The title of this column? You say that would never happen at your company?

It really does happens every day throughout our industry, especially when it comes to salespeople! However, that isn’t how the story is explained internally. What am I talking about? Let me give you an example:

I got a call recently from a top industry salesperson who told me that he was being forced out of his company. Why? As he told me: “They are cutting my commission because I am selling too much! So, I don’t really have any choice but to quit!”

Being forced to quit by being penalized for selling too much?

When I tell stories like this about salespeople, everyone laughs because it’s so illogical. Yet, I’ve heard the same and similar tales over and over through the years and nothing changes. It still continues to happen, and quite possibly within your own company!

So, how is the story thereafter explained or rationalized within the company? “He (or she) just wasn’t a team player — he/she didn’t want what’s best for the company.” Yet, the reality is the company wasn’t concerned about the logical best interests of a good employee.

Understand that penalizing an employee for doing a good job is never in the best interest of any company. It forces out the best people, which tends to lose the business that they’ve developed with their loyal friends and customers. Furthermore, it tells the rest of the company’s employees that it doesn’t pay to do a good job. Also, if an employee goes to work for a competitor, they almost always drag along many good customers!

In addition, there also are personal issues that force the best people to quit their jobs and go to work for someone else. There are managers who dislike or are even jealous of the best people and do everything they can to make their jobs unbearable. And there is always the problem of the owner’s family members who work in key company positions who let personal issues override or downplay the best efforts of others.

How do you hang onto your best and hardest-working employees? LISTEN! THINK! Don’t dismiss or become angry at any employee who comes to you to complain! You want to hold onto this employee, so try to eliminate the problems!

Ask: How important is this particular employee to the success of the company? If the employee quit today, would it hurt the company’s business? And how long will it take, and how much revenue would be lost to hire and train someone else to do the job? Even then, would the new employee be anywhere near as good?

Understand that above all things, the supply house business is founded on friendships and relationships. If you don’t understand that, your business simply won’t survive.

Not true? Take a look at the concern companies that list their products on eBay and Amazon show when it comes to receiving positive feedback. It’s a fact that many will go to extraordinarily great lengths to make sure all their customers are satisfied. So, even though no personal contact may be involved, maintaining good relationships and a good company image is key to their success!

How does your company, office, branch or department show that relationships matter? By retaining the best employees! High turnover in any company, branch, office or department is a sign of poor management.

The question is this: Do your competitor’s employees all wish they could come to work for you because yours is the best company to work for, or do your employees wish they worked somewhere else?