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Old 07-05-2012, 11:56 AM
 
Location: The Bay and Maryland
1,363 posts, read 1,716,210 times
Reputation: 2025
Default Commission only sales jobs without base salary

I was recently offered a position as a salesman for a company specializing in window decals for various types of businesses. This small business owner has created a state-of-the-art way to create and install large window decal advertisements for car dealerships, small businesses etc. that is much cheaper than the costly current industry standard being used across the country. This guy has been painting window ads for businesses for over two decades so he knows what he's talking about. However, since he is just starting this company, the pay will be based solely on commission. It makes sense because he is just getting his company off the ground and he probably doesn't have the money to be paying someone a salary right out of the gate. The more you sell, the more you earn. But there is no base salary. As expected, much cold-calling and harassing of businesses is required. Doing sales for the company would also require driving to local businesses in my area and pitching the product in person after a successful phone pitch or lead. He also said that he would provide a gas card and paying for fuel would not be an issue. He said he will begin a training session next week. Of course, I am going to ask for all of the outlines of how much money specifically I would make in commission off each specific sale in writing. If this guy is trying to run some sort of scam, which I do not think he is, I can bring those written documents into claims court.

Has anyone here ever worked a sales job on commission only without a base salary? Was it worth it? Did you have to drive your own vehicle everywhere? Was that worth it if you did?

Last edited by goldenchild08; 07-05-2012 at 12:12 PM..
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:14 PM
 
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
5,474 posts, read 9,919,411 times
Reputation: 2577
My husband has done that and no it was not worth it. Sales calls were as far away as 60 miles or more and he was not reimbursed for the expense. Many of the leads he received from the company were false leads. IMO this is a fast way to bankruptcy especially for a little known company.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,716 posts, read 16,896,658 times
Reputation: 18735
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenchild08 View Post
I was recently offered a position as a salesman for a company specializing in window decals for various types of businesses. This small business owner has created a state-of-the-art way to create and install large window decal advertisements for car dealerships, small businesses etc. that is much cheaper than the costly current industry standard being used across the country. This guy has been painting window ads for businesses for over two decades so he knows what he's talking about. However, since he is just starting this company, the pay will be based solely on commission. It makes sense because he is just getting his company off the ground and he probably doesn't have the money to be paying someone a salary right out of the gate. The more you sell, the more you earn. But there is no base salary. As expected, much cold-calling and harassing of businesses is required. Doing sales for the company would also require driving to local businesses in my area and pitching the product in person after a successful phone pitch or lead. He also said that he would provide a gas card and paying for fuel would not be an issue. He said he will begin a training session next week. Of course, I am going to ask for all of the outlines of how much money specifically I would make in commission off each specific sale in writing. If this guy is trying to run some sort of scam, which I do not think he is, I can bring those written documents into claims court.

Has anyone here ever worked a sales job on commission only without a base salary? Was it worth it? Did you have to drive your own vehicle everywhere? Was that worth it if you did?
It is said that sales is one of the few professions where you can write your own paycheck. Truly, most people who are millionaires (who earned their own money and did not inherit it), made it with sales.

That having been said, it is my opinion that salesmen are born and not made. I have personally studied and studied and studied the art, and frankly I am no better a salesperson now than before I started. Either you love it or you don't. Either it is in your blood or it isn't. If you are not born a salesman, you can make a living at it, but you will never LOVE IT, the way a natural-born salesman will.

The last thing I want to do is discourage someone, if you work hard you can make a good go of it. But if you are not excited at the prospect, you may want to reconsider other options.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:55 PM
 
2,940 posts, read 3,089,878 times
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You have to truly believe in what you are selling and be passionate about it. You have to have thick skin and determination.

If this guy was so successful and wanted to start his own business, he should have been stockpiling money away while he was earning it. Enough to pay for advertising and pay someone a small salary plus commission. That or if he truly believes in his product, he should get a business loan and advertise his product or cold call enough himself to where he has leads and referrals that are more than he can handle. Then he can start with one sales person and wait till he has enough money and leads to hire someone else,etc. Slowly building up the business.

I`m not a big believer in businesses that only pay commission, at least not from the start. Once an account base is established then you can go to commission only. There is a reason companies pay commission only for new hires. Because their product is very hard to sell. Usually the young sales person goes into it with big expectations after being sold on it by the manager or owner telling you how great it is and how much money you can make. They usually point to one or maybe two guys in the company that make money. They hold them up as the examples. Meanwhile it`s a revolving door for the other 98% of the sales people. They become discouraged after a couple of weeks of only 1 or 2 sales. So they leave but those sales stay on the books for the company. Then the next batch of sales guys come through and the process starts over. It doesn`t cost the owner much because he isn`t paying anything. Maybe just his time for training. He makes his money from the quantity of sales while the individual sales guy makes hardly anything. If it was truly a good company and the owner truly believed in the product ,he would pay some kind of salary for new sales people until you got comfortable and knew you could sell it. But they know it`s a revolving door and hard to sell. So it`s a numbers game.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:22 PM
 
8,243 posts, read 6,505,696 times
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There are some decent sales jobs that are commission only. Selling cars and homes. Executive Recruiting. All have high turnover. Some newcomers don't sell that much and quit. But those who can sell well can make some good money. NOT multilevel marketing, timeshare sales, etc.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:50 PM
 
2,940 posts, read 3,089,878 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
There are some decent sales jobs that are commission only. Selling cars and homes. Executive Recruiting. All have high turnover. Some newcomers don't sell that much and quit. But those who can sell well can make some good money. NOT multilevel marketing, timeshare sales, etc.
Selling cars and real estate aren`t exactly in the category the op is talking about. He is talking about basically cold calling from the start to get any business. In auto sales, there may be some calling but you are mostly reliant on people coming in the dealership. Plus , you are probably on a draw. With real estate sales, you have to have backup or supplemental income for the first three years. You won`t make much in real estate until you build up a client base over years. As you said, all of those are high turnover because it is hard to make money for the first several years. So unless you have a spouse to support you or some other income source, the chances are not good.

If you are on commission only but get a draw, that may be ok. But to be on commission only from day one and expected to pretty much go get your own business from the start, that`s bad news.
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:47 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,716 posts, read 16,896,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spm62 View Post
Selling cars and real estate aren`t exactly in the category the op is talking about. He is talking about basically cold calling from the start to get any business. In auto sales, there may be some calling but you are mostly reliant on people coming in the dealership. Plus , you are probably on a draw. With real estate sales, you have to have backup or supplemental income for the first three years. You won`t make much in real estate until you build up a client base over years. As you said, all of those are high turnover because it is hard to make money for the first several years. So unless you have a spouse to support you or some other income source, the chances are not good.

If you are on commission only but get a draw, that may be ok. But to be on commission only from day one and expected to pretty much go get your own business from the start, that`s bad news.
The reason that car dealers have high turn over is because they do not understand that you don't WAIT in the showroom for customers to arrive. You have to go out there and constantly market yourself to people. Every person you talk to has to be a potential sale, either themselves, or someone they know (a referral). If you attack your job with vigor and gusto then you will succeed. If you sit there and wait for the phone to ring, then you will not.

I was a REALTOR for 5 years, and unfortunately, nobody told me or taught me this. I am not a salesperson by nature and I was not comfortable in that role. However, if you were to talk to the $1,000,000 sales people they will tell you that they are constantly out there marketing and trying to get customers. That is the only way to succeed.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:54 PM
 
2,940 posts, read 3,089,878 times
Reputation: 1537
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
The reason that car dealers have high turn over is because they do not understand that you don't WAIT in the showroom for customers to arrive. You have to go out there and constantly market yourself to people. Every person you talk to has to be a potential sale, either themselves, or someone they know (a referral). If you attack your job with vigor and gusto then you will succeed. If you sit there and wait for the phone to ring, then you will not.

I was a REALTOR for 5 years, and unfortunately, nobody told me or taught me this. I am not a salesperson by nature and I was not comfortable in that role. However, if you were to talk to the $1,000,000 sales people they will tell you that they are constantly out there marketing and trying to get customers. That is the only way to succeed.

20yrsinBranson
My ex is a realtor and has been for 25 yrs. She does very well, makes well over six figures. I know a lot of realtors , worked in the mortgage title business myself, been around a lot of real estate attorneys,etc. They will all tell you that you will starve the first three years. Yes, market yourself. Just like any sales person needs to do. But you can market yourself all you want. You will still be hard pressed to make it in a sales environment where it is commission only from the get go. There are some who do make it. It all depends on the market you are in, your network, and your personality and hard work. But we are talking about the exception to the rule. There are always exceptions to everything. High school dropouts can become millionaires, but it isn`t likely. People win the lottery and hit it big in Vegas all the time. But your chances of doing it are slim to none. I know a lot of people that went around to everyone they knew trying to get them to buy this insurance or some other product. I have had friends who tried the car business. Told everyone they knew, made hours of phone calls,etc. Sales can be a lot of things..hard work, dedication, thick skin, and LUCK. But most sales people will tell you, you have to have money in the bank for 3 years if you are starting from scratch and on commission only.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:40 PM
 
2,195 posts, read 2,557,698 times
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I come from a related industry, sold printing, direct mail and other graphic design services. Fairly common to offer commission only jobs in that industry if you already have a base of customers that you can sell to. Very hard to sell any graphics related products during the best of times, let alone in an economy like we have now.

I sold printing on 100% commission and did alright, but I did starve to death the first 18 months and had to pick up another job at night to help pay the mortgage. That was back in a good economy and stuff was booming.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:50 PM
 
491 posts, read 1,140,145 times
Reputation: 492
I would not accept no base in such an outbound sales job unless there was a territory/business already in place. If you are a free agent, like a real estate agent, it's a different story.
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