Begin with probation. If objectives aren’t being met, the job is not getting done, or if your broker is not being responsive, you need to be clear about where you see their performance versus your objectives. It is usually better to correct the problem than “off with their heads” at the first sign of trouble. There is a learning curve, lost time, lost sales and extra expense in getting a new broker up to speed—and your options in a given market may be limited.
You need to clearly state objectives that need to be accomplished and problems that need to be fixed within a time frame:
- Be frank and concise in explaining the situation.
- Put it in writing. CC key people at brokerage.
- Follow up to see if the problems have been fixed.
- If you suspect that it is unlikely they will come around, discretely begin to interview for a replacement.
Our preference is to call the broker—account manager and president—and inform them that you are terminating them. Review the notice period, wish them well (it’s a small world) and follow up in writing. There is a lot of consolidation going on within the natural industry, and this consolidation often means sales managers lose their jobs. It is in your best interest that you act professionally in the exit process so as to “not burn any (future) bridges.”
This content is excerpted from the Natural Products Field Manual, Sixth Edition, The Sales Manager’s Handbook, written by Bob Burke and Rich McKelvey. To learn more about or purchase the Natural Products Field Manual, visit the Natural Products Consulting Institute website.