Income Inequality for Salespeople

If you’re in sales, income inequality is very easy to understand:
Good salespeople earn more. Bad salespeople earn less.

If you’re in straight commission sales, the stakes are even higher:
Great salespeople earn a lot. Poor salespeople earn nothing.

Being involved in sales for nearly all of my adult life, this makes perfect sense to me. In fact, I can’t conceive of anything else.

Get paid based on what you produce.
How much more fair than that does it get?

Commission salespeople know that if they want to earn more, they need to sell more. If they’re not sure how to do that, they need to learn.

If they’re not sure who to approach, they need to either ask someone who knows who to approach or they need to approach a lot of people, gauge the results, and determine what works.

If they’re not sure what to say, they need to either ask someone who knows what to say or they need to say a lot of different things, gauge the results, and determine what works for themselves.

That’s what you call learn by doing. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than starving.

I like the simplicity of the commission model:
Produce Results -> Get Paid

No drama. No endless discussion. No righteous indignation. Just an ability (or an inability) to produce results for the customer and the company. If you produce results, you get paid. If you don’t produce results, you earn nothing.

Black. White. Male. Female. Gay. Straight.
Boomer. Millennial. Christian. Jew. Muslim. Atheist.
Produce Results -> Get Paid

With a model that simple, you would think more people would look into it.

Some salespeople work 80 hours a week and earn next to nothing.
That’s a signal they’re doing things wrong.

Some salespeople work just a few hours a week and make a fortune.
That’s a signal they’re doing things right.

But what about those who aren’t in sales or aren’t paid on commission?

I believe that everyone is ultimately paid on commission. Here’s why…

If you’re being paid $10 an hour but only producing $4 an hour worth of results, you are overpaid for what you’re doing and you won’t be able to keep your job.

If you’re earning $10 an hour and producing $50 an hour worth of results, you will be highly valued by your employer, and even if you’re not, there will be lots of other people who will want to hire you for more money.

So focus less on what you’re currently being paid and focus more on creating value in everything you do. It’s the quickest way to get your income to a level at which people can legitimately begin to resent you.

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