Commissioned Retail Sales

Commissioned Retail Sales

Are the wages associated with hourly retail jobs forcing you to shop around for other opportunities? It may be time to exchange your current job for a commissioned retail sales position in which your hard work can really pay off.

Hourly commissioned sales positions are not limited to automobile dealerships. Look around and you'll find a number of opportunities in the retail sector.

Small Surprises

When it comes to earning a living, don't assume small retailers aren't able to deliver the goods. Yale Genton, a family-owned West Springfield, Massachusetts-based men's and women's specialty store, is an example of a small retail organization that offers employees large payoffs for their efforts. According to its president, Mark Berman, sales associates at Yale Genton can earn anywhere between $25,000 and $90,000 annually.

At Yale Genton, employees pick how they're compensated. "An employee may choose to start with salary and incentives, with the option at any time of going to a straight-incentive-basis program," Berman says.

Fabric Place, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, gives employees the opportunity to transform their passions for fabric and color into careers with solid earning potential and flexibility. According to head decorator Barbara Springston, associates in the design center earn a base salary plus commission, which often add up to a very respectable salary. "Better decorators in the design centers make $55,000 to $60,000, plus there is health insurance and 401k," says Springston, who adds that associates can make their own hours.

Be on the Lookout

Most retail organizations don't advertise that commissioned sales associates are on the selling floor, because if customers knew, they might equate a salesperson's friendliness with greediness. As a job seeker, that makes finding these positions a bit more difficult. But it's not impossible if you know where to look.

Start by targeting companies that sell large-ticket items like furniture and appliances. Sales personnel in these areas are generally paid on commission. Ever wonder why the people at the cosmetic counters are so friendly? Chances are they are putting on a happy face to earn more money.

Step over to the shoe department and observe the sales personnel. If they are dancing across the sales floor with shoeboxes piled high, chances are you are in the land of commission. Add that department to your list.

Personality Counts

When hiring commissioned sales personnel, employers are generally more concerned with attitude than experience. "We consider the most important thing to be the essential nature of the individual," Berman says. "Her personality and demeanor are more important than her level of experience." Talent and ability show up very quickly." At Fabric Place, commissioned decorators begin as hourly associates in the custom area. This gives employees an opportunity to showcase their creativity, enthusiasm and communication skills.

Establishing a Client Base

Relationships are the foundation of a building a base of sales clients, and according to Berman, it generally takes one to three years to build one up. Berman advises commissioned sales associates to "write thank-you notes, make seasonal phone calls or send emails and prepare for your customer's arrival."

Moreover, Springston urges associates to customize a solution based on the client's wants and needs. This solidifies the relationship. Don't waste clients' time; show them products that meet their requirements, she advises. After all, satisfied clients become repeat customers.

Learn more about sales careers.

Learn more about retail careers.

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