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A 100% Commission Sales Job is Not an Actual Job


Robby

I run across a lot of jobs and jobseekers here in the greater Indianapolis area. And there’s one type of “job” that frustrates me to no end. It’s the sales position that’s paid 100% on commission. That may be fine for some people, but it’s not a job. It’s something else.

The most straightforward definition for the word “job” I could find was this:

a paid position of regular employment.

So what’s a “100% commission sales position?” It’s one in which a person makes sales of products or services, and the entirety of their income comes out of the revenue from that sale.

Salesman
© Flickr User bellyacres

It might seem like any job is a 100% commission job, since if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. But a commissioned sales job does not connect effort to compensation, it connects sales to compensation. Even the best, hardest-working salesperson can’t guarantee that their work will produce results. Sometimes, people just aren’t buying.

I’m not the only person who is wary of this concept. The 80/20 Sales Leader points out one more potential issue:

Another challenge unique to 100% commission sales compensation plans is you lose the ability to hold salespeople accountable for performing administrative activities. These activities include attending training sessions and sales meetings, working from the office on specific days, and updating records in your company’s contact management system. If a 100% commission salesperson doesn’t do what you ask, so what? What have they got to lose?

So what is a 100% commission sales job? It’s a business opportunity, sure. It’s a chance to make money, absolutely. But it’s a relationship where you are taking virtually all of the risk, and the company is investing virtually nothing in you up front.

That’s perfectly okay. It can be a great way to learn about sales or develop a career, and it can be lucrative. But it’s not a job. A job is an exchange of risk, where the employer invests money and the employee invests time.

Decide if this is what you expect for you apply for–or offer–a 100% commission sales position. But keep in mind that if the only thing connecting the worker to the work is the money they get paid when they succeed, there will always be other opportunities available.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, August 12 2014 » Ethics and Fraud

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