Career Growth Featured On The Job

5 Steps to an Impressive Sales Commission, No Matter the Company Size

Our 2019 medical sales salary report revealed that 71 percent of surgical sales respondents are satisfied with their earnings — and for good reason. Surgical sales reps at small companies reported earning the largest base salary at $108,143, compared to medium at $85,208 and large at $82,397. 

However, despite the lower base pay, surgical sales reps at large companies reported the highest total income was due to their incredibly high commissions at $96,633, compared to medium at $78,519 and small at $57,583. That means, on average, surgical sales reps at large companies are earning $172,772 a year, compared with $154,259 for reps at medium companies, and $152,208 for those at small companies — that’s close to a $20,000 difference!

In all medical sales fields, your sales commission is critical to your overall income. But if you work for a smaller company, don’t be discouraged. You can earn an awesome sales commission — and grow your paycheck — no matter what size company you work for. Follow these tips to earn an impressive commission anywhere:

1. Set your goal

An “impressive” sales commission means something different to each individual. To determine what it means to you, sit down by yourself and look at your finances. Do you have student or car loans, a mortgage, or other bills you want to payoff? Is there a vacation you’re dying to take?

Once you’ve identified a current and realistic financial goal, calculate how much more money you will need to achieve it. This is the number you’re aiming to hit with your commission. Write out this goal as if you’ve already achieved it.  For example, “I’m earning $5,000 more in commission this year.” 

This is a trick used by business coach Rachel Hollis. The more you believe it and act like it’s true, the easier it will be to hit your goal. 

2. Sit down with your manager

Now that you have a goal in mind, it’s time to set a plan to achieve it. Start by talking with your manager about your goals. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. No matter your sales commission structure, your managers are rooting for you to succeed. 

When you get together, discuss what specific tools, educational materials, benefits, and other resources the company has to help you meet your goal. As you start hitting your first milestones, continue to check in with your manager. Are there more ambitious goals you can set next? How can your manager and company help you reach them? 

3. Find someone in the field already doing it

Small, medium, or large — there are highly-successful sales reps in every size company. They’re earning above the average sales commission numbers, and it’s not by luck. These reps have their own strategies and very specific reasons why they’re earning such high commissions. 

Reach out to these high-earning reps to see what they’re doing differently and how it adds to their success. You may not be able to implement their strategy or tips in the same exact manner, however. Their company structure and processes, customers, and employee resources may be different from yours. Examine their tactics and determine how you can transfer and mold the same concepts to fit your schedule, and employer/customer needs and expectations. 

4. Evaluate quality over quantity of customers

Top-earning sales reps don’t waste their time on accounts that at the end of the day, aren’t worth it. This can be a hard lesson to learn, and it seems counterproductive to earning a higher sales commission. After all, more sales means more money — right?

Not exactly. Spending time on smaller accounts or those that are reluctant to make a purchase may actually lead to a lower commission. If you’re focused on a bunch of small, time-consuming accounts, you will have less time to spend on winning more promising ones — the ones that don’t require a large amount of time only to result in a small sale or no sale at all. 

Work smarter, not harder. Focus on the accounts where you will see the biggest bang for your buck.

5. Consider the impact of your product

Your sales commission isn’t just about your numbers — it’s directly tied to the passion you have for your product, too. When customers see and feel your passion for the product, it’s easier to connect and have a sincere conversation about it. Not only does that boost their interest in the product, but also it establishes trust with the customer. 

When you’re truly passionate about the product, customers will be more likely to trust that what you’re saying about it is true — if you whole-heartedly believe a product is valuable and important, it feels less like you’re selling, and more like you’re sharing a really great item. Ultimately, better relationships built on trust, lead to more sales, which means a higher commission for you.

Of course, you won’t always be able to control what products you’re selling. But if your passion is feeling lackluster, it may be time to talk with your manager about other products you may be more interested in or passionate about. And if that’s not an option, you may want to consider looking for a medical sales job that’s more inline with your passions.


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