I recently remembered an incident that occurred back in 1978 while I was selling. I’d totally forgotten about it – it isn’t in our Profitable Sales book, but it should be! It especially applies to those of you who own a construction-related business and employ a salesperson.

I was working as a salesperson for a fairly well run remodeling company. I went on a sales call to the home of a CPA that I’d know for some years. He had done my taxes and the taxes of several of our family members, and I’d brought the lead into the company.

When I returned to the office the next day, my boss called me into his office and told me that my potential client had called that morning and requested that he, the owner, take over the call. Naturally I was concerned, so I asked if there was a reason the potential client didn’t want to work with me any longer. The owner told me, “Yes, he doesn’t want to pay your sales commission. He says he wants his price without your commission tacked onto it.”

He then said, “Don’t worry, if I sell the job, I will pay you half the commission for the sale.”

As an owner, what would you have done? As a salesperson, how would you have reacted?

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Ryan Bruzan
Ryan Bruzan
June 10, 2010 4:52 am

I agree with Ken, Paul, Mitch and John. My price would be the same as or more than the salesperson and s/he would get the full commission.

paulchoate
paulchoate
June 6, 2010 10:59 am

I would say it with a smile!

John Hicks
John Hicks
June 4, 2010 3:00 pm

Totally agree with Ken. Pull and end around on someone you know? What a crappy move. I would handle the sale and give the salesman his full share. Depending on the customer, I might also add on a little for the aggravation factor. I do not think that announcing to them that they have to pay you commission is a good idea. It kinda pushes it back in their face. Keep smiling and play nice. Aren’t people just unbelievable?

Mitch Stanley
Mitch Stanley
June 4, 2010 2:23 pm

As an owner I would have sold the job and paid the salesperson his full commission and told the potential client flat out that doing otherwise is hurtful to everyone involved and very unprofessional. I would have let the client walk rather than go down that road as I have done in the past with potential clients’ that want to be unreasonable. As the salesperson, if the business owner had not stood behind me, I would have started looking for someplace else to work. I definitely would have called the CPA to let him know how unprofessional this was and… Read more »

Paul Choate
Paul Choate
June 4, 2010 12:32 am

I would simply say, “Okay but you’re going to have to pay MY sales commission now. I can’t work for free…fair enough?”.

Ken Polikov
Ken Polikov
June 3, 2010 10:08 pm

As an owner, I would take over the sales call but I would offer my salesman 100% commission.. I would sell the job for the same price my salesman would have and done my best to get the job and provide the customer with the product and services he paid me to provide..

A potential customer who would go around a salesman let alone a friend makes me believe he is going to be difficult no matter who makes the sales call. I certainly would not reward him for his behavior.

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