The Sales Blog Mailbag always brings interesting requests for blog posts. A recent request asked how best to resign from a sales job. Here’s what I recommend.
Part as Friends
When you plan for certain outcomes and take the actions necessary to obtaining those outcomes, you normally achieve them. No matter how much you disliked your job, your manager, or their company, your outcome is to part as friends. It doesn’t matter if the company is a wreck, your boss was a jerk, and you were miserable beyond belief, you still make it your goal to part as friends.
Anything you say or do when you resign is a statement about who you are. If you are angry, hostile, and boisterous on the way out, that’s who you are. And you gain nothing from behaving badly except for a bad last impression.
Say Thank You
When you resign, say thank you for the opportunity you were given. Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean that you weren’t given an opportunity. Sometimes things, for countless reasons, just don’t work out.
You get to decide who you are, and you are better served by being someone who is gracious and grateful on the way out.
Be Direct, But Not Confrontational
When you are asked why you are leaving, be honest and direct. But don’t be confrontational.
If the boss was a jerk, you might say something like, “I perform better under a different management style.”
If it’s time to move on, you might say, “I’ve learned a lot here, and I have grown. I’m leaving to go pursue a new challenge. Thanks for all you’ve done to prepare me for that challenge.”
I promise you can tell the truth about why you are leaving without being confrontational. You might have to work to find the language, but you can do it. Be honest, direct, and professional on the way out.
Offer to Help With the Transition
Your company may not be in a position to lose you. If that’s the case, offer to help with the transition. Offer to help the new salesperson get acclimated to their territory. Offer to make introductions. If you can offer to take a few phone calls to answer any questions.
If you want to be super-professional, build a transition plan for the next person to take your position. Leave them in a position to succeed. You may not owe your future past employer this kind of help, but when anyone asks about your time or experience there, people will remember the poise, the class, and the professionalism in which you ended the relationship.
And while we are at it . . .
Honor your non-compete. Honor your employment agreement. Give your employer back all of their documentation, all of their training material, and all the rest of their intellectual property. Treat your new past employer exactly as you want to be treated, and treat them how you would want to be treated were you the business owner.
How do you professionally resign from your sales position?
Can you be professional even under bad conditions?
What does the way in which you resign say about you?
What do you want your last impression to be? Why?
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