When I sold software, we had basically one competitor. It was great because that competitor was more expensive and had terrible customer service, so needless to say, it wasn’t difficult to get people to switch. After they switched there was a conversation I had with each customer about the other company’s counter offer. It never failed, after they called to cancel their service with them, they, out of panic, offered them the software at a cheaper price than they had been paying for years. “Isn’t that a little insulting?” I would ask, most of them agreed. Why had they been paying so much when they can clearly charge less for that same software only after they said they were leaving? This is the same premise behind companies giving a counteroffer when employees give notice.
There is a reason those customers wanted to switch software companies, just as there is a reason employees give notice to their employers. Counteroffers are often made out of panic, I believe the same is true for the acceptance of them. Again, you wanted to leave that company for a reason, don’t forget that over the glossy sound of more money or a new title. Those reasons will likely come up again after the glow of a raise or promotion wears off. Think about it…why do you have to threaten to leave your job just to get paid what you’re worth?
Here is the ugly truth behind counters. They are disguised as compliments, a warm and fuzzy, feel good in the moment promise of better things to come. The ugly side of it is that the overwhelming majority of counter offers simply don’t work in the long run. You will always be the guy\gal who wanted to leave, which subconsciously breeds resentment among the troops. You run the risk that you will stay on and be pushed out anyway. According to U.S. News, 70-80% of people who accept counteroffers end up leaving anyway or being let go within a year.
So, if you do get a solid offer with a new company that you feel good about accepting, make the commitment without looking back. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
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