move on.
3. There’s a significantly better opportunity available
Oftentimes, after one salesperson leaves to go to another company, there will be one or two (or more) other salespeople who follow. Opportunities are aplenty for decent salespeople, and in many cases, the risk pays off. Just be careful not to get in the habit of switching jobs too often, because you run the risk of making it look like you’ll cut and run at the first sign of a shinier object. Still, if an offer is too good to turn down, there’s no reason not to make the jump.
4. A toxic workplace
This is perhaps the best reason to leave a sales job, and, unfortunately, not an uncommon one. A toxic workplace can affect every aspect of your job and bleed into your personal life too. That being said, workplaces seem to be taking a more proactive approach to their employee’s happiness, driven by a desire to appeal to younger generations who value a healthy company culture. But if your employer is still stuck in the past and refuses to leave the toxicity behind, then don’t feel the least bit bad about moving on.
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