Those that know me well know that there is one word that is guaranteed to make my blood boil and that is the word Commission! Over the last 18 months, I have been asked many times by prospective Clients if I would consider working on a “commission only basis”. My answer to this question is always the same…NO! For the record, I am not closed off to new ways of working, however I would like to explain why the Commission only model does not work for me:
I am a relationship builder, call it a Customer Engagement Manager if you will. I work with and on behalf of my Clients to build long lasting meaningful relationships with customers and prospective customers.
Short term transactional relationships which are centred around price are not for me. I prefer to engage with Customers and Clients to sell and raise awareness of benefits not features. I have worked in
Sales for 21 years and not once have I been paid on Commission. Building these longer term relationships plays to my strengths, I am naturally inquisitive and very much buy into the Know, Like,
Trust model of building customer relationships. I am in it for the long term and prefer to reach for the fruits which grow higher up the tree.
The process of securing a new listing and increasing points of distribution takes time. I was once offered a very attractive “Finders Fee” to get a product listed in ASDA. As attractive as it was, I am a realist and
experienced enough to know that at best this could have taken 12 months to realise but probably more.
If you think of this in the context of contract renewals or retail range reviews, these tend to come up for tender every 3 years. That’s 3 years of doing all the groundwork and sewing all the seeds on behalf of a Client without any financial return! If I work with a Client over a 6, 9 or 12 month period to raise awareness of their brand and products BUT don’t secure any listings for them do I: Get paid when that
Buyer visits them at a Trade Show because of our interaction? Get paid when that Buyer is ready to engage and their products are at the forefront of mind because of our interactions? Get paid when that
Buyer seeks them out at a conference because of our interactions? The point that I am trying to make is that we lay the foundations for our Clients to build on. We open doors which our Clients then have to
walk through sometimes long after our Commercial relationship has ended.
I believe Sales Professionals that work on and are driven by Commission demonstrate certain types of behaviour. Yes we are persistent, yes we call and email on multiple occasions, yes we are driven to get
the best results for our Clients but never to the point of being pushy or borderline aggressive. When researching and building prospect lists for our Clients, we do not call any outlets which are on the CTPS
register, if we are told “thanks but no thanks” we listen, thank that person for their time and leave them alone. Yes we cold call but we never do it to sell, we do it to ask permission to make ongoing contact, to introduce ourselves and the Clients we are representing and most importantly to build rapport and engage in an open dialogue. We are afforded the luxury of working in this way because we are not
chasing a quick sale or trying to outperform other team members.
It’s an age thing:
Do you know the well known saying: “You pay me for the years not the minutes”? Chances are that if you have reached out to me in the first place it’s because you lack the skills, experience and confidence
to do your own prospecting. In 2021 alone, we have made over 1,000 phone calls on behalf of our Clients – could you do that? I am 48, I’ve been in Sales a long time, I’ve worked hard to build my network
and am proud of each and every brand we have represented over the past 3.5 years.
I hope that if we have spoken about doing Business together in the past or might do so in the future, you can now see where I am coming from when it comes to Commission only? Yes, I understand that the
Commission only model minimises the risk for you if you don’t get the sale BUT what about the risk for us? We do all the groundwork and work tirelessly on your behalf to build brand awareness and get your products in front of more people but don’t get paid not because we have done anything wrong but just because the timing wasn’t quite right.
So, if in the last 18 months you have received an email from me with words to this effect:
“I don’t work on commission but appreciate how this model works for some. Good luck with your quest to expand your reach – I’m sure your product will be very well received”
Please don’t be offended. I genuinely do wish you well, we just aren’t right for each other.