Then why would you possibly want to use the outdated phrase, “I don’t get paid on commission”?

 I had an experienced, or maybe not so, real estate broker use this line on me recently while scouting new location properties for my company. There was never really any thought given to the phrase before, in 20 years of selling I haven’t found myself using it once.  It was, however, very interesting how I completely shut down to the guy after he used this infamous sales grab. Realizing that I did the “you’re cut off” mode not just in this instance but every time I hear that obsolete line, I began to break it down from the customer/client perspective. There are two key issues, read through them as the customer and ask yourself; “What do I feel when I hear that from a sales professional?”

 First is the issue of character. Images of the classic used car salesman in the polyester leisure suit come to mind and reinforce the stereotype of the sales professional. Why? Because when a sales person uses that phrase;

 They are lying  

That’s the nature of the sales position. Whether it’s a direct commission, an indirect location profit bonus, career advancement potential or some other incentive…by whatever name, it’s a sales incentive! With the challenging economy we are in currently, there is even more focus on commission based sales. Anyone can lie to a customer, that’s not real selling.

 They are perceived as lying

The stereotypes of the sales professional are unfortunately strong and enduring. Those few who still use deception and manipulation tactics to close a sale only perpetuate that distrust. Consumers typically are skeptical at best of ‘sales people’ and those types of lines only make it worse. That rare sales person on a pure salary gets grouped with the rest and still has to earn credibility and trust.

 It’s irrelevant information

The simple fact is that most customers/clients do not go home wondering if the sales person got decent commission, are making their bills and their family is well provided for. Even if they loved the sales person, they may tell others and that’s key but not assured to happen. Longtime customers may do more, but the phrase becomes even more irrelevant in that case.

 The second issue is one of competency. When a sales person says, “I do not get paid on commission”, the customer may become even more skeptical and assume;

 They are not very good?

So does that mean that this person is not confident enough in their knowledge and ability to put it on the line for my money? Will they really be able to evaluate my needs as a customer? Do they really know enough about the products and services they offer? Sounds like they couldn’t even sell their company on a decent pay plan.

 They are desperate

Which brings things back to them not being very skilled or knowledgeable.

 Whether you use this phrase or not still remains your choice as a sales professional. Simply consider the ideas above and the fact that customers are more knowledgeable and savvy than ever. Times change and sales communication must change. In the sales environment, quickly developing rapport and credibility are essential to success. Competency and character are at the heart of that success and customers will evaluate quickly and with scrutiny.

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