It’s very exciting! You’ve just come up with a great idea for starting your own business. You’ve done the legwork, you’ve followed the advice in ETR’s Microbusiness Program to perfect your plans, and now you’re looking forward to having financial freedom in your not-too-distant future. But there’s just one hitch. Your business requires personal selling, and you’re not the kind of person who’s particularly good at face-to-face salesmanship. Don’t let that scare you off. Yes, there are many kinds of small businesses that are best marketed by a direct salesperson. But YOU don’t have to be the one doing the selling. All you need to do is recruit people who can do it for you. Better yet . . . you need virtually no capital to get these people started on bringing in revenue. How is this possible? Because they’re going to earn their salaries — and fund their own paychecks — by working on a commission basis. You won’t have any risk, because if they aren’t successful in selling your product/service, you won’t owe them a dime.
On the other hand, if they are good at it, everyone will be happy. They’ll be earning lots of money . . . and you’ll be making big profits. You’d be surprised at how many people will work on a strictly commission basis. But there are some techniques that can make recruiting these people even easier. Let me tell you about a real-life example of how I successfully recruited a commissioned salesperson to greatly improve the profits of one of my microbusinesses. In Message #1220, I told you about a microbusiness I once had where I produced my own local cable television show. To pay for my production and overhead expenses — and have enough revenue to make a nice little profit — I sold advertising spots to local businesses. I quickly discovered that the kind of nonstop cold-calling it took to make those sales wasn’t something that I enjoyed.
However, I figured there must be people with the kind of personality it takes to be good at it. So, I decided to recruit my own salesperson. I placed an ad in the local paper and got quite a few inquiries. A fair number of the people who inquired actually showed up for their interviews — and three of them elected to take me up on my offer. Well, of those three, one was successful. And for me and my microbusiness, one successful salesperson meant quite a lot of profits. The commercial packages my salesperson sold went for $750. I paid him a 20% commission, and that left me with $600 of extra income for each sale. It only took a couple of sales per week to make a big difference in my microbusiness’s bottom line. And for my salesperson, who was a college student, it was a great way to gain real-life business experience and make a lot more money than he would have made by working in a fast-food restaurant.
Before you try to recruit a good salesperson to join your microbusiness sales team, you need to do your homework. That means you have to research your local market to find out what kind of commission you’ll have to pay as an enticement. You’ll also need to prepare a marketing package for your salesperson to use. It should include brochures or other literature about the product or service your microbusiness offers, along with any necessary sales contracts or other paperwork. A nice bonus about using commissioned salespeople is that they are generally considered to be independent agents.
That means you probably won’t have to worry about dealing with payroll taxes. (But be sure to seek professional advice regarding this issue when the time comes.) Just think . . . with only a few successful salespeople selling your product or service, your microbusiness could start earning thousands of extra dollars each month. And if you are able to recruit a whole team of successful salespeople, you could take it to a whole new level of profitability.
(Ed Note: Paul Lawrence is an entrepreneur and the creator of ETR’s exciting new Microbusiness Program. Please click here for more information about how to get a small business started on a shoestring.)