Commission sales force – questions, no answers

You go to, well… used to go to, a CompUSA. No one in the store can tell you why the two printer prices are so different. But they can tell you that all printers fail and you need a service contract.

You go to a car lot. A person casually, in a hurried walk, intercepts you in route to a line of parked cars. They welcome you, ask if they can help, then proceed to not be able to tell you much more than interior color options. But, they can get you financed, job or not.

Why wouldn’t sales folks take the time to learn their product line to present it better? Wouldn’t that result in more sales and more commissions for the sales force? My brother in-law sold cars for a while… he was a car guy so he was able to put a car with a person for a faster car sale. That is what he thought, his boss thought that most people coming in either knew what they wanted or buyers don’t care. We were both shocked by that answer.

That same brother in-law was a business partner in a small (profitable) company we ran for 10 years together. One step we asked all sales people to do for _every_ customer was to present their filter next to a new one. Don’t comment unless asked, then ask for the sale. That is it… with that they would hit 35% closing rate since our clients needed a replacement every third visit. If the employee hit that percent of closures, we gave them a percent of every sale they made.

Our bookkeeper brought to our attention that the numbers for the previous year just couldn’t be explained. He just happened upon it after looking at activity across several of our locations. It took me several weeks scanning traffic through our sales software before I found the process needed to get around the sales accounting. Wow… how long did it take someone to figure out how to cook the system?!

Doing a little social engineering, I found out that one employee who had a programming background kept playing for several months to ‘get in’. He then spread the word to his coworkers across our networks so everyone got in on commissions without selling – making it so there was no single point of irregularity. Continue reading Commission sales force – questions, no answers