8 years ago
April 13, 2016

How to Hire Commission Only Sales Reps

If you’ve decided that you want to hire commission only sales reps here are a few tips on how to do it correctly.

Rhys Metler


Deciding whether to pay a salary or hire commission only sales reps is a decision that most sales organizations have had to make. There are pros and cons to both: salaried sales reps can be less motivated to sell but more candidates are willing to apply to these jobs, but when you hire commission only sales reps they’ll be more driven to sell since that’s how they’ll get their money, but it can be difficult to find good candidates. When you hire commission only sales reps you need to have the right type of business model, support system, and sales cycle to make it work. If you’ve decided that you want to hire commission only sales reps here are a few tips on how to do it correctly.

Have a Sales Support System in Place

Commission sales reps don’t want to do anything other than sell—they don’t want to spend precious time filling out hours of paperwork when they know they won’t be making any money from it. When you hire commission only sales reps you need to have an appropriate support system in place—a CRM system that will allow them to spend as little time as possible on managing client relations, writing paperwork, or filing reports. You’ll be more likely to keep good sales reps if you allow them to spend the majority of their time selling.

Pay Them Often

If you have a long sales cycle that can take weeks or months to build relationships and sell products or services, you might not get much luck when you hire commission only sales reps. They don’t want to have to wait months to be paid. They have bills to pay and they don’t want to get into debt while waiting on your payments. When you hire commission only sales reps your business model should incorporate short pay periods. If this isn’t possible because of long sales cycles, you might have to consider giving them a base pay.

Train More

Your commission sales team will work more independently than typical salaried employees. They won’t be in the office day in and day out to learn the intricacies of your business and the products or services that you sell. This is why you should provide more training than usual when you hire commission only sales reps. Ensure that you have a good sales process in place that can be easily understood, followed, and give them any tips they might need to perform well in the field. The more training you provide, the more likely they are to succeed, which is beneficial to both of you.

Attract the Top Talent

When you hire commission only sales reps, you’re entering into a highly competitive field. To attract the top talent, check out what your competitors pay and try to pay more. Add incentives, like a company phone or laptop, paid training, bonuses, or even exotic trips to the top performers. Make sure to list out all the incentives while writing your job description so you can grab the attention of the best talent.

Lastly, Be Honest

No one wants to apply to a job posting and go through a stressful interview process just to find out at the end that you only want to hire commission only sales reps. Not everyone is interested in working for commission. Many people prefer the stability of a salaried job and regular paycheques. So be upfront when you hire commission only sales reps so you don’t waste anyone’s time.

You also need to be honest about just how much they can expect to make in a typical day or year, how difficult it will be to sell your products or services, when they can expect to get paid, and what types of expenses will be involved. Being dishonest will only lead to problems down the road.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.