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100% Commission Reps Who Aren’t Selling Do Cost You: Hamish Knox – Sandler Training

Hamish Knox


Sandler Training



Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada

Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary


Conversation overheard at many gatherings of business owners.

  • “My salespeople aren’t selling.”
  • “What’re you paying them?”
  • “Nothing, they’re on 100% commission.”

Sounds like a great situation, if money is rolling in another way (like the owner still sells), but salespeople who aren’t performing, one 100% commission or not, do cost their leader in two ways.

  1. Mental and emotional energy – in my experience with Owners who have non-performing 100% commission reps the Owner burns a tonne of mental energy coaching, cajoling, and begging/berating their reps to perform. Mental energy that could be spent on developing or growing the business, coaching high performers or going out and selling. More taxing on the Owner is the emotional energy burned on wondering how a relationship that started off so well, probably with the rep claiming that they have “lots of good contacts in the industry,” went so dramatically sideways.
  2. Opportunity cost – not only the cost of lost prospecting opportunities, but also the cost of not terminating your non-performing rep and finding another who will actually perform the way you believed your current rep would when you interviewed them.

To maximize your return on your 100% commission reps start by adopting the mindset that their actions are more valuable than their words and do the behavior of holding them accountable to the actions that their words portray. If they can’t demonstrate in their first 2-3 weeks selling for you that they will take the actions required to be successful then terminate them and find someone else who will.

Owners have said to me, “I can’t hold them accountable. I’m not the only one they sell for.” That’s fair if you want your 100% commission (and no equity) reps managing you instead of you managing them. The right fit for your organization will want to be held accountable.

For your accountability program to be successful you must start from the interview process with complete clarity on your behavior expectations for your rep (number of prospecting attempts, unique conversations, discovery meetings, etc.) and how/when you expect them to report to you. Without that clarity your rep will do what feels comfortable to them instead of doing what’s best for your organization.

A 100% commission rep can be a great asset to a business, provided you’re not hiring them because you don’t want to prospect and sell, with the right structure around accountability and clarity on behavior expectations.

Until next time… go lead.

Upcoming Workshop:

Building a High Performance Sales Culture

Align your people, processes and sales culture to consistently achieve maximum results.


Thursday September 7, 2017 from 11:30AM-2:30PM

Click to register online or register by phone on 403-457-1507.

Successfully filling an open position requires the skill to develop an accurate job profile and identify the skills, habits, attitude, and other abilities required to effectively and efficiently carry out the functions of the position.

Workshop facilitated by Hamish Knox of Sandler Training and Lynee Miller of the Devine Group.

Investment includes – 3 hour workshop, Playbook for recruiting, hiring and onboarding A-players, lunch and a copy of “Winning from Failing – Build and Lead a Corporate Learning Culture for High Performance” by Sandler Trainer, Josh Seibert.

Are you:

  • A Chief Executive, Owner or President who seeks sustainable top and bottom line growth for your business?
  • Do you wonder how to build a team with the right attitudes and behaviors to succeed?
  • Seeking to hire the right people?

You’ll Leave With:

  • A playbook for hiring, recruiting and onboarding employees.
  • A roadmap to properly manage, supervise and motivate your people for growth.
  • Coaching plans to improve individual and team performance.
  • An easy and efficient process for identifying key competencies that are aligned to company performance.

Attract, Retain and Train High Quality Employees

Click to register online or call (403) 457-1507 to register by phone.

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