With changing market conditions and buying practices, it makes sense for some companies to try to find commission only sales reps for their teams.

These commission-only sales reps earn commissions only on the deals they close. Some view this as a cutthroat practice.

But, as we will see, there are some real benefits for the company and the sales rep when a commission-only compensation plan is used.

Why Hire Commission-Only Salespeople?

Commission-only salespeople earn money only when they make successful sales.

This may be what you want as a sales manager if you need to scale your business quickly or want to avoid risk.

Commission-only and salaried salespeople have a lot of similarities. After all, both are sales professionals at heart. But there are differences too.

Salaried salespeople are expensive, and you may need the hoped-for return in closed sales to avoid paying an employee.

As a sales manager, you may spend a lot of time trying to motivate salaried salespeople and incentivize them to make a greater effort.

Your business will pay more taxes for salaried staff and be required to offer benefits – all expensive propositions.

On the other hand, commission-only sales professionals can be hired without a large increase in payroll.

It costs you the same amount to hire the top three commission-only sales reps discovered in a hiring campaign as it does to hire only the top one.

The company isn’t the only one to benefit from a commission-only structure.

This method of payment can give sales reps unlimited earning potential.

It also offers greater job flexibility as the sales rep sets the pace for what work they are willing to put in.

If they slow down in selling, they only hurt their earning potential.

sales reps

Where to Look for Commission-Only Sales Reps

Sometimes the hunt for sales reps can be daunting. But you can find sales reps when you know where and how to look for them.

Commission-only sales applicants often follow similar patterns as the rest of the industry. Consider a few suggestions on how to find these gems.

Give Your Job Advertising Laser Precision

Be strategic in selecting job boards and other candidate sourcing systems. But don’t limit yourself too heavily.

Find ways to target the specific type of sales rep you are looking for – like commission-only sales professionals.

Select keywords in your job listing may attract reps who prefer a commission-only environment.

Use various sources like social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. – to advertise.

This may have the added benefit of reaching individuals who weren’t actively looking for a new sales position.

Use Personal and Professional Networks

Reach out to your colleagues and contacts within your same industry.

You can find talented individuals that are seeking a commission-only job opportunity.

Your own sales team may provide leads, too, since good salespeople don’t just network with customers; they also network with other sales professionals.

How to Hire Commission-Only Sales Reps

You will be spending a fair amount of money hiring candidates.

You should get it right first so you can find the best sales rep candidate and get them started selling for you.

But you want to be smart about hiring. Otherwise, you may quickly face turnover or a low-quality sales rep that needs to bring in more money for your business.

Whether the desired result is finding a sale rep to sell luxury goods or software solutions, consider these steps to give yourself an edge in the recruitment process.

commission only salespeople

Make Your Company Attractive To Commission-Only Salespeople

Attracting talented sales professionals to your company may seem like a dream scenario. But there are proven methods for making your business stand out.

Following these simple steps can catch the eye of commission-only sales reps looking for a better situation to practice their art.

Your website is the first place that sales rep candidates will go to get an understanding of your company.

Make the right impression on a sales rep candidate by keeping your website professional and modern.

It should include multiple pages, functional links, relevant pictures, and contact information.

Strive to avoid generic-looking websites, as this may make sales reps think you are a scam company – or at least not invested in your company image.

Have a professional office space. Even though you are hiring salespeople for commission-only positions, having a good meeting environment is necessary.

Give attention to your company’s online presence. Candidates will look at company reviews to see your reputation in the industry.

Respond to negative reviews professionally and constructively.

Develop Your Sales Compensation Structure

Many compensation methods can be used to pay sales reps. Of course, the goal with commission-only sales representatives is to simplify the commission structure with no salary offered.

There are many benefits to this structure for both businesses and sales reps. It helps reduce a company’s risk because the pay is based on selling.

Commission-only sales reps like this compensation because it often means a higher commission percentage and provides a fantastic resource for maintaining high sales motivation.

Other viable commission structures may make sense in certain situations. Often a small base salary is a means to entice more interest in your commission-only job.

There are also commission structures that allow for a draw against the commission to give sales reps the ability to get paid against future sales.

Whatever method you choose, ensure that candidates fully understand the ins and outs of the structure.

Be open and honest about the pay and seek feedback from the sales team over time. This will help convert candidates into new sales hires when the time comes.

The Recruitment Process for Hiring Commission-Only Sales Reps

It’s time to hire new commission-only sales reps! Recruiting sales reps may be stressful, but it will be easier when you’ve done the footwork upfront.

This hiring process may be handled in-house by sales managers or through a sales agency specializing in matching candidates with companies.

The quality candidates you find – on your own or through the assistance of an agency – will be evaluated through interviews.

During this vetting process, you will be looking for a good mix of sales knowledge, experience, and soft skills.

Remember that some things can be learned after the fact. Teaching sales reps when they join the company should be standard practice for all sales teams.

However, sales reps must have enough skills to act competently and confidently with customers.

sales representative

Fully Evaluating Sales Representatives

It is crucial that the person you select as your next commission-only sales rep can interact well with your clients.

If they cannot sell your products and services effectively, neither they nor you will make money.

Give appropriate attention to experience and ensure they have well-developed soft skills to support the sales environment.

Soft skills are essential, meaning they will excel at any employment opportunity.

  • Does their attire and speech display professionalism?
  • Do they possess problem-solving skills?
  • Can they handle stress well?
  • Are they able to work with a variety of co-workers?

Potential hires should be evaluated for their fit into the current sales team and the company culture.

Seek the answer to these questions as you evaluate the personality traits of potential sales hires:

  • What work ethic does the sales rep display?
  • Do they have high emotional intelligence?
  • Are they reliable and conscientious in carrying out assigned tasks?

Onboarding a Sales Rep

New commission-only salespeople need to be onboarded properly with your company. There’s no such thing as too much training.

The more knowledge sales reps can gain about selling for you – including your proven methods and your standard sales cycle – the better off they will support your sales efforts.

Even talented commission-only salespeople with a lot of sales experience will need to learn your specific sales process.

Consider doing training paid for new sales reps. This will ease them into the new position without worrying excessively about paying the bills before the commissions start to flow.

Monitor Sales Reps’ Performance and Engagement

Each new sales rep hire should be closely monitored until they have a proven track record with your company.

Use this approach to keep sales reps from treading water and feeling lost.

You can successfully facilitate sales reps’ performance through ongoing training. Find a time when you and they can have informed conversations about their progress toward sales goals.

Make sure your company supports a healthy work environment for new commission-only salespeople.

If commission sales reps need help making sales, it may lead to discouragement.

When discouragement goes unchecked, it can lead to disengagement, and eventually, you will have sales reps leaving the company.

Targeting salespeople for an extra boost of encouragement and providing incentives to sell is needed to keep them in the sales role until they find their stride.