Sales jobs

Random question: but is it fairly common for door-to-door/canvassing type sales people to work on commission only? What about if they work for a large company that solicits other companies? Is this standard practice (friend interviewed for a job and they offered commission only for basically external sales, and I think he could find a better deal).

I would think so, I find it hard to imagine these days a sales job where you essentially worked on your own time where the majority of your money didn’t come from commission.

— Alan

That just seems iffy, and reminds me of the old scams I saw back in college, e.g. “sell our water filters, we give you the kit (for $300) and each sale you make you get back ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!”

Of course, the company was making money off the kit, not the water filters, and I had one friend nearly kill himself trying to sell the filters.

But, assuming this isn’t that rare (I think car salesmen are like this?), can he expect benefits or anything else like that, or is he strictly going to be a contractor?

In high school, I took a straight commission job doing door-to-door sales for cable TV (this was back when cable TV was newer, though not brand new - ~1987).

The problem is that when a company pays straight commission, it’s got incentives to hire every possible person it can, and have an enormous churn, as the only cost to it is when a sale is made.

I went to their 2-hour training seminar, then followed an older salesman around for 2 hours (he didn’t make a sale, and was generally morose and discouraged about things). I was then given my own list of houses to visit (within a couple block area). I found that every house had already been hit by other salesman from the same cable TV company as many as 5 times in the preceding 6 months. I didn’t get even close to a nibble in a couple hours of knocking on doors, and immediately quit.

Other friends of mine had similar experiences in door-to-door sales (some for selling knives, books, or other stuff).

If a company is paying you straight commission, without even a starter/training wage, they have no incentive to treat you well or to know that your sales are likely to be productive.

Plus, I quickly realized that door-to-door sales just feels kinda scummy. Which is probably why these companies usually only hire high-school/college kids, who are to naive to know any better.

I remember about 8 years ago in college i finally bit at those get rich quick ads in the newspaper Help Wanted sections, and it turned out to be just like Phil’s experience, although i didn’t make it through the whole pre-seminar since it was clearly a scam. I think it was for selling some sort of water-powered air purifier.

Blah blah its fantastic, smell it when you add vanilla extract (?), you’ll can be rich beyond your wildest dreams (50k+/y) with unlimited advancement potential; but only if you put the effort into marketing it - though, at the same time, its a fantastic part time job! (All income was commission based). This seminar is being held in what seems a recently abandoned office complex deep in the industrial ass end of town and utterly devoid of furniture, decorations, signs, anything less movable than a cheap desk, a couple dozen metal chairs and a hanging whiteboard.

The best part was after sitting though all this BS they hand out a poorly photocopied ‘personality’ test, so blurry half of it is barely legible, call it a “scantron”, and tell us that “if we don’t match the right personality, they can’t hire us, and sorry, its all done by computer.” Then some dude looks at me when thet leave and says “Whoa, we had better do well!”. Yea, time to exit stage right.

Wierdest moment, though, is as i’m leaving the ‘hosts’ give me a look of not of disrespect but of equality, as if i wasn’t a total newblar and saw through their scam and so was worthy of respect - or more likely, that i didn’t fill the demographic bill and that they would have been more suprised if i had stayed.

Never take a job that’s commission only for the reasons above. We pay our sales guys peanuts+commission, but those peanuts at least dissuade us from hiring 10,000 suits.