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Shane Decker: Pay Right

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How should you compensate your sales staff? Shane Decker tells you how in the first of a two-part series.

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Pay Right

When you go to buy a pair of tennis shoes, you have to figure out what you want. Are they for running? Working in the yard? Playing sports? Each pair has its pros and cons. And the most crucial thing of all: they’ve gotta fit your feet.

The same holds true when choosing a compensation plan for your sales team. Which option’s advantages mean the most to your operation, and which disadvantages will hurt you least? And, most importantly, which is the best fit for you, your staff, and your customers?

Overall, straight hourly or salaried stores have the lowest closing ratios. The first option is straight salary or hourly wages. Many stores that offer their salespeople a flat salary have better teamwork than other stores. Conflict is virtually nonexistent, as no one is competing for their livelihood. But, salaried salespeople are not as motivated to sell and to close — they get paid either way. Overall, straight hourly or salaried stores have the lowest closing ratios. Stores using this option may not be achieving their full potential in regards to revenues.

The second option is salary plus commission (a similar option is the draw against commission). This plan, the most popular in the industry today, is for people who want a guaranteed salary but are still motivated to close and earn a commission or spiff. Generally, the commission level is 3%, 5%, or 10% of sales, and the salary level varies accordingly. Salary plus commission plans give your employees confidence that they’ll have their paycheck at the end of the month, but doesn’t provide quite as much incentive as straight commission.

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The third option, straight commission, delivers the highest closing ratios in the country, on average. Some stores offer 7%, others 10%, and one even offers 15% — the highest I’ve seen. In this plan, people only get paid when they sell and close. Working for commission gives the salesperson the best opportunity to make money based on their efforts alone.

Unfortunately, straight commission plans also create conflict. Whose customer is that? Who said hello? Who looked at them first? If you’re using straight commission, you know what I mean. (I’ll get into how to deal with these issues in next month’s column.)

It takes mature, self-confident players to work under a straight commission plan successfully. Self-confidence, product knowledge, professionalism, and selling/closing skills are absolute necessities. You can’t be a clerk… you’ve gotta know how to sell.

It takes mature, self-confident players to work under a straight commission plan successfully. The final option is salary and team-based bonuses. In such plans, employees get monthly bonuses based on meeting team goals. For example, a team goal might be reached with a jackpot of $5,000 — the person who made 30% of the sales would earn 30% of the bonus, etc. A certain percentage goes to your administrative and shop employees as well, which means they will want to help your sales team more in closing sales and delivering customer service. When goals are met, the team celebrates. If not, no one benefits. So, it’s a true team effort. These plans are becoming increasingly popular, and I love them, as long as closing ratios stay high.

Which option is best for you? There are successful examples of all four. That said, most stores that do a lot of volume pay some type of commission. The salesperson wants to do a better job with customers so that the customer will return time and again and ask for them. This creates personal trade, a benefit for both your salesperson and your store (if your salesperson ever leaves your store, statistics say that on average, only 3% of their trade will follow).

Ultimately, no matter which compensation plan you choose, your salespeople should be so good at selling, the customer can’t even tell they were sold. Then everybody wins. If your plan delivers anything short of that, scrap it and try something new. You may find it’s a perfect fit.

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Shane Decker has provided sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Contact him at (317) 535-8676 or at ex-sell-ence.com.

This story is from the October 2005 edition of INSTORE.

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SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

If It’s Time to Consolidate, It’s Time to Call Wilkerson

When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Pay Right

mm

Published

on

How should you compensate your sales staff? Shane Decker tells you how in the first of a two-part series.

{loadposition shanedeckerheader}

Pay Right

When you go to buy a pair of tennis shoes, you have to figure out what you want. Are they for running? Working in the yard? Playing sports? Each pair has its pros and cons. And the most crucial thing of all: they’ve gotta fit your feet.

The same holds true when choosing a compensation plan for your sales team. Which option’s advantages mean the most to your operation, and which disadvantages will hurt you least? And, most importantly, which is the best fit for you, your staff, and your customers?

Overall, straight hourly or salaried stores have the lowest closing ratios. The first option is straight salary or hourly wages. Many stores that offer their salespeople a flat salary have better teamwork than other stores. Conflict is virtually nonexistent, as no one is competing for their livelihood. But, salaried salespeople are not as motivated to sell and to close — they get paid either way. Overall, straight hourly or salaried stores have the lowest closing ratios. Stores using this option may not be achieving their full potential in regards to revenues.

Advertisement

The second option is salary plus commission (a similar option is the draw against commission). This plan, the most popular in the industry today, is for people who want a guaranteed salary but are still motivated to close and earn a commission or spiff. Generally, the commission level is 3%, 5%, or 10% of sales, and the salary level varies accordingly. Salary plus commission plans give your employees confidence that they’ll have their paycheck at the end of the month, but doesn’t provide quite as much incentive as straight commission.

The third option, straight commission, delivers the highest closing ratios in the country, on average. Some stores offer 7%, others 10%, and one even offers 15% — the highest I’ve seen. In this plan, people only get paid when they sell and close. Working for commission gives the salesperson the best opportunity to make money based on their efforts alone.

Unfortunately, straight commission plans also create conflict. Whose customer is that? Who said hello? Who looked at them first? If you’re using straight commission, you know what I mean. (I’ll get into how to deal with these issues in next month’s column.)

It takes mature, self-confident players to work under a straight commission plan successfully. Self-confidence, product knowledge, professionalism, and selling/closing skills are absolute necessities. You can’t be a clerk… you’ve gotta know how to sell.

It takes mature, self-confident players to work under a straight commission plan successfully. The final option is salary and team-based bonuses. In such plans, employees get monthly bonuses based on meeting team goals. For example, a team goal might be reached with a jackpot of $5,000 — the person who made 30% of the sales would earn 30% of the bonus, etc. A certain percentage goes to your administrative and shop employees as well, which means they will want to help your sales team more in closing sales and delivering customer service. When goals are met, the team celebrates. If not, no one benefits. So, it’s a true team effort. These plans are becoming increasingly popular, and I love them, as long as closing ratios stay high.

Which option is best for you? There are successful examples of all four. That said, most stores that do a lot of volume pay some type of commission. The salesperson wants to do a better job with customers so that the customer will return time and again and ask for them. This creates personal trade, a benefit for both your salesperson and your store (if your salesperson ever leaves your store, statistics say that on average, only 3% of their trade will follow).

Advertisement

Ultimately, no matter which compensation plan you choose, your salespeople should be so good at selling, the customer can’t even tell they were sold. Then everybody wins. If your plan delivers anything short of that, scrap it and try something new. You may find it’s a perfect fit.

Shane Decker has provided sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Contact him at (317) 535-8676 or at ex-sell-ence.com.

This story is from the October 2005 edition of INSTORE.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

If It’s Time to Consolidate, It’s Time to Call Wilkerson

When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular