Counter Offers

If you are reading this article then congratulations may be in order. After a potentially grueling career search you have a job offer in your hands and are feeling on top of the world. That is, until you realize that you have to tell your current employer that you are leaving. The purpose of this article is not to go into all of the ins and outs of leaving a position (not to mention the emotions) but to address the possibility of a counter offer. Having placed hundreds of sales professionals over the years we usually see most organizations just letting you go. Be gracious, don’t burn any bridges and don’t take it personally if they don’t try and keep you. Let’s discuss those cases where your employer does try and extend a counter offer.

Before we explore what a counter offer may mean to you let’s consider what you leaving your employer means to them. Some of this is emotional and some of this is business. Starting with the emotional, your employer (boss) can feel betrayed, angry, competitive, scared, etc. Bottom line, they now have a problem on their hands with your position open. They may try to fix this problem by stroking your ego, throwing some money at you or making some promises to try and make you happy.

We have seen sales reps accept the counter offer and stay with their current employer and it worked out. We’ve also seen some bad endings. For example, we have seen first-hand sales reps that we worked with get laid-off within 6 months of accepting a counter. If the boss needs to let someone go, you have made it really easy to pick you. The bigger picture that we see, is that a little attention and a little more money does not solve the reasons that you were open to look for a new position in the first place.

If you are sick of four overnight stays a week and they bump your base salary by ten thousand dollars a year you still have four overnight stays to contend with. What does it say about your employer that you have to threaten to leave to get action? We liken it to threatening to leave and/or cheat on your spouse to get them to change. Lasting, sincere and permanent change can usually only come from your partner, or in this case, employer.

Should you desire a raise, improvement in working conditions or another change we suggest you initiate that independent of looking for a new sales position. If you ask for changes and the company works with you in a satisfactory way you may want to wait it out. If the results are less than what you are looking for it may be time to look for a new position. Once you have made the decision to accept an offer from another company the wise decision is to follow-through with it.