How to Prevent Your Candidate from Accepting a Counter Offer

After months and months of searching for the brightest new member of your sales team, you’ve finally found The One. You’ve extended the offer, and the candidate has given verbal acceptance. You can finally breathe! Suddenly, something changes.  Your phone rings. It’s your candidate. And you know from the tone of her voice that this conversation isn’t going to go well.

When a salesperson receives a counter offer from their employer, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They may still be thrilled at your opportunity, but loyalty, fear of change, and the promise of a shiny new bonus structure and two extra weeks of vacation from their manager is now standing in the way. You can’t prevent a candidate from accepting a counter offer, but when it comes to locking down your ideal candidate, the best defense is always a good offense.

Follow these tips to help reduce the chances that your next prospect will accept a counter offer:

  1. Discuss counter offers in the interview process. As soon as you identify a candidate as a strong possibility, discuss the subject head-on. Find out what their company typically does when a salesperson resigns. If there is no history of counteroffers, you can rest easy. If, on the other hand, they fight tooth and nail to keep their top producers, you can then outline a strategy.
  2. Prepare the candidate for all possibilities. Counter offers can be effective because the employee is taken by surprise. They may feel flattered at the lengths to which their manager is willing to go to keep them and that flattery is a strong lure. Outline all of the ways in which you’ve seen other sales mangers deliver counter offers, that way the candidate is prepared and will think to himself, “They told me this might happen.”
  3. Keep in touch. If a candidate is getting nothing but love from their employer and they haven’t heard from you in two days, you’re going to lose the battle. Ask the candidate to reach out to you once they’ve resigned. Those conversations are always tough, so let them know that you’ll be there to offer a friendly voice.  You can also follow up with a friendly email outlining your benefits plan, for example.
  4. Never assume. Even if you’re 99.9 percent sure that a candidate will reject a counter offer, you can never be too The days following an offer of employment are critical. Stay in touch, stay upbeat, and never assume it’s a slam dunk.

How to Hedge Your Bets

As long as there are jobs, there will be counter offers made and accepted, especially in sales. Talent is at a premium, and sales managers aren’t going to give up an A-player easily. Walking salespeople through the hiring process is an art form, and it can take years to perfect. If you have ever lost sales talent to a counter offer, you can reduce the chances of it happening again by working with a niche recruiter. Professional recruiters have learned how to handle salespeople, guiding them through the process and preparing them for counter offer situations. They have the time to invest and they have perfected the finesse to help candidates see that they were seeking new opportunities for a reason.

If your enterprise software organization is looking for ways to counteract counter offers, the team at Strategic Search Solutions can help. We recruit exclusively for the enterprise software sector, and we have developed a recruiting, interviewing, and hiring plan that will help connect your organization with highly motivated candidates who accept your offer and who will drive results once they are in place. For more information about our proven processes, contact us today.

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