For many freelancers out there, one of the hardest parts about staying business for yourself is actually finding business. Some of us are lucky enough to have a fairly steady stream of clients, but for many, the freelance path tends to be famine or feast. If this has ever happened to you, you know exactly what I mean. You either have more jobs than you can handle, or can’t get a job to save your life.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a part time sales person working the internet and local business trying to drum up business for you? I know what you are thinking; that sounds great, but there is no way I could afford something like that.
Don’t be such a negative Nancy! How much thought have you actually put into what it would take to hire a sales person? I am actually in the process of doing this myself, so I thought I would share with you my experiences.
How can I afford this?
There are probably a number of ways that you can make this work financially, but I am going to talk mostly about the two options I have been brain storming. These two options include a commission based sales person and a hourly paid sales person. Obviously there are pros and cons to each, which I will go over later in this post. I want to stress that they hourly position shouldn’t be overlooked, as it might not be as expensive as you think.
Commission Based Sales Person
For obvious reasons, the commission based sales person would be many freelancers first choice if they were to hire someone. And why wouldn’t it be? This is a low risk option with the potential for high gains. Before we dive into the details of this, lets first cover some of the cons to commission based sales people.
One of the major drawbacks to commission based sales is that you run the risk of your sales person being too pushy. Because thier paycheck depends on how many sales they bring in, they may become overbearing to would be clients when they are having a bad week. This is a personality trait you’ll have to keep in mind when hiring a sales person. One way that you can overcome this problem is to hire a sales person who already has a decent paying job and get them to only work three days a week. This will help reduce the stress of having to make extra sales to make ends meet.
Another important factor that can be negative in commission based sales and shouldn’t be overlooked is the bad client. Because your sales person should be paid at the end of a completed project, what happens if your sales person get you a client who leaves half way through the job or decides not to pay? While this isn’t exactly a negative to hiring a sales person, it is something that needs to be addressed for this type of sales person.
On the plus side, because a commission sales person earns money per sale, they can be a lot more driven to acquire sales. If all of the factors are in place; good commission, great sales person, and quality marketing materials, a sales person can do wonder for increasing your business.
If you are going to go this route, my advice would be to first hire a commission based sales person on a three month, three day a week, trial period. This way, if they aren’t working out for you, you have an easy out. The three day work week can vary depending on how you do business and what sort of work you are trying to drum up. You can have them do cold calling from the office, find jobs online for you, email past inquiries, or go door to door around town. I think it would also be beneficial to let the sales person know that if they wanted to work on their own on their off days that that would be acceptable, but not required.
Hourly Based Sales Person
Hiring an hourly sales person can seem like a daunting task to a mere freelancer. Just the thought of having to pay someone else pay check from your own sales is enough to make one throw out the idea immediately. Think about it this way though, if your sales person works out well, they should be able to pay for themselves in just a few sales each week. Therefore, the end result is higher profits with only a slightly higher cost involved in getting them.
While there are a number of cons associated with hiring a hourly sales person, I just want to talk about the one I find the most important. The one important thing to keeping mind when hiring an hourly sales person is that you are obligated to pay them regardless of how well sales are doing. Just because you had a bad week and didn’t get many sales, doesn’t mean you can decide to not pay your sales person. You will be responsible for someones meal ticket now, be sure you can handle that responsibility.
One suggestion that I have for hiring a hourly sales person is to first save up three months worth of pay before you actually hire them. This way, during your three month trial period you can see if the sales person will actually be able to pay for them self and make you money. If they end up bringing in a god bit of extra sales, then you will know you can afford them and then worry about all of the other legalities that go along with hiring a staff member.
Have any of you ever hired a sales person? If so, where did you find them? Was it a friend or family member, or someone you hired online? How did this work out for you?
Let us know about your experiences so we can learn from them. Leave a comment below.