When an employee exits your sales team, it impacts not just your company but also your clients. Whether team members leave because they have found a new position or they have been laid off, there’s more to their departure than gathering their badge and laptop. You must also communicate this staffing change to clients.

Rick Gibbs, a performance specialist at Insperity, says that while this can feel like a challenging conversation, you can use the discussion to strengthen your client relationships. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Gibbs’ guidance on how to announce to clients that an employee has left your company.

Prepare in advance. Before informing your clients, consider what you want to say and what you do not want to reveal. In general, Gibbs recommends being straightforward by saying something like, “Tim is no longer with the company. We look forward to introducing you to your new contact, Debra, who has 15 years of experience serving clients in your industry.”

Alert clients ahead of time. When possible, let clients know about an employee’s upcoming departure, including their last day and the client’s new contact. If the change is due to a promotion, let clients in on the good news, says Gibbs. This puts the transition in a more positive light.

Review accounts that may depart. If you are concerned a client may leave due to the transition, Gibbs says you may want to ask to meet with them in addition to notifying them in writing. Be sure to explain your plan to serve them moving forward.

Assign support staff. It’s important that your clients feel cared for and like they are a priority. If you can’t assign a new sales rep immediately, Gibbs suggests appointing an experienced team member as the interim point of contact.

Create a transition plan. It helps to have a plan in place before a team member departs, but if you don’t, you should outline responsibilities of the exiting employee. Gibbs says you should create a timeline for relevant internal and client meetings, focusing on major deadlines.

Meet with clients. When a sales rep leaves, it’s helpful to schedule a virtual meeting with each of their clients. Gibbs says this is a great opportunity to ask, “What are we doing right and how can we improve?”

Introduce the new contact person. Try to introduce the replacement as soon as possible. Even if one of your team members is temporarily handling the account, an introduction can help reassure the client that they will be cared for.

Give more than expected. When possible, try to over deliver, whether that means meeting a deadline early or offering an unexpected discount. Gibbs says overdelivering is a way to show clients that you keep your promises and value their business.

When a sales rep leaves, it’s up to the sales manager to communicate the departure to clients. You can help create a smooth transition from one sales rep to another by planning what you want to say and reviewing who will take over specific account responsibilities. It’s also a good idea to deliver more than the client is counting on. This can help show your clients that no matter who is handling their account, they are important to your business.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Rick Gibbs is a performance specialist at Insperity. He has more than 30 years of experience in human resources and specializes in performance management, employee relations and leadership development.