1. Great post, Chris. I am also 100% commission and have been for nearly 10 years. We are also a single-income family with my wife now homeschooling our 2 boys. Although, there have been and I’m sure will continue to be some stressful times…I wouldn’t change it for the world. The personal satisfaction and flexibility that comes with being a 100% commissioned sales rep (in my experience and opinion) far outweighs the down side.

    A couple of notes, I’d like to make…

    1) My ability to be successful in a 100% commission sales position has hinged very heavily on the staff that supports what I sell. If I didn’t have 100% confidence and trust in their skills and abilities to follow through on my promises…I would have hung up my hat along time ago.

    2) Having a personal financial plan and sticking to it is HUGE! Personally, I’m a huge fan and supporter of Dave Ramsey and his “Baby Steps” to financial freedom.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

  2. Kent Goldthorpe said:

    Now this is a good topic, one that I’ve addressed in front of the mirror and accross the table from new hires many, many times. I’ll comment on some of the points that you have brought up.

    1. Personal Confidence
    One thing that you will learn in commission sales is that the folks who receive an Academy Award once a year in Hollywood are “amateurs’ when compared to the performance that commissioned salespersons are required to give every 100% of the time, day in and day out. Not only do you have to do everything else right in the sales process but you m ust present yourself in with the attitude that not making the sale is “no big deal” in the sense that you are primarily there to help the prospect irregardless of the outcome of the visit. Whether you have a nickle in the bank or not, you cannot appear “hungry” to the customer. A confident. self-assured attitude allows this to happen naturally and more easily than any other means. I have adopted the attitude of “some will, some won’t….so what….next call” as I have realized that the more “no’s” you get, the closer you are to making a good sale. Of course, you can’t just rush through a presentation or fact-finder just to rack up numbers, either.

    The way I fight depression or lows is to change gears when it hits. By that I mean that if I’m really down on myself for whatever reason I need to spend just a little time doing something I’m really good at besides work. This is in order to experience some success when you really need some. I normally either work in the garden or take a quick jaunt down to the Boise River to catch a couple of trout real quick to clear my mind and experience some peace or the “rush” that fishing gives me. Just don’t spend too much time at this sort of thing though. You may like trout but you’ll never enjoy poverty.

    There is another thing that instills and maintains a great level of confidence. That is the level of education that you have attained to. Don’t stop at high school. EVER! There are three constants in life, death, taxes and CHANGE. You cannot do anything about the first. You can mitigate the second to varrying degrees but you are in a great deal of control how the third affects you. You need to maintain a good, solid and consistent work ethic. You cannnot develop the “Union Mentality” that you are only good for one thing professionally in your life and that without that “thing’ you cannot make a living. And, lastly, you need to manage your debt to an almost nonexistent level, especially early in your career.

    2. Support at the Home Front.
    I vividly remember the first time some idiot asked me why my wife didn’t work outside of our home. “Doesn’t your wife have any self-esteem?” I exercised another Academy Award performance in self-control that time. The primary reason I chose sales was so that my wife wouldn’t be forced into making that decision to the possible detriment of our children. Oh yes, we had 7 of the “little darlings”…..2 sets of twins in the mix. Anyway, I have discovered in the career choosing process, the “buy in” of the spouse is at least as critical to the success of the commissioned salesperson as is talent or any other trait that may lead to success. In the hiring process I have always invited the spouse to my office to discuss the ups and down of commissioned based incomes. I never pulled punches, either. If I was hiring a woman that consideration was moot as the decision had already been made if she was married.

    I will NEVER forget how supportive my wife has been in my career. I’d best not tell you of the “small” (menial to some) income-producing activities that she was involved in at times when we were “broke”. Actually, those thoughts bring some pretty powerful emotions to the forefront. Her support of me in “good times and bad”, for “richer or poorer”, in “sickness and health” has been incredible.

    There’s much more but perhaps we should collaborate on a book.

    • said:

      Kent… powerful comment! Thanks for sharing. Support at home is crucial. Nothing dishonorable with a supportive work at home spouse. A book could definitely be an option.

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