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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Work Your Pay Plan

Work Your Pay Plan

How are you compensated? If you are in sales, let us hope for your sake that you are on straight commission. Otherwise, you are cheating yourself. Straight commission sales jobs pay the most by far - if you are good, of course.

That's not really what I want to talk about, though. I just wanted you to focus on your pay plan, for a moment. Most of you would have thought no further than your primary compensation: "I make 7%," or "I get 25% of the gross profit," right? Is that really the totality of your pay plan? And, I am talking about real money, not benefits. Your principal compensation is unlikely to be the whole story.

Most sales jobs offer a host of other ways to get paid. For example, many commission structures are stair-stepped,  meaning that as one achieves certain volume levels in a given month, their commission percentage goes up. The 7% guy or gal may be able to bump up incrementally to 8%, then 9%, and so on. A one or two percent difference, usually retroactive, is huge. Do the math using your numbers and see for yourself. This kind of pay structure often is used in retail furniture sales.
The way to work that kind of pay plan is fairly obvious, isn't it? Sell more, right? However, you can only work this pay plan best if you set goals. Know where your numbers have to be at certain points in the month and stay constantly aware of where you are. You have to want the top rate more than life itself, almost.

But, wait. That's only part of the story, isn't it? We will stay with the furniture store analogy, but these things hold true for virtually all sales jobs. So far, we have been talking about primary compensation. Another way to get paid is to really focus on building an impressive ticket by keeping secondary products, like accessories, part of the conversation throughout the presentation of your principal product. The customer wants a sofa? Keep bringing up rugs and lamps! It is easy and will significantly grow your income. See my post,  "Accessorize", for more on this.

Think that's it? Not quite, and if you forget about this last one you are giving yourself a gigantic pay cut! What about extended warranties and stain protection? For your industry, just change the products, accordingly. These so-called "back-end" products usually pay BIG bucks, and if you haven't committed to selling them on every order, you are killing yourself. Again, learn these products and incorporate them in your primary presentation from start to finish. They will sell themselves if you do!

That, friends, is working your pay plan. By the way, your customers will be much happier, too, since their sales professional cared enough about them to make sure they were well - accessorized and well-protected!

I would love to hear from you! There is a place for comments on this page. My email address is;  my telephone number is 479-225-5892.

By Kevin Connell
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