In Defense of the Salesperson


When my wife and I walk into an environment where we know we will be met by commission motivated Salespeople, we typically reaffirm ourselves:

‘Remember, we are just here to look’

‘Don’t ask any questions’

‘Don’t make eye contact’

Like most people, I blamed the salesperson for feeling pressured or anxious. It seems to be the general opinion that salespeople can be overbearing, aggressive and even misleading. This conception has lead company’s like Carmax to adopt a a no-haggling policy, claiming not to play pricing games with the consumer or Living Spaces, where employees reassure their customer’s that they do NOT work for commission.

Why are we uncomfortable around the commission motivated salesperson? Of course, many of us have had an obnoxious encounter- but I think the reason is more complex than they are overbearing, or aggressive. I’ll share a few of my opinions:

People are afraid to say ‘no’

I have found myself leading a salesperson on just because I did not want to reject them. I’ll give objections such as ‘I’m looking for something further down the line’ or ‘these are too expensive’. To a salesperson, these are just clues that help them point out other suggestions. There is nothing wrong with being clear about your intention – most likely, they will understand and want to educate you anyways. Take advantage of their knowledge – even if you are not looking to buy then, salespeople know the value of building the relationship.

Guilt Over Indulgence 

Self indulgence may be a rare thing for certain people. I know that most times I’m window shopping at an outlet with my wife, we know we WANT something, but don’t NEED it. I think this makes us feel guilt about our purchase. Our fear of the salesperson is more a guilt about indulgence.

The Perception of Money Motivation

The common perception is that salespeople only care about money. Well, what do you work for? It’s not unusual to work for money. Even for the associate who is not working on commission, their prime motivation for engaging in conversation with you is a paycheck at the end of the week. It may be possible that the commission based associate has the purest of intentions because their motivation is transparent.

What do you think? Do you find yourself anxious or uncomfortable in a commissioned sales environment? If so, why do you think that is?




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