Commission-based sales professionals help businesses to increase their revenue, by closing deals for them, whether that’s in-person, over the phone, or through online channels.
During the last two years of working remotely as my own boss, I’ve tested out numerous ways of making money to various degrees of side hustle satisfaction and monetary reward. One of the side hustles that has been the most lucrative and flexible for me has been working on a commission-only basis, where I’ve partnered with businesses that sell products and services typically of £2,500+.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you decide to use them, my blog may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you, which helps to fund more helpful articles for you to enjoy. Find out more in my Affiliate Disclosure. Nothing in this article constitutes financial, or other, advice. These are my views and the results of years of research, testing and learning.
What is commission-only sales?
Commission-only sales positions are known by a variety of names including:
- High Ticket Closer
- Breakthrough Coach
- Enrollment Coach
- Strategy Advisor
- Sales Executive
- Sales Director
- Sales Agent
and probably a dozen or so others!
These positions typically involve running consultation calls with prospective clients for a high-value product or service. Examples include:
- Online education programmes and courses
- Home improvements
- IT systems and software
and any other industry you can think of where an individual or a business wants to speak to someone before making a significant purchase.
What are the advantages of commission-only sales opportunities?
Commission-only sales opportunities typically give far more freedom than a traditional job. The advantages of these roles are:
- Location independence – you can often do them on a remote basis if consultation calls and meetings take place by phone or a video call.
- Set your own schedule – you are generally measured on the results you bring to the business, rather than the hours you spend at a desk.
- No earnings ceiling – there’s often no cap on your earnings; the more you sell, the more you earn.
- Making a difference – if you sell a product or a service that you truly believe in, and that is transformational, it can be a real buzz to know that you changed someone’s life or business in the process of closing the deal.
- Connecting with lots of people – the best sales closers have wide networks of people who they speak to on a regular basis. Typically your earnings correlate to the number of interactions you have on a daily basis.
- Performance-based motivation – if money is a strong motivator for you, then commission-only roles may push you to put in more effort than a traditional boss ever could. Unless you pick up that phone you’ll have no money to pay the bills.
- Multiple income streams – a typical fulltime job gives you one stream of income, whereas closing gives you the opportunity to work with multiple businesses as long as you manage your time effectively.
What are the disadvantages of commission-only sales opportunities?
No opportunity comes without some downsides and in my experience, commission-only sales roles have their fair share including:
- Reliance on lead generation systems – your success in inbound commission-only roles (ones where you receive a pipeline of leads to close) is very reliant upon working with a business that has a good lead generation system that ‘warms up’ prospects before you speak with them. If you work in an outbound sales role then it is your responsibility to find leads and warm them up, which often leads to a higher commission if you take the sale all the way to close.
- Reliance on the brand – you need to work with a business that has a solid reputation and a brand that helps them to stand apart from competitors otherwise it will be very difficult to get clients to feel comfortable buying from you.
- No sales, no money – without the safety net of a salary, you need to be in a solid financial position if you have a slow month or two. If you’re sick or on holiday then you are not earning.
- Ruthless time management – with these roles you often have a lot of freedom, which means you need to manage your time effectively to ensure that you are making good money. No one will pay your bills if you are not bringing in the sales.
- Can be lonely – remote positions are not for everyone. Some people miss the buzz of an office and the routine it brings.
How can I learn how to become a sales professional?
There are so many ways to learn sales skills depending on your budget and how you learn best.
Learning options for smaller budgets
On the job learning
Find a company that is open to take on someone with lots of energy and passion, and teach them the skills over time. You may have to start on a lower commission and by doing some of the admin, but keep focusing on the bigger picture of the value of the skills you are learning.
There are some great books that can teach a lot about sales. Check out your local library to see what they have in store or check out some of these titles on Amazon:
- Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale: For Anyone Who Must Get Others to Say Yes! by Zig Ziglar
- Way of the Wolf: Straight line selling: Master the art of persuasion, influence and success by Jordan Belfort
- The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy
Here are some great Audible options as well, including:
Free Online Courses
Skillshare offers a new of FREE sales courses online at https://www.skillshare.com/search?query=Sales&searchMethod=autocomplete&enrollmentType=free
Learning options for bigger budgets
If you’d like to invest more money in some specific education for sales there are numerous online courses that you can look into. Make sure to do your research before you get your payment card out; many of these courses can be upwards of £2,000 and you’ll students have differing experiences.
Some of the big names in the space include Dan Lok, Grant Cardone, and Jordan Belfort. Each of these individuals has their own loyal following who have found great value on their content and you will also see some strong criticism for their programmes online, as tends to be the way with online education.
Where can I find sales opportunities?
Sales opportunities are everywhere! Here are some of the sites I have used personally:
- Indeed – a job board where you can find sales roles that pay a salary plus bonus, and ones that are commission-only
- Commission Crowd – a job board that connects sales professionals and companies for B2B (business to business) opportunities
- Upwork – a platform that connects people who need certain skillsets with people who have the skills
- Closers.com – a platform connecting sales professionals with established companies who need more salespeople
What are your thoughts on commission-only sales roles?
Have you tried commission-only sales roles? What were your experiences? What advice do you have for others who are considering this path?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.