Commission Jobs: The Best Industries

July 18th, 2011 (5,687 views) by Pinny Cohen

This is Part Three of my three part series on Affiliate / Commission Jobs – how they work, and are they worth it.

Not all industries are the same. Some have built-in advantages for companies looking to sell through affiliate / commission means. We last looked at how to find a good commission job, and now we can explore which factors impact the industries best suited towards this pay structure.

Some Industries Have Advantages

Certain industries tend to have strong advantages to going the commission / affiliate marketing route — but that doesn’t always work out best for the affiliate. Here’s a look:

Cosmetics, Internet Services, Credit Card Processing, Amway, Vitamins & Supplements

You are probably asking, what do those have in common?

Actually, quite a bit, as far as the sales process and the customer usage.

Cloudy Competition – When consumers aren’t sure of the differences between brands, it leads to a long consumer search period for a provider, and often the personality of the salesperson ends up being the deciding factor.

Think, for example, about your local commissioned cosmetics seller who is an “independent distributor”. Most people know very little about the differences between the ingredients, features, and benefits of Avon vs. Arbonne Cosmetics. Often, the commissioned salesperson is able to use geography, family, friends, and understanding the local palate to close the deal. These are tools that the company pitching product cannot usually acquire cost effectively, so it is “outsourced” to the affiliate/commissioned salespeople.

High Engagement – When consumers need a lot of hands-on help and explaining, being sold on a “lifestyle”, and need repeated instruction, commissioned salespeople represent the lowest cost to a company to deliver that high level of engagement between salesperson and customer.

When I consulted for restaurants, I was often amazed that the second most frequent visitor type to a restaurant after hungry customers was actually credit card processing salespeople…often selling completely or almost entirely on commission. I once asked one of these credit card processing folks what the reason for this was, and his response stuck with me:

several reasons, first, I need to constantly explain to the staff how to operate our machines (which keep getting updated), second, I am constantly called in to explain the various unclear statement charges which obscure their actual costs, and third, I’m terrified of anyone else like me coming in and showing them they can save money by switching to his company.

If the credit card processing company had to worry about such things, they wouldn’t be profitable. So the risk of high engagement working or not working is placed on the commissioned salesperson.

Churn and Turnover – When a company sells services or products that get finished or change often yet do not lend themselves to brand loyalty, you will find a lot of commissioned salespeople. The reason for this is that virtually 99% of the market share is always “up for grabs”, and just about anyone willing to “roll up their sleeves” and endlessly nudge a potential customer will be able to pick one up.

The net effect of this is quite similar to the game Othello, where the strategy is to “turn over” as many of your competitors circles as possible while keeping yours from being vulnerable.

A good friend of mine runs a sizable web hosting service. I’ve personally used his service and am quite fascinated by his excellent customer service. Yet, despite this, he and other top notch web hosts out there know that every single one of their accounts is always one “downtime” or renewal away from getting poached by a competing service. Aside from a few well known web hosting companies, the massive industry still has relatively few household names, and often decisions on who to host with boil down to a customer just happening across a service that seems OK.

I hope you have enjoyed my analysis of commission jobs and the factors that impact them. I’m eager to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions!

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2 Responses to “Commission Jobs: The Best Industries”

  1. mladen Says:

    Hi there ,just came across your website and i think it’s very helpful.Recently i had a bad sports injury and i’m looking for jobs like this because of the nature of my work i can’t return to work for at least 3 months. I think i found one and we suppose to meet in the next couple of days, where they will explain to me ,exactly what i will be doing ,how much money i can make etc. etc.. To make this story short, is it possible for someone who doesn’t have any experiance in sales, to do this kind of job only with that free training that they offer?? Looking to hear back from you ? Thanks

  2. Pinny Cohen Says:

    mladen, sales is a skill that can be learned if you work hard and are persistent (just like pretty much anything else in life). If you can provide the name of the company offering the commission job I would be glad to look into it for you.

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