Job security. Guaranteed wage. Reliability. Loyalty and contracts. All things that self employed sales people don’t have the luxury of. An employed sales person does have these advantages. So it’s often said that in order for self employed sales people to survive and make a living, they have to get forceful, use hard-sell tactics to make sure they make a sale just to get paid.

So, can we lay the blame of the bad reputation of our sales force at the feet of self employed sales people? Or is there more to it?

I am self employed

For disclosure, although I work for our family run business, I am in fact self employed. This though is an exception rather than a rule for most. It’s different at our place. I have the security knowing the business is in my family and will at some point, all being well, be in the hands of my brother and myself. So I do have job security. The business is also very strong, with plenty of leads and good sales figures. I never have to worry about earning a wage.

The same though cannot be said for the self employed sales staff that are currently working in our industry. They are under considerable pressure to perform, knowing that if they don’t sell they will either get a pittance of a basic or nothing at all. It is for this reason that many much prefer to be employed with a good basic wage, and are happy to top that up with a reasonable commissions structure.

That pressure, the risk of not selling in the week, the prospect of not being paid, can force many self employed staff to sell in the manner that many, including myself detest. Hard-sell, pressure tactics are often used to make sure they sell something. What the home owner thinks about it becomes irrelevant.

But who is to blame? Is it the sales person? Should they tow the professional line, selling the right way, the ethical way, even though they might incur a quiet spell and not get paid? Is it the company allowing that person to sell for them on their behalf? Should they be employing that person? Giving them the job security and backing.

For me, it’s a mixture of both. But I also believe that it’s now time to invest in our sales staff and put the age of self employed sales people behind us.

Time to move on

Job prospects and job security almost seems like a given these days. So that fact that a person can work for a window company, selling for them, but potential earn nothing after a weeks work is beyond me. Like I said, my position is very different to the mass majority.

Some could argue, even some self employed people, that being self employed gives them the freedom to move around from company to company when they feel the time is right. But does this really go on? Do people really have the time to expend on uprooting just as they settle down at their current place? I suspect not.

We have to remember that there are big benefits to employing sales staff. To begin with, that person who has just become employed should feel like the company has their back, and put faith in them enough to give them a decent salary and job prospects. That equals a happy and productive worker, who perhaps now won’t feel the need to harass poor old Mr & Mrs Smith into a vastly over priced full window and door replacement contract.

And for the company, they get to employ a motivated a productive member of staff who, in theory, will be going out and representing their business in a positive light. If they’re good at what they do, they should be able to bring in a high level of business without going down the hard-sell route.

This is of course the dream scenario, and the reality is much different. But I do feel that if the industry moved towards fuller employment of sales staff and got rid of self employed positions and the risks they bring, then perhaps it would allow us to take one step forward to ridding the tarnished reputation of the industry.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Are you a self employed sales person? If so, it would be great to hear from you via the comments section below.

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