What Selling Behaviors Would Change if You Worked Straight Commission?
When I started my sales career, I was a commission only salesperson. I wouldn’t classify this as a gentle transition into the selling world, but it definitely made me work. Not having a base salary is a really great way to learn and develop positive selling behaviors, even if you are brand new and haven’t had any formal sales training. Hungry salespeople tend to be motivated salespeople.
Now, let me explain. I do not suggest that you read this article, and then move everyone on your sales team to a commission only pay agreement. You don’t have to take that step to encourage your team to think about what it would be like if they didn’t have a salaried base pay. Encouraging them to mentally step into a role where they were solely responsible for their entire paycheck can help them understand some of these positive behaviors.
So, back to my original question: what selling behaviors would change if you worked straight commission? The first thing that you might hear as a response is the start time. When you work on commission, you are up with the sun working on nonrevenue-producing work such as research, writing proposals and thank-you notes. You stick to a schedule that is centered around revenue time. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is used for revenue-producing activities only, like prospecting, follow up with clients, meeting referral partners, and networking.
Time To Master Selling:
A new salesperson asked me how long it would/should take to get masterful at sales. I answered his question with a question: “How long would it take you to get masterful at sales if you worked straight commission?” He laughed and replied, “Got it.” Not having a base salary means that you have to master the art and science of selling quickly, or else face an empty wallet and an empty dinner table! The secret to quickly learning sales techniques is to ask for advice, read books and blog posts, and practice, practice, practice.
When your paycheck comes only from commission, you are only rewarded for results, not for activity or effort. There is a big difference between being busy, and being productive. The punch out time is based more on the numbers in the pipeline and less on the numbers on the clock. They make one more phone call, one more stop or reach out for one more referral. This behavior helped me tremendously throughout my career because I was the only salesperson showing up while competitors with base salaries were at home watching TV.
What selling behaviors would change if you worked straight commission?