Now I’m really pushing it with this one as I risk a massive telling off from @GlazingGuru. If any of you were watching Twitter earlier on this afternoon you will have seen a bit of a debate about sales people being on paid on a commission only basis and if it was a good thing or a bad thing. @GlazingGuru was of the opinion that it was bad. I however, being a commission only salesman am of the opposite opinion. Let me explain why…
Nick’s (@GlazingGuru) argument was that commission only sales staff feel un-invested, not that vital a part in the business machine, and in return, the sales staff only treat their job as a job, putting themselves first rather than the company. I disagree. I must say now that I work in a family run business, so I have a slightly different take on everything. But being paid commission only really does make me work as hard as possible, every day, every week. The thought of not taking home something at the end of the week does not sit well with me at all, especially at this time of year when things start to slow right down.
I think the theory of a commission only sales person having a lack of dedication for the company is a theory that cannot be given to all performance related pay staff. Look at it this way, a sales person relies on that company to be in business in order to have leads given to him/her. It is in the interest for that sales person to sell as much as possible so that the business remains open. If that business’s sales staff weren’t dedicated and didn’t sell well, the business would fail. So I’d go as far to say that commission only sales people have an inherent dedication to what ever company they work for.
Another point. Before my dad owned the company we work for, he worked for the previous owners well before they decided to retire. When he came the company double it’s turnover and increased it’s profit margin by more than double. He was paid the most of any sales person there at any time in the history of the company. He also did all the late appointments, took the most time with his customers, had almost perfect paper work and had the best relationships with customers. His dedication to the company, even though he held no shares in it or had no aspirations to one day own the business, was massive.
Now I will admit that commission only staff probably do less well when it comes to the remedial side of the business. Once they are paid they tend not to be the most enthusiastic member of staff when it comes to sorting out problems and dealing with some awkward customers.
The way I see it, putting sales people on a small to medium size basic wage takes away the earning incentive. I’m not saying that the ‘unlimited earning potential’ notion is completely true because it’s not. There’s only so many leads you can work in a week. But from the experiences explained to me from those that have worked on a commission only basis as well as basic, the incentive to work harder just isn’t there. Nor is the feeling that the company is making you feel part of the team and that the company cares. That is something which I blame on bosses, not the sales staff.
Like I said, I’m a commission only sales person and have been since I started 6 years ago. To give you some idea of what I have earned, £800 weeks have been fairly common. £1000 weeks as well haven’t been too rare. I think my best week to date has been £1560. Not bad for a young guy with little experience compared to most out there.
There are pros and cons to commission only sales people. Not all are perfect but not all are bad either.