Posts belonging to Category Performance management

Quit or be Fired? The Choice Might be Yours!

Lose Your Job the Right Way

A conversation today in the sales department:

Your Manager – “You are not getting it done.  Your territory is underdeveloped, and we are prepared to go in a different direction.  We are prepared to terminate you effective immediately.”  He goes on to say, “However, if you would prefer to resign we would be willing to extend some benefits that you would not get otherwise.  We would request you produce a letter of resignation and sign a severance agreement.”

You – “I am not sure of what I should do?  I need to think about it.  I will get back to you tomorrow.”


There is nothing gracious about this moment.  There will potentially be a moment when you realize that you are probably going to be taking your talents elsewhere. Of course it may not be your choice.

Since there is nothing gracious about any of it, you should understand that in most cases as this is not personal, it is business.  Business can be cold sometimes…actually frigid might be a better word.

Let’s talk about a decision that could affect your future.  The implications affect both your current and future employment, and you should know them now as when the going gets rough, you don’t want to be deliberating while steeped in emotion.

Should I Resign?

Most sales professionals will deal with this in their lives at some point.  Whether it is because of lack of ability, weak product, poor territory, out-of-line pricing, or some other factor, it is not uncommon to reach the end of the line with your employer.  The Black sales professional have even a little more to be concerned about as credibility for future jobs comes at a premium.

If you have been on a sales performance program (see BSJ 4/30, Are You on a Sales Performance Program?  Can You Beat it?) you recognize that one of the common features is that there is usually a trigger date; that date which termination is imminent.  On this date you are going to have to make this important decision.

Apart from the obvious reasons for importance, you are faced with some important alternatives.  Here is why it is important:

  • Concerns with Unemployment Compensation –you normally don’t get it if you voluntarily leave your position.
  • Your need for employee benefits – this problem happens whether you resign or are fired.
  • Concerns with credibility and marketability - as it would concern future employers may be preserved. This is not as prevalent in sales, but certainly is true in other occupations.

When you face this moment, you must realize that the sales occupation is a little bit different than many other professions in the fact that terminations are not wholly uncommon.  In almost all situations, the objective of the employer is to quickly end the employment relationship.

At this point, you may want out as well, it is how it is done that is important.  In some states and situations, resigning can rob you of the rights to your unemployment benefits.   These benefits could be your lifeline while you are out of work.

Resigning may give you an opportunity to negotiate the terms of your resignation.  A lot depends on the strength of the ‘case’ against you and how badly they want you out.  Negotiation may be a strong word in this case, but you might be able to get some better terms for your termination.

Should I Get Fired?

Being fired evokes strong emotions.  Obviously it is a still a termination, but it sometimes creates a feeling of powerlessness and victimization.

Aside from the emotional, this termination can have its good and bad points as well:

  • You normally get a severance package. Nothing comes without exacting some price, and in this case it probably will be your right to an employment action of any type.  Remember, once you sign the severance agreement, you are ‘toast’ regarding any action that you may later seek.
  • Most sales professionals don’t get fired for doing something egregiously wrong; they get fired for not producing the right sales numbers.
  • Sales, as an occupation, differs from many other positions in that there is a minimal stigma to getting fired for lack of production or effectiveness.
  • If there is a ‘package’ of some type as an incentive for leaving quietly, you will probably have your noncompete agreement copied and put in front of you as a part of any severance you get.  You may want to negotiate this carefully as your ability to work for another employer is dependent on not having a restriction!

Terminated for Cause?

This is the exception to all of the rules.  If you have done any of the ‘infractions’ that result in a legitimate termination for cause, you could potentially leave with nothing.

These infractions include, but are not limited to:

  • Intentional acts of fraud against the company
  • Stealing from your employer
  • On the job drinking or drug use (as defined by the employee handbook)
  • Intentional breech of company policies
  • Wanton damage to company property

Some Points to Remember

We are talking about sales personnel, and that is a defining point.  I am pointing out the fact that even the best sales professionals find themselves in situations that result in termination.  They move on and find success elsewhere.  It is the way it goes.

When your previous company is contacted regarding your role there, they are extremely limited as to what they will say.  They normally only give the following information:

  • Verification of employment and title
  • Verification of dates of employment
  • Verification of salary at termination

Larger firms stick to these numbers and go no further.  None of this is incriminating.

Make a wise decision based on calculated information.

Always be prepared.

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The Dreaded Mid-Term Performance Review

It is that time again! This post is for all of those professionals, and sales professionals, who are concerned about their mid-term review. The performance review can be a stressful event, a difficult time for many.

Many of us have been there before, and thus the need for this post.  A tough interim or mid-term review is sobering, and if you are in sales it is easy to have a couple of tough quarters.  The importance of this is apparent when it gets to writing.  Use this post, to prepare for this important upcoming event, or to respond to a difficult mid term that has already happened.

Are you currently on a performance program? Remember, you must be on top of your game, and working all of the time.  You might refer to BSJ 4/30/2011, Are You on A Sales Performance Program? Can You Beat it?

Remember, this is the mid-term, and there is some time left to get goals, but you must do something different, or the results will be the same. This post was from last July but applies now as much as any interm period.

Never give up!


If you are with a fairly large organization, you have probably recently experienced an interim or mid-term review.  As trite as it sounds, you knew it was coming; yet it is one of the least enjoyable activities for a sales professional.  Having someone tell you where you stand in comparison to a goal that you had no choice but  agree to.

Historically, that is the nature of sales.  Review Black Sales Journal – 1/10 Preparing for the Performance Appraisal that discusses the performance appraisal process and the sales professional.  These points are applicable here, yet I am highlighting “what is after the interim appraisal” as a result of the urgency getting on track, meeting goals, and having a successful last 5 months.

You Must Do Something Differently!

This is not an issue if you had a great interim review as you are on track, although you need to remain there.  The problem comes when the interim or mid-term was problematic, exposing what even you have to agree are sub-par sales results and as a result low attainment.

When you are in that mode you have reasons to despair and frankly, I can tell you I have been there. It is a place that you don’t want to be as you are up against a clock (actually the calendar) and you know something has got to change, or you won’t be there down the road.

The real deal is that you might not be doing anything wrong, yet you might not be doing enough right.  Something new has to be tried, and now is the time to do it.  I will propose a few things that may help; yet you cannot stop the normal sales process while you execute them.

Those items are as follows:

  • You must increase your prospecting effectiveness. It is a proper activity for even those who are having success.  Please to refer to Black Sales Journal 2/10, Prospecting Tips For Black Sales Professionals.  Making your prospecting activities most effective will include changing, yet it is still an activity that is basically short-term that will yield dividends.
  • Reckon with the numbers game that prospecting represents. There is no doubt that there is a formula that successful prospecting continually requires.  See this in Black Sales Journal 2/28, How Many Prospects Do You Really Need? You must know your success formula, and make it happen.  The formula is different based on your own effectiveness.  I might be able to make my numbers with fewer prospects, based on my own approach and characteristics.
  • Continue to work hard. There is no magic in this statement.  You can increase your effectiveness and recognize your prospecting formula and the numbers that make it work; yet you still can do more.  Here is where you put it into high gear.

Here are some activities that you can do that you might not be doing right now:

  • Utilize networking as a prospect source
  • Use seminars as a prospecting tool

Networking - can be a very effective prospecting source.  It does take work and some planning, yet proper networking will change the prospect base you are exposed to as well as create face-to-face opportunities for prospecting intimacy.  I went deep in this topic in Black Sales Journal 2/21, Networking for the Black Sales Professional.  Using networking effectively is possible in the short term and can be done while the normal prospecting activities continue.

Seminars - can be extremely effective.  Done correctly, this activity can be more effective that networking, yet require more preparation, and potentially some resources.  Black Sales Journal 3/24, Finding Prospects Though A Seminar gets deep into this activity that I am partial to.  Now to make this activity work, you do need to have a group that has some has some commonality in buying habits, product needs, industry type, or other characteristics just as the 3/24 post describes.  Once you pull a group together like this, and deliver a message a message with value, you will potentially have followers, prospects, and some customers that you may never have been exposed to.  It would help to be an expert, or regarded as one, yet not necessary.  If you are not an expert, you should engage one to speak to your group, and as is described in the post, keep meticulous records and do not let anyone in, or out, without their contact information, especially their email.

In Summary

These are tactical activities.  They do not replace normal prospecting but can supplement that activity.  You cannot make it in sales without prospecting and need to face that important issue if you have problems there.

Prospecting is the price of admission to being successful sales professional.  Prospecting Tips For Black Sales Professionals were designed specifically for up and coming Black sales professionals in recognition that if you are going to be in this profession, you will need them to smooth out the difficulties of sourcing prospects.

Be effective and prosper.

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