Here’s an interesting article from The Ladders on Negotiating a Bigger Sales Package.  It includes definitions of eight types of sales and/or commission packages, discussions of the pros and cons of each, and negotiating tips for improving your deal:

Straight commission – just like it sounds…you get paid for what you sell

Variable commission – commission varies according to size of sale, new accounts, or other circumstances

Draw against commission – sort of a loan that you might utilize in the beginning of your position or sales cycle

Advance against commission – like a draw, but more of an occasional event

Base plus commission – base salary that doesn’t change, plus commissions off your sales

Salary – straight pay, no matter how much you sell

Salary plus bonus - salary plus one-time bonuses, as you meet certain requirements or at the company’s discretion

Residual commission – keeps paying even after you move on

Sales jobs include as wide a variety of pay structures as there are things to sell, and knowing how to navigate and negotiate your way through will benefit you in the long run.  Generally, base plus commission is standard, and desirable.  Straight commission is not as good (I think) because that means that the company isn’t investing in you–it’s more of a sink-or-swim situation.  Straight salary isn’t as good because you don’t get rewarded for your success, so where’s your motivation?.  Base pay plus bonuses are more often found in marketing arenas. 

If you’re in an area where you can’t negotiate commissions, you might find room to maneuver in company cars, trips, and other extras, sometimes in one-off deals.  Your recruiter can help smooth those kinds of discussions with the hiring company, giving you advice, feedback, and a realistic idea of what you can expect.




Written by Sales Recruiter - Get Interview Questions Tips & Sales Career Advice

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