When it Comes to Compensation Sales is Not Like Baseball


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Regular readers know that I follow – no – live and die by the Boston Red Sox. I awoke this morning to discover that they have reached an agreement to sign Carl Crawford for $142 million on the heels of trading for Adrian Gonzalez and reaching an agreement with him for a contract extension worth $157 million. If you like baseball as much as me and your team signed two of the best players in the world, you would have a little extra bounce at 5:30 AM!

Aside from the excitement of the signings though, the Red Sox committed to $299 million on 2 guys in 4 days! You won’t find that in sales…

Not only that, but Gonzalez is getting quite a bump. He’ll be going from $6 million to $21 million annually. How would you like to earn just one year’s worth – $21 million – in the remaining years of your career? Forget about the staggering totals for a minute. Forget that they work part-time. Forget that they get 4 months off. Forget that they get endorsement deals, speaking opportunities (good to know that there’s one area where I’m probably paid better than they are) and tremendous amounts of media exposure. Simply consider the bump. $6M – $21M. More than triple!

The other day a client asked whether salespeople can make the jump from earning $85K to a position that could pay them $150K. Sure they can. But they have to be incredibly motivated to earn the $150K. What happens with a lot of salespeople is that once they get past the “25% more” mark, or in this case, $106,250, they become complacent – until next year – when they might make another 25% jump to $132,812, become somewhat complacent again, and in year 3, make it to $166,015.

You might be thinking, “I’ll take that – a salesperson that improves by 25% year over year” but this client’s questions was, “Can salespeople make the direct jump from $85K to $150K in one year?”

They CAN but most of them don’t. Once most of them have earned significantly more than they have ever earned before (25%), they take that deep breath and relax. The moment they relax, their pipeline isn’t getting filled at the same rate, the opportunities they do have don’t move along as quickly as before, and the more difficult opportunities don’t get closed.

Relaxing Kills Sales.

Complacency Kills Salespeople.

Sales Managers Who Leave Their Salespeople Alone Kill Sales Organizations.

A Dead Sales Organization Kills the Company.

Anything else you need to know?



I think baseball would be like sales except that all of the players hire agents. The players would play for free or just enough to pay the rent and eat if they had to sell themselves to the team owners; especially at the beginning of their careers. After all, playing in the big leagues is what they dreamed of all their lives. That’s why agents don’t let their clients talk during negotiations. The agents don’t want the players’ comfort zone and money tolerance to get in the way. Comfort zone and money tolerance are two prime factors which hold salespeoples income down. If salespeople believed they were worth more they would earn more.

You better hope that Crawford and Gonzalez don’t relax though. Because if they do, they won’t put in the work to stay at the top of their game and their performance on the field will suffer (That much they share with salespeople). Unfortunately for baseball fans, even if that does happen, it won’t cost them much money due to guaranteed contracts.

You on the other hand better sell a lot more becasue i see a significant ticket price increase in your future.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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