One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, “Is this a straight commission job?” Our performance-based pay is a cousin to sales commissions but not exactly the same. Straight commission implies a sale and we do not close sales. We generate leads and then hand the lead off to a sales rep who works directly for our Client company. Most often our lead generation involves setting a sales appointment at a specific time and date. The sales rep who works for our Client company is the one who attends the sales appointment, follows through, closes the sale and earns the commission. Our lead generation pay is performance based but not exactly the same as commission-based pay. Our pay is pay per appointment or pay per lead plus incentives. Sales commissions and pay per appointment are both forms of performance-based pay but not the same. Some people thrive in a performance-based pay environment, however, it’s not for everybody.

Pros and cons – B2B sales commissions compared to B2B lead generation. When a sales person makes a sale, the pro is that they make a sales commission which could be a one-time transaction, or it could be recurring revenue depending on the product or service. The con is that in business to business sales, the sales cycle is often a lengthy multi step process, in some cases up to two years. B2B sales commissions therefore, are generally not expected to be a quick turnaround result.

For our lead generation job, the con is that if a sale of $500K is made from one of our leads, we do not keep one dime of the sales commission because it is not our role to make the sale. Our role is to identify the decision maker, qualify the prospect and schedule the appointment, a much quicker turnaround compared to closing a sale. The pro is that our cycle to set an appointment is mere hours to complete a transaction compared to weeks or months for the salesperson. Our role is not to sell anything other than selling an appointment.

What is performance-based pay?

Performance-based pay is an incentive-based form of compensation that can apply to a wide range of job types ranging from portfolio managers to professional baseball players. There is no one particular set formula, however, in general, pay for performance is an equation in which some portion of a worker’s pay is related to how well they perform based on some stated criteria. As the name implies, performance-based pay is compensation that is tied to a worker’s contribution to the company. For example, a car salesperson who works on commission; if no cars sell that day, the business doesn’t generate revenue, so the salesperson doesn’t either. Performance based pay rewards productivity and results. There are incentives to working smarter and faster.

Performance based pay vs. hourly pay example

Performance based pay does not lend itself to every job scenario and is not right for every person. Performance based pay is a great match for careers related to sales including our remote lead generation specialist position working from home. It was right for me too, all the way back to one of my first jobs as a waitress when I was 16. I earned enough money to buy a car working as a waitress, while my brother earned a fixed hourly rate changing tires. No matter how many tires my brother changed, he still made the same amount of money. No matter how much the customers liked him, he still made the same amount of money. We both worked hard but I made three times as much money.

The right tools for productivity. I worked at a busy barbeque restaurant which was a popular stop for hungry travelers. The biggest part of my pay was what I earned in tips. In my first week, not only did I not earn much in the way of tips, but when I went home at night, my legs hurt so much I couldn’t sleep. I cried from the pain, plus I was exhausted. I thought about throwing in the towel, but fortunately, I received a valuable piece of advice from one of the veterans who took pity on me. She told me that I needed to invest in better shoes, and she was right. The minute I put on good shoes, it was like night and day. Suddenly, I had more energy and the pain went away. Better shoes impacted my whole attitude. I became more productive because I had the right tool for the job.

The same thing is true in our virtual call center about having the right tools for the job. Having the right tools has a major impact on productivity. If you don’t have the right chair or if you have to squint to see your screen, it slows down your productivity and it isn’t very comfortable. Investing in a bigger monitor or better chair is like getting better shoes. The shoes paid for themselves very quickly and helped me to turn my bicycle into a car.

The best opportunities go to the best people. One of the ways to make more money was to work the booths vs. the tables. The booths were a premium strip of real estate because they always stayed packed. When the hostess tried seating people in tables to balance out the workflow, the customers would ask to be moved over to the booth section. Whoever was working the booths made the best tips.

When I was new, I was slow and made mistakes. It was pretty brutal at first. I felt that I was getting chewed out from all directions. My tips were not very good but I could see that opportunity was there. There was no way the owner of the restaurant was going to schedule somebody green like me to work the booths. The best opportunity went to the best people. I knew if I wanted to get assigned to the booth section, I needed to be one of the best people. Things work the same way with our business now, when something important needs to be done, of course we give it to the people we can count on.

Coaching. I shadowed the best people and asked questions to learn from the most successful people. I started to incorporate techniques I learned until they became habit, such as always taking napkins with me and leaving extra napkins. I brought water for everybody automatically. I asked about add-on items such as desserts or sides. The restaurant was famous for pies, so I got pretty good at selling pies.

The power of multiplication kicked in. My average ticket increased and my tips increased because of higher orders and because I became a better server. I started getting compliments from customers instead of complaints. Small improvements in different steps of the process started to add up and the power of multiplication kicked in. I started making more money in the slower sections and then one day it happened. I finally got assigned to the booths, and then it was like tips on steroids, I made more money than ever before.

Make more money without getting a second job. At TeleReach, we have a culture of self-management and performance-based pay. Our people set the pace at which they work. They decide their own goals. They decide how much time to devote to developing or honing their skills. Our virtual environment and pay system allow us to provide higher pay to our Lead Generation Specialists along with the freedom of working from home.

The ways to make more money are not that different than the waitress job except the upside is greater. There are incentives for working smarter and working faster and there is an opportunity to work more.

If you work in an hourly pay environment, the way to make more money is to get a second or third job. With our performance-based pay, there is an option to increase earnings without having to look for a side hustle or additional job. We have people who make 90 dials in six hours, and we have people who make 200 dials or more in six hours because they average more dials per hour. We have people who are very organized and skilled in managing their leads and have a high conversion rate of conversations to appointments. That is the call center counterpart to waiting tables; higher average order, higher tips per table and working the booth section. Performance-based pay gives self-starters a way to do more and drive income levels. It represents a three-way win, a win for our appointment setters, a win for our company and a win for our Clients.

The T on performance-based pay from Winston Churchill, “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.”

About the Author

Tracie Chancellor, CEO and Founder of TeleReach Corporate, national business to business call center specializing in sales appointment setting and lead generation, based in Houston, Texas. Chancellor is an MBA graduate of the University of Houston with over 20 years hands-on sales and marketing experience, working with privately-held businesses, universities, non-profit organizations, as well as Fortune businesses in the business to business marketing space.