8 years ago
April 13, 2016

3 Ways to Get a Raise at Your Sales Job

Asking for a raise in a sales position can be a stressful task. Strategically, you can adopt the same tactics to get a raise at your sales job.

Rhys Metler

Asking for a raise in any position can be a stressful task, especially in a sales job. A sales job is more likely to have standard salaries and commissions, and in a corporate environment this may make it less likely that a request for a raise will be approved. However, many top sales people have been able to negotiate personalized compensation plans for both base salary and commission based on their performance. Strategically, you can adopt the same tactics to get a raise at your sales job.

1. Demonstrate the Value You Create in Your Sales Job

Sales people are pros at creating value for clients, but when it comes time to ask for a raise, many forget to focus on the value building angle because they are not thinking of the request as a sales proposition – even though that’s exactly what it is. At this critical time, don’t forget to demonstrate the value you bring to your sales job to your employer to back up your request for a raise. Come prepared to demonstrate value with:

  • Hard data on how you have contributed by consistently exceeding quota and the averages for your sales team.
  • Examples of how you have gone above and beyond in assisting your sales manager and peers in getting critical tasks accomplished.
  • Requesting the raise discussion after you have hit a particular milestone for your sales job or converted an exceptional sale.

2. Create Leverage by Negotiating for Your Raise

Avoid potentially divisive tactics such as sharing a competing offer letter simply for the sake of obtaining a raise through leverage. Tactics like this can erode trust and though you may ultimately receive the raise, other aspects of your sales job and ultimately sales career may suffer. Instead, try:

  • Offering to take on expanded responsibilities. This tactic works best if you can pinpoint an area in your sales department where your sales manager needs assistance and you can make a contribution, such as in training new hires.
  • Being flexible on where the raise is applied. Since many sales salaries are based on a strict formula, you may have better success asking for a raise in commission with a scale tied to the size of sales. In the eyes of your sales manager, this has an added benefit of vesting you in the sales process and reducing costs for the organization.
  • Negotiating for benefits, instead of the top line. If your sales job cannot give you a straight raise, you may be able to negotiate on other perks or benefits such as vacation time, vehicle allowances, or travel expenses. These create income for you but can be more cost-flexible in terms of taxes and cash expenses for your organization.

3. Make Sure the Timing is Right

When asking for a raise at your sales job, timing is everything. To begin with, you never want to ask for a raise after a less than impressive sales period; doing so may make it look as though you are trying to make up for the loss at the company’s expense. Similarly, if base salary reviews at your organization are a regular occurrence try to schedule your request for a raise at the midpoint of the review cycle. Asking too soon before a review can seem preemptive or impatient, while asking too soon after a review may make sales executives question why you did not bring up your concerns earlier.

Finally, make sure that you request a meeting for requesting a raise in a way that alerts your sales manager to the reason for your request and allows him or her to prepare. Getting on your sales manager’s schedule will help ensure that there are no interruptions, and your sales manager will appreciate having notice so that he or she can review the options. This makes it more likely that your request for a raise in your sales job will end positively.

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.