It’s an age old conundrum. If you pay a sales rep a salary, they’re less likely to be motivated. Offer them 100% commission only and very few are interested.
FORTUNE 500 ARE DOING IT
Over the years we’ve noticed that all of the very large companies we work with pay a nominal base salary of between $300 and $600 per week. Most of these companies are in the door to door or home improvement space, and it seems a little strange that they would offer a base. In addition to benefiting from name recognition (eg., Scotts Lawn or Home Depot), they get a huge boost by offering a small base salary and a variety of other benefits such as health care or a 401k plan.
CANDIDATES ARE LAZY, JUST LIKE YOU
While the dream is to hire 100% commission-only salespeople, the reality is that it’s several magnitudes more difficult to do so without paying a base or offering any kind of benefits. Have you ever posted your resume online? If not, you should try it. Candidates are bombarded with 10-20 emails a day about various jobs. Many are MLMs or scams of some kind, so candidates are understandably wary of all offers. Candidates approach their job search the way you might approach looking for information online, such as researching a new vendor. There’s so much information to go through, we just don’t have the time anymore. Everything is quickly scanned so that we may rule it out. Job seekers are doing the same thing with the offers they get by email. They’re looking for specific things:
- Is this a scam?
- What company is this?
- Does this opportunity match what I’m looking for?
- How much does it pay?
- Is it commission-only?
- How does the website look?
REACH INTO YOUR POCKET
Can you afford $400-500 per week for an initial period of two or three weeks while you determine if the sales rep is going to work out? The sales rep gets a little security and the ability to pay for a few basic necessities, and you benefit from a much larger candidate pool. At $500 per week, it’s unlikely that your fledgling sales rep will rest on their laurels.
These large companies pay small base salaries because it makes sense. They’ve got a lot of seats to fill and they’ve figured out the most efficient way to reach that goal. While paying a base certainly isn’t a requirement, you’ll notice a huge difference in the numbers and quality of salespeople coming through your door.