One Tip That’ll Reduce First Year Turnover

#1 Key for Reducing Sales Turnover

When you recruit a new sales candidate you talk about all the good things they’ll experience with your company.

You talk about how the compensation plan is exceptional, the products are revolutionary, and the leadership is immune to failure.

When you have a rock star candidate you’d like to bring on board, it’s not uncommon to do whatever it takes to get them hired.

Sometimes this means going the extra mile to sweeten the deal.

Stand up for what’s right, in small matters and large ones, and always do what you promise.
— Reuben Mark, Chairman and CEO Colgate-Palmolive

At some point during the recruitment period, you’ll make a few promises.

You’ll find yourself saying something like this…….

  • “If you close three deals in the first three months, we’ll bump up your base salary.”

  • “If a sales leadership role opens up, it’ll be yours.”

  • “You’ll be eligible for this year’s bonus, even though you’ve started midway through the bonus cycle.”

  • "We’ll change your title after the first six months.”

  • “We’ll promote you in the first year. We’re growing so fast, it’ll happen.”

All budding relationships need trust, and nothing hurts a fledgling relationship more than neglecting to follow through on a promise.

Once the new recruit has settled in, and the job is well underway, promises are all too easy to forget.

When employers don’t keep their promises, employees lose trust and respect in leadership and turnover ensues. Intent is never enough.


Avoid new employee turnover by keeping your promises….

There are explicit and implied promises bestowed on the new hire. The explicit promises include benefits, salary, OTE numbers, reporting structure, and other hard static variables.

Explicit promises are contractual and in writing.

Many of the broken promises, the ones that cause turnover, are implied and not found in a written job offer.

They are ‘expectations’ and are sometimes referred to as a “Psychological Contract.”

Employees start formulating expectations even at the earliest stages of the interview process. It’s part of being human. As a hiring manager, you form expectations about the employee too. You expect they won’t subvert you, they’ll work hard when no one’s watching, and they will do their best to perform and hit their quota.

These implicit expectations exist only in the human mind.

However, when they are broken, trust is eroded.

Avoid breaking trust and losing credibility with these three tips:

1. First, recognize the power of clarity. Focus on communicating clearly during the interview process. Be clear and don’t over promise or allude to situations that aren’t happening.

This is a good opportunity to ‘manage expectations.’

For example, don’t say your new hire will walk into a thriving territory where deals are happening full of pipeline, if that isn’t the case.

2. Take notes during the recruitment process. Document in detail the promises you make. Be methodical, meticulous, and precise. Hold yourself accountable to the commitments you make during this time.

If you make promises that are soon forgotten (by YOU), you’re new hire will still be counting on you to deliver your side of the deal. This can lead to damaged employee engagement.

Eventually the employee will begin to look for another role with one of your competitors.

3. Note milestone dates linked to the promises made in your calendar. You will build more credibility if your new employee doesn’t have to remind you to follow through on your promises.

New hires leave when they feel promises haven’t been kept.

This is both expensive and unnecessary. Remember to make an extraordinary effort to keep your promises and execute them fastidiously. 


If your chances of fulfilling your promises are small, don’t make them.

Employees stay with companies when they are confident in leadership. One of the best ways to cement trust in leadership is to commit to doing what you say you’re going to do.

Employees judge you on what you do, not your intentions.

It’s easy to neglect promises once you’ve got a new hire on board, but in the long run, it’s a losing strategy.

I interview sales candidates every day who are looking to make a change from their current employer.

When I ask them why they’re thinking about leaving, many times they say their employer hasn’t followed through on their promises.

The employee is disenchanted and no longer trusts leadership.

Make it Happen

As a leader, it’s important to take an honest look at your own behavior.

If you want to get better at building trust by keeping your promises and reducing turnover, ask yourself the following:

  • What are the steps you need to take to communicate clear expectations?

  • What promises have you made that you can shore up today?

  • What promises can you stop making so you can avoid setting the wrong expectations?

  • Are you consistently following through on your commitments to yourself and your team?

  • Do you believe your new hires are clear regarding expectations?

  • What can you do to hold yourself accountable?

Restoring trust after it’s been lost is harder than building trust over time.

If you make a concerted effort to actively establish, grow, and foster trust with your new employees you’ll be on the path to increased sales revenues and reduced turnover.

You’ll also get the added benefit of maximizing your personal credibility as a leader.