Curious how to motivate commission sales people?
Pay higher commissions right? Won’t a high percentage naturally motivate a commission rep to sell more? From our observation and in our experience high commission rates alone are mostly meaningless. What matters are the nominal earnings per sale and corollary sales per month. Therefore focus on connecting the dots between calls and earnings: Calls per day, presentations per week, sales per month, earnings per year, first year, second year and beyond. % are abstract, $ are tangible.
Beyond commissions and expected earnings you need to account for risk. There is a reason many people prefer a base salary with no upside to the possibility of an unlimited income. The sales person will consider the risk even if you fail to mention it. Risk is measured in the gut. Consider that this may be the reason your new rep backed out or flaked out after having verbally agreed to and even sounded excited by the uncapped commissions you offered.
We recommend addressing the risk openly, discuss with them their other career choices; take this job, stay with current job, keep looking for a base pay, keep looking for a better fit, do nothing – it’s possible they don’t need the money but are just looking for something to do, etc. Going through this process will help you uncover their motivations. Keep in mind their motivations are theirs alone, yours do not matter.
Which brings us to the main point, you need to discover what their motivations and goals are, then see if what you are offering leads them in that direction. Next you need to outline a performance plan that accomplishes them mutually. Also consider non-tangible rewards like responsibility, agency, acknowledgment, respect and sense of mission.