A question for commissioned salespeople...

Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 10:52 am
Is it common for a salesperson to have to split a commission if someone else writes up the order? What about if the order taker is a manager?

I just learned that, at least in one particular store, that even if you say "Judy was our salesperson" to make sure she gets the commission (because she did an excellent job) that Judy might forfeit part of her pay because she wasn't scheduled when you finally placed your order.

Did I just run across a weird business or is this typical?

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Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 02:08 pm
Managers generally aren't commissioned (salaried p[lus a store-monthl-and yearly-revenue incentives), so the salesman #1 won't lose anything if they write it up. However, if a mgr is busy sometimes they'll assign another salesman to write it up, therefore necessitating a split of the commish, but not too frequent.

As a smart salesman, I would ask when is convenient for your return? I would tell them my days off and request that when they return to ask for me. That way I can assist them and get 100% of my deserved commission. I made sure they knew the scenario but didn't put pressure on them to come in only when it was convenient for me. the idea is to serve the customer the best way possible without undue pressure. Most places are not 100% commission based but work with a certain weekly guaranteed salary..and supplement (well) with added commissions.

When the sale closed, salesman #2 (not being present) has to split 50-50 the commission with salesman #1. This is all normal and necessary. Th sad part odf commissioned sales is customers forget to mention the original sales person. Even though they may have done a good job, they can lose out.
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 02:30 pm
That's pretty much what I thought -- managers don't make commission of the sales but they might get a bonus based on the overall store sales.

If one salesman does the pitch but the customer has to think it over and a second salesman closes the deal at a later time then they split the commission.

In my particular situation, salesman one, Judy, did all the work. Mr. B and I just wanted to double check that we could afford the purchase so we took a day to think it over.
Mr. B returned to the store to make the purchase. He told the person that Judy was our salesman so that Judy would get the commission.
Mr. B was told that Judy wasn't there that day but that he would write it up.
Mr. B said the he wanted to be sure that Judy got the commission (it was a fairly big ticket item).
Mr. B was told that Judy would have to split the commission with him because he was writing up the sale.
Mr. B asked for the manager to write it up so that Judy would get the commission.
Turns out, this guy was the manager.
Mr. B asked when Judy would be back at work and then he went back and had Judy write up the order.

Judy isn't a friend of ours or anything, she was just really good at her job, knowledgeable, informative, not pushy, she spent quite a bit of time with us.

I think her manager might be ripping her off and I think that totally sucks.

I was considering writing a letter to the area manager/corporate office/whatever might be the case and asking WTH was up with this method of splitting commissions. Before doing this I wanted to see if this type of behavior was in any way typical.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 02:34 pm
I think you edited while I was writing!

Yes, specifying days off would be a good idea!

I could maybe understand if the person who wrote up the order got maybe 10% of the commission but 50% seems absurd.

I always ask salespeople if they work on commission -- especially when they do a really good job. I like to see good people get paid well.
Joe Nation
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 03:10 pm
Been there, done that.
Most people who return to a commission sales store don't do what you and your husband did. It's what makes commission sales so cut-throat.
Friend of mine worked for The Men's Wearhouse and sometimes would spend an hour working with a customer, (Show them four suits, show them what shoes, ties and shirts would go together) but, at the end of the hour, did not close the sale.

Two days later, he would see the same customer standing with the tailor, getting fitted for the suits he had been shown by my friend.
Everybody just shrugged.
You have to close the sale.Right.
Can I add in something which is probably going to sound mean.
(It comes from my days as furniture salesman.)
You're going to the store to make a major purchase, right?
Don't you know what your budget is for that item before you get to the store?
Sales is about overcoming objections.
This thing is too big.
Okay, ...here's a smaller one.
This is the wrong green.
Here's three other greens to choose from.

On and on, until you strike out all the objections and the customer gets what they want.
I can't tell how many sales I lost to other employees because "We have to go home and think about it (because we don't know IF we have the money)" is an objection that cannot be overcome.

Most people don't prepare.
Most people don't know how much they have to spend.
Most salespeople are driven to insanity by most people.

Joe(That's all)Nation
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 03:23 pm
@Joe Nation,
I can understand preparation. I just didn't know how really expensive these things can be (a mattress). We didn't really have a set budget for something that we aren't familiar with. I'm not going to spend $1,000 more than I anticipated spending without thinking it over.

So.... you know.... sorry.

But that's why I'm careful about who gets the commission.
Joe Nation
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 03:33 pm
$1000 is a lot (Of course, I don't know what you thought you might spend, but in mattresses it could be double.)

On behalf of all commissioned salespeople everywhere, thank you for your humanity.

I would be very surprised if you don't get a handwritten thank you note from Judy.
Joe(you'd get one from me.)Nation
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 03:38 pm
I agree with Joe (sales pro) Nation.

to be effective in sales, it is all about closing the deal.

a good manager is not on commission...
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 03:46 pm
@Joe Nation,
I anticipated spending about $2,500 so $1,000 more was pretty substantial.

I can't believe how much a mattress can cost.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 03:48 pm
I wouldn't think any manager would be on commission. That just seems very odd to me that this one was -- and that he was trying to horn in on his staff's commissions.
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 05:08 pm
I'm not 100% clear about the explanation about what the manager has said about the commission issue and the particulars. That could be just me being dense here. If your salesman wasn't on duty that day, then there's little that can be done about them losing half of the commission.

My feeling is that if this scenario has the manager getting or distributing up the commission and the salesperson really was there, there's something wrong with the system. Then it might be worthwhile to send your letter in support of your salesman. I might suggest asking the salesman if you are so inclined. However, personally I'd make sure that doing so wouldn't get them in any hot water. (Of course, you'd be make it clear the sales person wasn't putting you up to the letter.)
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 05:22 pm
Actually, there was a lot that was done -- we walked away from ordering it that day (and for all he knew, we walked away forever) and came back at a time when she was working to place the order. The place isn't far from Mr. B's office so it was really just a minor inconvenience not a major hassle to go back.

She had already put everything down that we wanted and had given us a package price on the mattress and some accessories. All he had to do was click a button to submit the order and take our money. We didn't think the deserved half the commission for that.

He was willing to let us walk out the door rather than give her all the commission. What kind of manger is that?
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 05:45 pm
Please understand that you can't dictate how they distribute commissions.You can write letters expressing your indignation..and that's about it.

I'm still very unclear if your salesman was there that day, why they didn't write up the sale on visit #2.

Also, as a former furntiture salesman who sold bedding, I understand a lot about what makes up good mattresses value and and what was out there in the marketplace. I also know how long people take to make up their minds and how long they stay in the maketplace.

It also behooves the consumer who is really interested in buying (not just kicking tires) to educate themselves about value -- i.e. what a good bedding is and how long the mattress will serve them (keep comfortable and offer good back support). People are shocked to learn that inexpensive bedding (under $700) only keeps its comfort and offers good back support for a few years - maybe 5 or 6 yrs.

I tried my best to educate my customers about what good long-lasting mattresses cost ($1000 or more). I even went so far as to suggesting (at an appropriate time with non-closed sales) about articles like Consumer Reports about bedding, how to shop for beds and what value is. I do my best to educate the customer IF they have the interest in learning. (I didn't go into issues about how the mattresses were constructed unless they really wanted it.)

But I have digressed, here.
I see no clear problem with how you describe the manager's actions.
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 06:02 pm
Thank you, Ragman. I'll not write a letter.

But to tell the truth his actions seemed pretty shifty to me. I found a way to circumvent it though and I feel okay about having done so.

I had done quite a bit of research (sleeplikethedead.com has a lot of good info, for one) and "Judy" filled in all the blanks. I fell in love with a type of mattress that I hadn't seen reviews on. Mr. B went in and he really liked it too. So we researched it some more.

We knew what we didn't like about our old mattress (that had overstayed it's welcome) and we knew we didn't want memory foam (Mr. B hates it) so our options were pretty narrow.

I'm a pretty tough sell and I thought this woman had earned her commission.
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