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Commission only sales job?

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Tipoki13

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So I have a dilemma - I've been offered a door-to-door sales job but it's commission only?

I'll be selling house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to households. I feel this would be a hard sale as most households would be kitted out with these anyway and would be unlikely to change, maybe I'm wrong?

I have no sales experience and it's a skill that I really want to learn but I need to eat too.

Should I take the job for the training provided and the overall experience or should I look elsewhere?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

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So I have a dilemma - I've been offered a door-to-door sales job but it's commission only?

I'll be selling house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to households. I feel this would be a hard sale as most households would be kitted out with these anyway and would be unlikely to change, maybe I'm wrong?

I have no sales experience and it's a skill that I really want to learn but I need to eat too.

Should I take the job for the training provided and the overall experience or should I look elsewhere?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
It's an opportunity for you to gain real life experience about D2D.
If I were you, I would take it in a heart beat just for sake work experience.
Go for it man!
 

broswoodwork

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So I have a dilemma - I've been offered a door-to-door sales job but it's commission only?

I'll be selling house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to households. I feel this would be a hard sale as most households would be kitted out with these anyway and would be unlikely to change, maybe I'm wrong?

I have no sales experience and it's a skill that I really want to learn but I need to eat too.

Should I take the job for the training provided and the overall experience or should I look elsewhere?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
It's interesting to me...

The types of sales jobs where you can definitely put numbers on the board will almost never allow commission only, and the jobs where you're lucky to ever make a sale, insist upon it.

If learning to sell will change your life (it will), and you have a safety net (parents, etc) to get by in the meantime, why not give it a shot for the experience alone?
 

Kevin88660

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So I have a dilemma - I've been offered a door-to-door sales job but it's commission only?

I'll be selling house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to households. I feel this would be a hard sale as most households would be kitted out with these anyway and would be unlikely to change, maybe I'm wrong?

I have no sales experience and it's a skill that I really want to learn but I need to eat too.

Should I take the job for the training provided and the overall experience or should I look elsewhere?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Choosing the right business to work for is a very important decision.

People talk about sales skill as if it is a skill that can be picked up and move easily across industries. It is NOT.

Selling in one industry requires an in depth understanding of the industry and the business.

If you want to accumulate sales experience it is very important to sell something that you know will exist at least for the next 30-50 years. This is important because value of the experience you accumulated can compound.

Selling softwares, education packages and financial products are safe bets.

I am not sure about alarms.
 

broswoodwork

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People talk about sales skill as if it is a skill that can be picked up and move easily across industries. It is NOT.
Zig Ziglar, and his d2d pots and pans, beg to differ, but maybe the game has changed?
 

Bekit

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So I have a dilemma - I've been offered a door-to-door sales job but it's commission only?

I'll be selling house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to households. I feel this would be a hard sale as most households would be kitted out with these anyway and would be unlikely to change, maybe I'm wrong?

I have no sales experience and it's a skill that I really want to learn but I need to eat too.

Should I take the job for the training provided and the overall experience or should I look elsewhere?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
I would look into whether it's actually an MLM. Essentially it's the same thing. Not worth it. There are plenty of ways you can learn sales while walking a generous salary plus commission.
 

Kevin88660

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Zig Ziglar, and his d2d pots and pans, beg to differ, but maybe the game has changed?
Online Sales guru specialize in selling courses. Their experience in one niche may or may not apply in another field.

There are just too many industry specific knowhow. I am in financial sales and there are different buying patterns from different demographic groups. Financial sales is also a case size business rather than a case count business. Whereas for the fire alarm, maybe the richer person will buy a more expensive version, he or she is not going to spend 20x times more on it.
 

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Regarding "commission only jobs": My university did a study on sales jobs on their previous students, and saw the average pay between those who had;
1) fixed salary
2) fixed base salary + commission
3) commission only

The first two had nearly the same pay, while the commission only jobs had around twice as high salary.

So don't knock commission based jobs because of that.


But regarding door to door alarm sales.... lets just say it's a start, and if you stick to sales, all your future jobs will just be uphill from there lol

You can accept it and start looking for other jobs right ahead
 

broswoodwork

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Online Sales guru specialize in selling courses. Their experience in one niche may or may not apply in another field.

There are just too many industry specific knowhow. I am in financial sales and there are different buying patterns from different demographic groups. Financial sales is also a case size business rather than a case count business. Whereas for the fire alarm, maybe the richer person will buy a more expensive version, he or she is not going to spend 20x times more on it.
Alright.

Once you're comfortable prescribing solutions to people's problems in one industry, and doing so successfully, how long does it take to learn and get good prescribing solutions in another industry? The same amount of time, or more, because sales isn't a transferable skill?

Idk... I guess I just see it differently, but I'm cool with being wrong. :)
 
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Tipoki13

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Online Sales guru specialize in selling courses. Their experience in one niche may or may not apply in another field.

There are just too many industry specific knowhow. I am in financial sales and there are different buying patterns from different demographic groups. Financial sales is also a case size business rather than a case count business. Whereas for the fire alarm, maybe the richer person will buy a more expensive version, he or she is not going to spend 20x times more on it.
Would there not be fundamentals that are transferable across the board?
 
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Tipoki13

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Regarding "commission only jobs": My university did a study on sales jobs on their previous students, and saw the average pay between those who had;
1) fixed salary
2) fixed base salary + commission
3) commission only

The first two had nearly the same pay, while the commission only jobs had around twice as high salary.

So don't knock commission based jobs because of that.


But regarding door to door alarm sales.... lets just say it's a start, and if you stick to sales, all your future jobs will just be uphill from there lol

You can accept it and start looking for other jobs right ahead
That's really how I view it, a start and an opportunity to learn
 

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Tipoki13

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I would look into whether it's actually an MLM. Essentially it's the same thing. Not worth it. There are plenty of ways you can learn sales while walking a generous salary plus commission.
I don't think it's an MLM tbh. The company is well-established and used to be state owned. They have 110,000 customers nationwide.
 

Dark Water

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Times have changed. The information age has reached even the oldest generation and everybody has Amazon accessible at their fingertips, along with 30 other smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to look at.

D2D is touted as the holy grail of sales experience but I don't buy it. I'd rather see someone get 15-20 repetitions an hour on the phone trying to sell a valuable product to a targeted customer that it could benefit than throwing shit up against the wall to see if it sticks. Because that's what I feel like D2D is. On top of it, I don't see how the margin for selling smoke detectors would be worth your time on commission only.

A simpler solution if you're just looking for a job while getting some experience would be at a retailer like GNC, where you can earn base pay but still have incentives for selling certain products to the customer. A step up from that might be inside sales at an insurance agency (auto, home, etc) or at a car dealership.

While Zig Ziglar and The Secrets of Closing of the Sale would lead you to believe otherwise, there are plenty of ways to get your feet wet in sales and fast.
 
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CaptainAmerica

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I took little sales gigs; cars, insurance, credit repair. Now I'm getting scouted by and actively seeking manufacturers and service providers to be an independent sales rep. I get to pick and choose, and I get to work in the industry I want. I've done the pricey seminars, webinars, and courses.

You know what I learned? I learned how important advertising and marketing is. Sales is where the money's at, for sure, because it's HARD. It's also worth it, but it's like the whole entrepreneurial journey - it's more about personal development than anything else.

D2D stinks. There's easier ways to get interested clientele. OTOH, you'll learn a lot about human nature, and hone your persuasion skills.
 

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People talk about sales skill as if it is a skill that can be picked up and move easily across industries. It is NOT.
Sales guy here, everything you said is 100% wrong.
Honestly - have you ever actually been in sales?

Here's a list I sold within a 10 year time frame:

- Server automation products
- Internet faxing services
- Virtual receptionist services
- Email marketing services
- Business cellular services
- Industrial, astronomical, security and scientific camera solutions
- Technical competitive intelligence reports on microprocessors
- My own physical products in my own businesses
- Freelance copywriting services

You could argue that there's some overlap in that I tend to gravitate towards "tech" products but none of those industries I mentioned above are similar to each other, at all. The client base is all over the map.

I've sold everything from free trials to 6 figure, highly technical, multi-disciplinary services. I've sold to the general public and I've sold to businesses. I've sold using writing and I've sold using words. I've sold to some of the world's top household name tech companies.

Sales is one of, if not the most, industry agnostic and transferable skill you can learn.
 
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Tipoki13

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Sales guy here, everything you said is 100% wrong.
Honestly - have you ever actually been in sales?

Here's a list I sold within a 10 year time frame:

- Server automation products
- Internet faxing services
- Virtual receptionist services
- Email marketing services
- Business cellular services
- Industrial, astronomical, security and scientific camera solutions
- Technical competitive intelligence reports on microprocessors
- My own physical products in my own businesses
- Freelance copywriting services

You could argue that there's some overlap in that I tend to gravitate towards "tech" products but none of those industries I mentioned above are similar to each other, at all. The client base is all over the map.

I've sold everything from free trials to 6 figure, highly technical, multi-disciplinary services. I've sold to the general public and I've sold to businesses. I've sold using writing and I've sold using words. I've sold to some of the world's top household name tech companies.

Sales is one of, if not the most, industry agnostic and transferable skill you can learn.
Thanks, that's encouraging!
 

minivanman

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It's interesting to me...

The types of sales jobs where you can definitely put numbers on the board will almost never allow commission only, and the jobs where you're lucky to ever make a sale, insist upon it.

If learning to sell will change your life (it will), and you have a safety net (parents, etc) to get by in the meantime, why not give it a shot for the experience alone?
While I do agree that this is the case in the real world, a great business person would have EVERYONE on commission, even the janitor.
 

Kevin88660

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Sales guy here, everything you said is 100% wrong.
Honestly - have you ever actually been in sales?

Here's a list I sold within a 10 year time frame:

- Server automation products
- Internet faxing services
- Virtual receptionist services
- Email marketing services
- Business cellular services
- Industrial, astronomical, security and scientific camera solutions
- Technical competitive intelligence reports on microprocessors
- My own physical products in my own businesses
- Freelance copywriting services

You could argue that there's some overlap in that I tend to gravitate towards "tech" products but none of those industries I mentioned above are similar to each other, at all. The client base is all over the map.

I've sold everything from free trials to 6 figure, highly technical, multi-disciplinary services. I've sold to the general public and I've sold to businesses. I've sold using writing and I've sold using words. I've sold to some of the world's top household name tech companies.

Sales is one of, if not the most, industry agnostic and transferable skill you can learn.
I am selling financial products, mainly insurance, mutual fund and other structured financial products.

If you are talking about basic skills such as not fearing rejection and strong work ethics well then it is the same.

But if you want to be top ten percent in sales in the specific field you need specific business and industry experience and knowledge. Clients base (the most valuable asset) takes time to accumulate. Sales at the top level is not too different from being a good in business person in that field. It takes time to get from zero to one.

I am telling the OP not to do sales for the sake of doing sales. Choose a field he wants to play for the long run. Do not sell fire alarm unless that is the field you want to play for the long run.
 

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Eh , I feel like if you can get an interview and not flub it then why start out in the grindiest possible sales position?

I sold Kirby's door to door and then cars , then it occured to me while selling cars "why the hell am I selling cars for a tiny bit each sale when I could just as easily sell houses or MRI machones?"

I mean , its not "just as easy" but an hour of your time selling item x is the same as an hour spent trying to sell item y , why not set yourself up for success and try for the big league to begin with?

If you need a job go for it , looks good on the resume at least but think bigger. For all you know some commercial real estate broker in your area is looking for a hungry young person they can train , hows 3% of a million dollar property sound? Even if a single deal takes months to close thats not bad right?

So don't get stuck in the mindset that you have to earn your wings doing door to door or that difficult sales are going to teach you more then preset leads. Go where the money is.
 

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Kevin88660

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While I do agree that this is the case in the real world, a great business person would have EVERYONE on commission, even the janitor.
There is a reason why some sales job pay a basic and some sales job don’t.

Basically there are two models.

1) Basic with bonus (low sales commission). This generally applies for INBOUND sales roles which they gets leads daily from the company. You have a high target to hit within six month and if you cannot hit you are out.


2) Commission (much higher commission than the previous model) only Sales job. You are basically an outbound sales person who is supposed to find your own customer. Starting phase will be difficult but long term rewards are higher.
 

Kevin88660

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Alright.

Once you're comfortable prescribing solutions to people's problems in one industry, and doing so successfully, how long does it take to learn and get good prescribing solutions in another industry? The same amount of time, or more, because sales isn't a transferable skill?

Idk... I guess I just see it differently, but I'm cool with being wrong. :)
1) Clients base, the most valuable assets in sales cannot be transferred across business or industries.

2)Steep learning curve relevant to the business/industry. In financial sales for instance there is a lot of regulation and hence a lot of compliance work to be done in a sales cycle. If you are a successful salesperson in the IT sector why would you even want to change the game to spend the first 1-2 years learning the ropes and not making much money?

3)In-depth understanding of the market demand. In theory yes you are proposing solution and addressing their need, but 95 percent of the time they will tell you they have no need, no problem to solve, no money for your “solution” and no time to listen because they have something on later, so within the first two minutes of the interaction you have to cold read your client (age, income level, gender, education level and religious background) with experience and angle in a topic that he or she find it interesting to give you the time to develop the conversation or a potential pitch.
 

Kevin88660

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Would there not be fundamentals that are transferable across the board?
Work ethic and reading body language. Yes.

Understanding how sales cycles works helps too. ProspectIng-Calling-Appointment-Open Case-Follow Up-Asking for Referral.

There is also technological changes that affect all sales communication. People are less receptive towards calls but more receptive towards messaging as it gives them the flexibility to choose when to respond. This doesn’t mean that salespeople shouldn't call to follow up but using calling as the only mean could be seen too pressurizing to the prospects.
 

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So I have a dilemma - I've been offered a door-to-door sales job but it's commission only?

I'll be selling house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to households. I feel this would be a hard sale as most households would be kitted out with these anyway and would be unlikely to change, maybe I'm wrong?

I have no sales experience and it's a skill that I really want to learn but I need to eat too.

Should I take the job for the training provided and the overall experience or should I look elsewhere?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Most people have cars, yet new cars are bought every single day.

Don't pre-judge before you walk up to a house, knock on the door with confidence, then ask the right questions to find out if there's a need.

Maybe just before you walked up to the door they had watched a commercial on TV about alarm systems and said to themselves "I really should get one..." then you come knocking with the solution.

You never know where people are in the buying cycle until you ASK.

Ideally, you'd want to be selling a product that has some kind of differentiation/USP compared to what most people have.

TLDR; If you just jump in and go for it and give yourself no choice but to succeed, you WILL figure it out.
 

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Do it. Experience it for yourself. Get to know your target customers. Educate them. Some may not even realize they have the problem until you provide your solution.
Sales reputation is all jacked up due to money hungry and greedy people. Folks that screw over others just to make a quick dollar. Every time I bring up sales friends look at me like I was created from area51 LOL! It all comes down to providing a real need.

Here's how I would do it.

1. Provide real facts about the PROBLEM that if the customer googled it, they can find it. Ex. Did you know that fire alarms increases chance of surviving a accidental fire by......

2. Trigger emotions. Whats in it for them. Whats the benefit. Why is it a Need for them.

3. Offer your solution. Don't bash what they are currently using. Instead tell them why you are diff. Like our fire system talks to each other. And since the batteries are built to last a life time, you don't have to worry about replacing it or not working when it needs to be (I just made this up. Do your own due diligence) :)

Side thought as I was writing this: Why dont you be a salesman for house alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and on the side develop a technician business that services these things. Hire independent contractors who has their own tools and you just take a %. Anyways I rather sell this then tell close friends and families to meet me at starbucks.
 
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But if you want to be top ten percent in sales in the specific field you need specific business and industry experience and knowledge
Again, this is just plain wrong, I'm sorry. Not trying to be antagonistic here but this just isn't how it works.

Selling is a skill.

Business experience is not. Product knowledge is not. Industry knowledge is not.

You might as well be saying "reading isn't a very transferable skill because different books are about different topics". It just doesn't make sense. If you are a good reader, you can pick up any book and competently navigate it.

Clients base (the most valuable asset) takes time to accumulate.
It sounds like you're talking about building a book of business - which is a process, not a skill. Various things make having a great book of business a great thing to strive for (repeat business, referrals, etc...) but building a book of business is a by-product of being good at sales. Not a prerequisite.

I am telling the OP not to do sales for the sake of doing sales. Choose a field he wants to play for the long run.
Again, this is like saying "reading takes time, don't pick up any books unless they are book you know you'll love forever. It just doesn't make sense when it comes to acquiring the skill of reading. Also makes no sense in terms of acquiring the skill of selling.

Here's a random example - Buddy of mine joined a sales team I was on at one company (I referred him in). We had a team of 15 at the time, most had been there between 1 and 5 years. Every one of them knew the product inside and out and had books of business a mile long (I had over 7 thousand clients myself and was considered a product expert with only our support / engineering departments knowing more about the technical aspects of the product). My buddy got there, learned a week's worth of product knowledge and went on to be the 3rd salesperson on our team in month one and top salesperson in month 2 (and going forward). He then went on to re-train the team on how to do their sales jobs better and became management's golden boy. Why? Because he was better at selling than anyone else on the team despite having the least amount of clients, the least amount of product and industry experience, the least seniority, and literally nothing but a phone and his knowledge of sales to go off of.

Sales is the skill of talking to others and being persuasive. That's it. It's not industry experience or books of business or industry knowledge. It's the ability to talk to another human being and getting them to say "yes". That's ALL sales is. Learn how to do that really, really F*cking well in one industry and I guarantee you'll do it well in almost any other.
 

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Here's a random example - Buddy of mine joined a sales team I was on at one company (I referred him in). We had a team of 15 at the time, most had been there between 1 and 5 years. Every one of them knew the product inside and out and had books of business a mile long (I had over 7 thousand clients myself and was considered a product expert with only our support / engineering departments knowing more about the technical aspects of the product). My buddy got there, learned a week's worth of product knowledge and went on to be the 3rd salesperson on our team in month one and top salesperson in month 2 (and going forward). He then went on to re-train the team on how to do their sales jobs better and became management's golden boy. Why? Because he was better at selling than anyone else on the team despite having the least amount of clients, the least amount of product and industry experience, the least seniority, and literally nothing but a phone and his knowledge of sales to go off of.
What year did that take place?

Sales is the skill of talking to others and being persuasive. That's it. It's not industry experience or books of business or industry knowledge. It's the ability to talk to another human being and getting them to say "yes". That's ALL sales is. Learn how to do that really, really F*cking well in one industry and I guarantee you'll do it well in almost any other.
I disagree with the old school notion that sales performance is by and large a result of persuasion skills.

I am in a sales organization and still an active practitioner. The difference between the top sales person and the average sales person is mainly the quality and quantity of the client base.
The top performer had his phone rang and his client called in to make a million dollar investment deal. This is not because the top salesperson said a magic line to his client one week ago. This is because the top sales person has spent the last 10-15 years grinding in the business and building up a portfolio of quality clients.

Again it is not persuasion skill that builds the book of business. It is pure hard work in prospecting and playing the numbers game. Someone who talks to 80 people a day is going to build the business faster than someone who talks to 50 people a day. There is no magic line or secret objection handling script, despite what many “sales guru” say.

It is business skill rather than persuasion skills. In financial sales it is a known fact that if you can sell to richer clients you can hit your numbers much more quickly. How do you get to know them? How do you build trust with them? How do you create incentives so that they can give you referrals? It is business skill.

Sales today rarely is about persuading people from no to yes (which often is a waste of time). Sales today is about how to quickly search for people who have a minimum level of interest and pitch to them. It is active prospecting rather than persuading. It is also developing relationship and investing time with quality clients. High Income earners will often have friends who have similar income levels.

I am not saying persuasion skill is not important. I just saying persuasion skill is just a small part of the overall sales success.

It also depends on the specific market you are operating in. If you operate in a niche B2B space and you only have a small pool of potential clients, and you are selling complex services that involves a lot of consultation, then there is no choice but to actively think of ways to overcome clients’ objections and try to turn every “no” into a “yes”.
 

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It sounds like you're in an industry or company that is setup to financially reward people for existing business.

This isn't necessarily unusual - when I worked for that camera company, this is how they were set up as well. I received a % of every order, even if I did absolutely nothing except take the order every month/quarter/whatever.

In situations like this, you can be a tremendously mediocre salesperson with the goal of "do enough to not get fired" and sure, give it 15 years and you'll likely be making 80+ % of your income from existing accounts, referrals, etc. Add your mediocre selling skill into the mix and you'll be earning many multiples of what even the hottest salesperson can bring to the table simply by virtue of the size of your book of business.

As you can see, there is a huge disconnect in situations like this between selling skill and earning potential over time.

A newcomer or someone better trained in sales will be selling circles around you, but still earning less. This isn't a skill issue - it's a compensation issue.

Earning more, in this case, does not equate to better skills.

So if someone asked you "how do I be a top EARNER at this company" - one correct answer may simply be be time. You can compensate for a lack of skill by replacing it with mediocre results over time.

However, if someone asked you "how do I be the top SALESPERSON at this company" - the correct answer is simple - learn better sales skills and sell more new business than anyone else.

Someone who brings in a million dollars in NEW business per year is objectively better at selling than someone who brings in only 300k, even if that 300k person brings in 5 million in revenue from existing accounts.
 

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It sounds like you're in an industry or company that is setup to financially reward people for existing business.

This isn't necessarily unusual - when I worked for that camera company, this is how they were set up as well. I received a % of every order, even if I did absolutely nothing except take the order every month/quarter/whatever.

In situations like this, you can be a tremendously mediocre salesperson with the goal of "do enough to not get fired" and sure, give it 15 years and you'll likely be making 80+ % of your income from existing accounts, referrals, etc. Add your mediocre selling skill into the mix and you'll be earning many multiples of what even the hottest salesperson can bring to the table simply by virtue of the size of your book of business.

As you can see, there is a huge disconnect in situations like this between selling skill and earning potential over time.

A newcomer or someone better trained in sales will be selling circles around you, but still earning less. This isn't a skill issue - it's a compensation issue.

Earning more, in this case, does not equate to better skills.

So if someone asked you "how do I be a top EARNER at this company" - one correct answer may simply be be time. You can compensate for a lack of skill by replacing it with mediocre results over time.

However, if someone asked you "how do I be the top SALESPERSON at this company" - the correct answer is simple - learn better sales skills and sell more new business than anyone else.

Someone who brings in a million dollars in NEW business per year is objectively better at selling than someone who brings in only 300k, even if that 300k person brings in 5 million in revenue from existing accounts.
My industry rewards mainly new business too.

The issue is mainly about the buying pattern of consumers. People do business with the financial consultants they can trust and those they have worked with. Experienced financial consultants will just have old customers who keep buying new products from them yearly. So if your book of business is large you will have more new business very easily.

So for new guys on the business they have to cold call and do door to door to gain their first customer which we know is a very slow process. Even if they are a superstar salesperson from a different field, it is back to zero again. The good communication and presentation skill is not going to make up for the lack of book of business for the first few years.

OP mentioned that he has to do door to door. So it is an outbound sales position with no inbound leads. There is no walk in customer to buy products. It is exactly the same as what I am doing. So my reasoning is if you are going to invest your time to build the book of business (which is only to pay off you in the long run) you better choose a field that has a good long term market potential like software/financials/real estate.

I guess that your sales experience has been largely inbound sales position where sales leads come to you, and your job is to focus on converting them. You are not required to cold call to acquire customers.

Inbound sales people are typically paid a basic salary, lower sales commission and a high sales target to hit. In my industry the danger is that if your inbound locations do not give you enough quality sales leads you will be screwed on both ends-earning lower commission and having to work overtime during off office hours to find prospects. This happens a lot to banks outlets in poor physical locations. They work in an empty outlet from 8am-6pm with no traffic. Then proceed to cold call customers from 7-9pm. Rinse and repeat from Monday to Saturday. Do roadshows on Sunday. Rest 1-2 days a month and make 4-5k a month. After 1-2 years they quit their office jobs in banks and work as commission only financial consultants.

If the OP is only looking to gain experience in sales then doing an inbound sales job with a basic salary is much a better option. But again in this tough economy I am sure there are many applicants who are dying to get that offer too.
 

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