The modern day version of a door to door salesperson has grown to encompass much more than just pounding the pavement day after day in order to deliver the same trite sales pitch to unsuspecting strangers. Companies that rely on field-based sales staff are looking for employees who can sell not only a product, but also a company brand. The job descriptions now come with more than just the requirements for being a good public speaker, but also for someone who can build a solid relationship with customers. The plus side to these industry changes is that a job that was once considered undesirable has become much more sought after in recent years.
Companies have realized that if they want to increase the level of professionalism of field staff, it pays to provide them with a competitive compensation package. A major shift is the realization that employees are more motivated to perform if they feel like they are a part of a group. No longer are door-to-door sales people considered the bottom of the workplace hierarchy. Most companies hold daily or weekly meetings with all their field reps as a way for them to feel more connected. This is in addition to the increasingly common practice of providing these employees with the same benefits available to non-field staff.
Comcast is one such company which relies heavily on employees promoting their product in the field. According to Sarah Toas, Human Resources Recruiter, their direct sales representatives receive a competitive compensation package, including base salary plus commission, free cable, internet and discounted phone services, stock grants, a generous 401k plan, and medical and dental insurance benefits. As she says, “Comcast’s compensation package is very appealing to those who have worked in 100% commission sales positions with no benefits; we offer the stability and comfort of a total rewards program. In addition, the commission plan enables direct sales employees to be rewarded for their personal successes in the field”
Companies are looking after the professional development of their field staff as well. Toas adds, “There is a lot of support for our direct sales reps to be successful. We offer complete product knowledge training as well as sales training. We recognize that the success of our direct sales team has a very important impact on the success of the company.”
Another upside to the role of a neighborhood sales rep is that they begin their work after the regular 9 am set. In fact, for those that hate early mornings this is an ideal set up. There isn’t a potential customer anywhere in the world who wants a salesperson to show up before they have had their morning coffee. This allows the sales force a chance to sleep in an extra hour or two.
Of course the job does come with some challenges. Certainly it is a physically active job, since a salesperson has to cover as much of the assigned sections of their territory as possible. Expect lots of walking, including hills and many flights of stairs. Also, while some may see the ability to set their own schedule as a plus, it can be daunting for those who are low on self-discipline. And of course, it goes without saying that a major reason people are turned off from sales is that it can come with a heavy dose of rejection. Doing field sales is definitely a job for individuals who come armed with their own inner arsenal of perseverance for days when the sales aren’t great.
Ultimately, the job of a field salesperson can appeal to a variety of different people. For people looking for full time employment, the major plus is that they have direct control over their earning potential. For a typical employee who is paid for a forty hour work week, regardless of how many late nights he or she stays at the office, a commission–based pay structure can be very appealing. Now that organizations have improved the compensation package for their field-based positions as well as the support mechanisms, these employees can feel like they are a part of a team and a successful brand.