Transparency of Commissions

One of the leaders of a customer’s sales team I’ve got to know recently has had an interesting career spanning the school of hard knocks and bruises that are photocopiers and recruitment.  Steve Chuter his name is and he has plenty of engaging anecdotes about life in such torrid industries.

One he told me the other day was from the 80s, about a branch of Canon selling copiers around Southampton.  In those days life was commission-only.  Most companies have a whiteboard with sales figures scrawled on it as they come in.  And everyone knows who’s sold what during the month.

Canon, on the other hand, didn’t show the value of a deal in revenue.  Nor did it detail the margin.

What they did rather, was to show each person’s individual commission.  Some month’s the discrepancy between top and bottom was as large as from £300 to £9,000.  Quite brutally exposing the winners from the losers.

I’ve never heard of this approach before, but there is something about it that gives me a wee twinkle in the eye…

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