Home > Recruiting > No More Commission Only Jobs!

No More Commission Only Jobs!

I have a theory; no Inone wants commission only jobs.

In this day and age, if someone is going to work on commission only, they would start their own company, hold all of the equity, and keep all of the profits.

I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer job candidates (even recent college grads) are interested in working without a salary.  Here are some of my theories as to why:

- The Economy – Yes, I said it.  Even though the strongest small business entrepreneurs ignore the “Economy hoopla”, the reality is that the post-2008 business environment has made everyone a bit skiddish about taking risks.  Yes, there are still people out there who have guts and will take a risk, but the majority of sales talent on the market are taking moves to protect themselves.

- Twenty-First Century Selling is Relationship Selling – Relationship selling takes time; time that I don’t have when I need to make a sale YESTERDAY in order to feed my family.  For most industries, relationship selling is the right strategy.  Our compensation plans should reflect how business is now being done.

-  You’re Getting What You Paid For… Nothing for Nothing – If you want a commission only sales person, that’s cool.  Just make sure your business model fits.  You need a short sales cycle (single call to 1-month), a low value average price, and a low cost of engagement (the customer doesn’t have to change much in order to begin using your product).  If your company, product, client, or sales cycle are the opposite of any of these, you’re probably going to have to cough up some cash and pay a salary, draw, or guarantee base.

Times have changed, and with it so have expectations about sales compensation.

What have you observed about sales compensation expectations when interviewing candidates?

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

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Categories: Recruiting
  1. JO
    September 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    This article goes against the grain of my personal philosophy. It challenges the way I see the world. High risk, high reward is “American” and a win-win for everyone. That’s what I told myself before I realized I’m a philosopher on an island. 20-something talent isn’t interested in living off what they kill. Today I’m running a business that I own (high reward makes me happy and keeps me working hard) while the sales staff is receiving competitive salaries, generous benefits, and fair commission/bonuses (security and culture makes them happy and keeps them working hard). That’s my new win-win. Everyone is happy, the business is growing, staff stay for the long term… The market taught me to get over myself. Good blog, Jamar.

  2. September 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    It’s hard to imagine a commission-only sales job being viable in a market in which anyone can buy or sell most products direct. You can buy an MRI machine over the Internet (on eBay even!) So the only reason to go through a sales person is if they have a reason to develop a relationship with you over the long term, not a need to maximize their commission.

    Also, if I am selling on commission for you, why not go into business myself and take a greater commission?

    • September 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      You’re totally right. The lure of entrepreneurship holds back so many “commission-only” sales people.

      Sales channels have also changed – you’re right.

      I think you hit the nail on the head – relationships are the key to 21st century selling.

      Compensation systems should be commensurate!

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