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I was out for lunch the other day with some associates, and the topic of compensation came up. A long-time business friend looked at me and shook his head. “Salespeople are overpaid.” He stated loudly and with such confidence that I couldn’t help but choke on the sip of water I’d been drinking.

Is this mentality still alive today? Do executives still believe that paying low commission and salary rates to their sales staff is healthy for the growth of their business? I did a bit of research when I got back to the office, and I couldn’t believe what I discovered. It appears that there are still a significant number of companies with this outdated mindset, and that’s why I’m here – to prove them wrong.

Salespeople are the face of your business

I think any company who agrees with the notion that “salespeople are overpaid” must have forgotten the fact that these men and women are the faces of their business. These are the people out there every day, upholding the company’s reputation and ensuring customers are satisfied. They are also the ones with a first-hand look at what strategies are working and which aren’t, and in the end, they are the ones making sales – after all, your products and services aren’t going to sell themselves. Shouldn’t salespeople be compensated appropriately for this?

They share your company’s risk

Most salespeople are reimbursed based on a commission-only model, which means that if business is good, their paycheck is good too. On the flip-side, if there is a downturn in the economy or the industry begins to suffer for any reason, their wages will directly reflect this.

It’s no secret that a salesperson’s salary can fluctuate, and there can be some uncertainty that goes along with this job. The commission rates offered to salespeople should echo the level of risk that these positions entail.

Sales is hard

This header says it all and should need no further explanation – but I’ll give one anyway. Sales jobs can be challenging. Salespeople have to cope with rejection daily, work long and grueling hours, are put under extreme pressure to meet specific sales quotas and goals, and live with a certain level of uncertainty. All of this, in my personal opinion, deserves a commensurate reward.

Salespeople are in short supply

With the havoc that COVID-19 has caused over the past year, there has been a significant shift in Australia’s job market. Postings for sales positions are going up left, right and center, but nobody is applying. With so much uncertainty in all areas of our lives, people aren’t willing to switch jobs, especially in an industry such as sales, where uncertainty already abounds. Attracting suitable candidates with the sales skills required to grow your business means offering appealing compensation and bonus packages

If you want your business to continue to grow and profit, you need to make sure that your sales team is working hard for you, and you need to ensure that they are being paid according to their hard work. The next time you are out at a business luncheon and someone says that salespeople are overpaid, how will you respond?