Commission only sales V Base plus Commission sales

Commission only sales V Base plus Commission sales

As a new business or start up the one thing you ponder on is sales staff and the dream is to get commission only people in, offer a high commission and get selling, job done let’s go the pub, but like anything it’s not that simple, and the effort you put in could be the making or breaking of your business. Here are a few things to consider:

Your sales Cycle

Is your turn around on business quite quick? Commission only people need payment as soon as possible, that’s their reason for working for you. If it is over a longer period you may need to offer some kind of draw down, like financial companies will offer loans for their Insurance sales people until they get their first sale.

The recruitment process

Be congruent in all you tell sales reps, they do have a network, and one white lie could bring your whole web of deceit down on your head. Normally commission only reps are found through an initial seminar / mass interview type process, from a mass media advertisement. If during the first seminar they ask how much they could expect to earn, which you would expect they would, answer succinctly and back it up with facts to show you know your business inside and out. Then invite those interested to the next stage which should be a personal interview. I would always test their skills at this stage with a role play, most experienced sale reps will enjoy this and do well. Then; a last interview to confirm and offer positions.

The best way to find a seasoned skilled rep is to learn all about sales for yourself, and any avid reader to my blogs will know I was a sales rep for UK blue chip companies for over 10 years, and I will revel in our own recruitment process, when we start this quarter. But you can learn about sales from seminars, books and the good old world wide web. One thing is for sure the determination and autonomous nature of winners is hard to find, but it’s a numbers game don’t give up!

It is important to create a value to the job and not make it easy to get and easy to leave, sales staff will not see the role as important as you feel it is, so make the recruitment process not as easy as; one quick interview and ‘yes welcome we will give it a go’ attitude.

Be realistic

OTE or; On Target Earnings must be realistic, and personally I would always go with a conservative target. We offer 60% commission on media sales from our Thailand business directory website so that is 3,000 THB ($95) per average order value sale, we believe that a sales person with full office support, leads, and phones can make 16 appointments a week, I personally have done this, so one sale per day from four appointments over 4 days (with one office day) is very conservative. One sale per day over an average month is 60,000 THB a month (around $2000) over 2 times the average salary here in Bangkok.

One sale from 4 appointments per/day is conservative as the average sales person converts one in three appointments they visit.

 Sales support

The very least you can offer your commission only sales staff is unrivalled sales support, give them the same, if not more training than you would salaried members of staff, and also they need a lot of encouragement, and rewards. Make sure they can reach the office at any time to get in touch with you to answer any questions they may have with a client. Go on site visits with your sales staff and show them the support you are offering.

Training and tools

With all the will in the world; the best way is to train a few good people together, but this is not always possible so your initial training should be uniformed and the same for each rep to make sure they all have equal opportunities within the business. Always give them more than they need and try to make sure they ask for nothing and are motivated when they leave your office, after all when they go off to see your clients they are taking your brand with them, it’s a cruel world out there and they will need constant motivation from the support team.

Learning and experience

I tell my daughters a job is not a bad thing, but they say: 

“Dad you have always told us to; ‘mind our own business’ and ‘never farm another man’s field’, and ‘you’ll never get rich as an employee’, is all that stuff Kiyosaki says rubbish now?”

“Ahaa I reply, Jobs are great things if you are being offered the training and skills in return the time invested, a job is a bad thing when you are purely trading time for money!”

 Offer continued training so that your comm. only sales staff they feel that they are also learning new skills, offer seminars and skills building sessions, these all go a long way to ensure everyone is happy. Ask Google bosses what a happy office environment and staff means, and how this affects the bottom line.

Your sales process must be water tight

You will regardless of how good your product is, have a lot of turnover of commission only sales staff, so the next person must have the same training as the last person and they must be fitted into the system as soon as possible, a Comm. only new recruit needs to get out there as soon as possible to earn money and feel that it is working for them, they will not appreciate being told that the next training session on your products is next month!  Have scripts, Power points, and the same sales tools and materials for each new rep and make sure they receive the same process each time.

Don’t be stingy

Offer the highest commissions you can without leaving yourself hungry. Rewards like the possibility of a base salary plus commission after a qualifying period, company cars, phones, and laptops for reaching certain milestones will  create employee loyalty.


Treat your sales reps with respect and never treat them any less than your paid staff. They are actually vital to your business. If you are in tune as any good sales manager is to the different motivating factors between the different members of your sales team, then you can bring out the best in them, and they in return will reward you with a healthy bottom line.