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Cutting Commissions to Train.

By Chris Lott | Management, Sales | 6985 Views | Leave a Comment    

For the life of me I can not figure out how threatening a persons income has become a “stick” for sales training. “You could always not get paid”, “Your commission will be cut if you don’t…, You screwed up… which cost me.. and now is going to cost you!”. And yet I have witnessed this time and time again by so called “managers”. Why would someone do that? Why would someone let them do that?


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You’ve heard the threats I’m sure. Maybe even experienced the commission cut. How did that make you feel? Did you learn your lesson?

First of all I personally could never work for someone that would ever threaten my earned income to teach me a lesson. As I have said many times… the sales profession is tough. After finally finding and selling a client to only have that hard earned commission threatened… not for me. That doesn’t mean I would quit. What it does mean, however, is I would not let them get away with it nor should you. Let me explain.

“Incidents should not govern policy; but, policy incidents.” –Napoleon Bonaparte

You empower them
Maybe its partially the sales persons fault? Seriously… there are sales people that empower the manager by letting him/her get away with the threat. Once the precedence has been set it’s pretty easy for the manager to use this tool over and over again. Don’t let them ever cut your commission to teach you a lesson!

Even worse there are sales people that actually offer to have their commission cut. A component is missing, customer perception different than the actual sale/order, contract errors, and the list goes on with deal issues. Selling is a messy business. Mistakes are made. While change orders, thus justified lesser commission because it’s a lesser deal, are an every day occurrence there shouldn’t be an extra “hit” to your commission to drive home your errors. Don’t offer up your commissions so easily. Again it sets a precedence that is not easily disposed of later.

Weak suck managers
I don’t know how else to put this… Managers that manage by intimidation are weak. Those that “steal” money from their sales teams by cutting or deleting commissions… well… really weak. Owner/Managers are more at risk here. Many times they see their bottom line getting cut and want someone else to feel their pain. My suggestion here is for them to suck it up. There are pluses and minuses in any sale. I can’t remember getting an extra bonus when my deal went well and was profitable. Can you?

A better way
I am sure there will be sales managers, sales people, that will not agree with what I have just said. I have a question for them? Why should a commission earned be at risk of receiving? What other industry would cut someones pay to teach them a lesson? They would warn (teaching opportunity), write-up (teaching opportunity), and maybe even fire someone if constant mistakes are made. They wouldn’t cut their wage however.

Managers! Owners! Think about the de-motivation to your sales team in general. How could this possibly help with loyalty and respect? Do you really want your team feeling negative about selling your product?

Managers should be partners with their sales teams. They should be involved in their deals. This should be done through actual field participation or at the very least through one on ones. This partnership should constitute a business bond that should never be taken lightly. Managers should always be looking for the win-win in every situation if possible. Cutting commissions is never a win-win and never will be.

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Chris Lott has this crazy creative side that motivates him to design websites and write articles. He's a disruptive technologist and is passionate about sales, family, and anything related to technology. See what others are saying about his work!.


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