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How to Hire Full Commission Sales Reps

Is the 100% Commission Sales Rep a Thing of the Past?

I know what you think this post is a thing of the past and not even a question, but if you’re reading it, you’re interested in hiring 100% commission-based sales reps.

Hiring top sales performers on a base salary + commission OTE plan is hard enough for businesses, but hiring 100% commission sales representatives who are talented, confident and can see the big picture of a pure commission-based salary is even harder…

The base salary versus 100% committee debate stems from veteran sales professionals who didn’t have the luxury of having a base salary plan to support them when they started. Hence the generational stigma about millennials not having what it takes to sell.

Many salespeople cannot “afford” to take a 100% commission sales position. Literally, not getting a paycheck for weeks or even months is a scary thought, even for the most competitive salesperson. And when it’s a job seeker market (which it is) it means job seekers can selectively search for a new opportunity, and employers compete to hire top talent.

Hence, moving away from pure 100% commission sales jobs.

The 100% commission sales rep is alive and well, but on a newly-defined playground. Like the other sales landscape, the 100% commission position has developed. Just as job seekers hesitate to accept a 100% commission position, employers see the risk of recruiting a salesperson and paying them a large base salary if they don’t succeed, contributing to employee turnover and costing the company money.

What works in some B2B or B2C sales industries around commission plans will not work in others.

So if the 100% commission sales rep is still viable, how should companies be hiring these sales reps?

How to hire 100% commission sales reps in today’s job market:

1. Know your commission structure

*Important note: First things first, don’t equate hiring 100% commission reps with “free.”

You should be very serious about growing revenue, building a sales team, and paying your sales reps.

Understand how the commission structure will work. That means understanding your:

Average deal size
Sales cycle
Sales approach
Having a firm grasp on how you plan to scale sales is essential when hiring salespeople.

2. Have a professional and updated website

If it’s your first sales hire or you’re expanding an established team, an updated website is a must! This is the first place to go every sales candidate interested in your job opportunity. It’s also where your customers can research.

There are plenty of paid and free resources out there {check out Wix} to help you make a beautiful and functional website. Make it a priority as you look to grow.

3. Have a recruiting and onboarding process that works

If you don’t have a recruitment process in place, build one or consult a sales hiring company on how to hire and embark your new hire(s). If you don’t have this yet, you’ll probably target the wrong type of salesperson and recruit the wrong fit. Many businesses would struggle to recruit effectively, even though they have an inefficient recruiting process.

4. Expect to pay when recruiting

Myth: Sales recruiting is free.

If you cut corners, you’ll see that when you know that you made a recruiting error. If you’re posting jobs or spending hours checking resumes, you’re spending your time or money. Be prepared to invest.

5. Hire multiple sales reps at the same time

When looking to recruit 100% commission sales reps, consider recruiting more than one concurrently. This not only makes it easier to train many sales reps at once, it also helps to weed out the C-Players’ A-Players.

Anticipate that not every sales rep will make it and that employees will turn over.

6. Have an award-winning sales training program

This is crucial when hiring and retaining sales reps. Have a targets and benchmarks 30, 60, 90-day sales training plan in place. Make the new hires effective with realistic quotas. Comprehend how they get their leads.

Don’t leave them hanging and expect them to develop the company. Yeah, you want entrepreneurs on your squad, but you must give them ongoing help to reach their numbers.

7. Be 100% honest and transparent with candidates

Explain how and when they make money. Much like candidates trust you to help them, you need to set precise standards and answer concerns. Be very transparent and express your priorities.

Too often, commission sales jobs are presented as pyramid schemes. They tell you all the wonderful stuff, though no one on the sales team meets quota, and you can make money until you meet your targets and become a boss. Be frank and realistic and acknowledge the problems.

8. Show them that there is real money to be made

If you already have an internal commission-based sales team, let sales applicants meet current team members during the interview process.

Be sure to talk about team members that are top performers and what they are doing to be successful.

9. Consider ramping up new sales hires with a draw

Paying the new sales reps is not a prerequisite and you can still get your hires, but you can choose from a wider pool of sales candidates and improve the selection of applicants by providing a small ramp-up stipend. To see more traffic with stronger candidates, consider providing a recoverable or non-recoverable draw.

10. Provide a career path

As long as the sales process is real and the company grows, your 100% commission sales reps prove their ability to close deals. Build a development strategy to support the best performers. Growth opportunities and career path for top reps are significant. Retain top performers and continue to reward their success.

Hiring salesmen with experience, zeal, and desire to succeed is no simple feat. Understand that problems will occur, and remember to be real about paying the sales reps. Be serious about paying performance-based sales reps.

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