I'm amazed at how many salespeople have told me that they are under constant pressure to produce. Especially insurance company salespeople. "It's either sell or get fired," Neal B. told me, "Or quit. Quitting happens because you're "independent" with some companies. I try not to lose sleep when I don't meet my quota, but it's tough because I don't get paid."
Wow! Imagine choosing to work in a job where someone places a minimum quota on you, and you don't get paid a dime unless you make the quota! What if you reach 80% or 90%.
What a scam on the part of an employer. Really. The way I see it is this: if an employer cannot guarantee a salary to their salespeople, they have no business being in their industry! Insurance companies are notorious for having a poor success rate. One in ten people succeed!. Ninety-percent fail! Some of this failure we can attribute to quitting, but what percentage? Why do they quit? Is it because they're going or are broke? No wonder there's a cattle call at insurance company recruiting sessions: hire a few and see who sticks. Wouldn't it make more sense to guarantee a quality person a base salary plus bonuses? The job would have a bit more security and the salesperson be able to perform better. Even be happy. Happiness matters to success.
The indisputable fact about successful selling is this: Both the salesperson and the customer must be happy with the agreement they make. However, if a salesperson is under such intense pressure to sell, they are highly likely to compromise much of the sales process that ensures an equitable and successful outcome.
Organizations who employ salespeople under the conditions I've described do not value salespeople and are likely to hire virtually anyone they think can get to fill a seat and follow potential customers through an essential process based on statistical outcome: A certain percentage of people will buy so just go through these motions and remember to "close."
My message to every company: Assess your assets and allot money to the financial security of every single sales person you employ. Reward them with bonuses based on their meeting or exceeding the quota. That's right: reaching the quota should be rewarded with a bonus on top of the salary. Exceeding it must be highly paid. I am assuming that an organization arrives at quotas based on their need to make a significant profit, so I don't think I'm unreasonable. Forgive me...I admit I do not understand every business. Nevertheless, I believe sales organizations need to be held accountable.
If you're an organization that is driven by sales, understand this: salespeople must be relaxed and enjoy themselves, or they will fail. Moreover, by "fail" I'm not referring only to low sales. They might be able to get high sales, in fact, but the quality of the transaction, the quality of the customer's satisfaction, and the quality of life of everyone involved will be a failure.
People who criticize companies for charging too much for their product or service don't understand that if a company is sales driven, they must charge a premium price for their product. You must pay the premium price, or they won't be able to provide a quality of life to their employees in any capacity, nor produce quality products.
My friends, relax and fun are necessary for living, not luxuries! One of the leading causes of disease is stress. Let's stop treating sales like it ought to be stress-filled! It doesn't need to be. Companies who are sales driven must come to terms with the fact that they must make less money for their "net" to pay their salespeople a fair guaranteed wage, plus bonuses. I'm talking to companies now: IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO DO THIS, YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO DO YOUR BUSINESS. Stop taking advantage of people who work under the hope of being financially rewarded only to fire them when they don't succeed unless they are doing things that can explain their failure, like not going to work, not executing a sound business plan, or being rude or dishonest. It's your responsibility to train salespeople to be experts at the sales process, not an easy task, a short task, or a negotiable task. If you cannot afford training and salaries, get out of business!