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What does a 100% commission model say about your company?

  • You Are Underfunded 
  • You Lack Confidence in Your Offerings
  • You Have No Respect  for Experience & Skills
  • You offer No Real Support
  • You have a shady “See What Sticks” Attitude
  • You Use Deceptive Bait N Switch Job Posting Details, What Else Are You Hiding?

It’s just plain disrespectful. Anyone willing to hire an employee at 100% commission, doesn’t care about that persons’ previous experience. It could be a McDonald’s Fry cook for all they care; never mind the 30 years of professional experience they might have. They are cheap, underfunded, and can’t afford to push their own product.  Just how long do you expect that company to be around?  And a sales rep that will do anything to earn that low an income (hello desperate measures) will certainly risk putting the company in a bad light when pitching the product.

What’s worse, the company is claiming “the product will sell itself“. If that were really true, then they would pay you a base rate and save the money they would have to pay in “high” commissions.

I wouldn’t, nor will I ever accept any company that insists on such an out-dated pay structure. The turnover rates are EXTREMELY HIGH (something like 99% of commission-only sales reps fails to make a LIVABLE wage, and are forced to leave for greener pastures) and it’s nearly impossible to find “A Players” willing to accept this type of position.

What’s more, those sales pros who do manage to succeed in a 100% commission sales job tend to be risk-takers with a strong entrepreneurial bent.  I am such a person, and like them, I would soon decide that I can be much better off putting my talents to work in MY OWN venture.

In short, the 100% commission sales position is a lose-lose proposition.

Great salespeople are looking for companies that will invest in them in order for them to continue their successes. Like an all-star athlete negotiating the next contract, no one, especially with proven skills, will take the entire risk without a blanket… The player knows there is risk – in baseball, it might be a physical injury. In sales, the injury might be competitive pricing, customers losing budget, product failure, delivery failure, poor customer service, etc. such [that] the salesperson can’t hit the ‘$15MM’ payout. There is no blanket for the rep.

And, most likely, many other teams (companies) will gladly pay that All-Star a market rate which then puts the original team at risk of losing not only the player but the customers that player will attack. Pay your superstars and they will certainly pay you. After time, when they have made their mark, offer them the opportunity to move to 100% commission. If they don’t, it doesn’t mean they aren’t hungry and motivated. It means they are smart.”

Further, If you are selling products/services that are a “one-call-close”, get over it.  It doesn’t exist.  Such a unicorn product makes sense to use a 100% commission compensation system. But again, it isn’t real.  And if it was, they would pay you a base pay and save the money for themselves. You can also go straight commission on products/services that have a short cycle like one or two months, but the commission per sale needs to be SUBSTANTIAL to carry folks through to the next sale.

If you are dealing with long sales cycles, you will have to pay salary plus or your sales personnel will not be able to survive until the payday. It has nothing to do with dedication or hunger. It is really all about being able to support your family. In all cases, the better performers enjoy the largest compensation.”

This shitty companies either need to pick kids straight out of school that live with their parents.  A well established rep will always find their won path, and it won’t be you.


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