Norm Brodsky's 5 Most Controversial Business Ideas

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Sales Commissions Don’t Work

“Commissions are the norm in most industries, and commissions are the only way to motivate some salespeople,” Brodsky concedes. “But those aren't the people I want in my company, and you should think twice about having them in yours.” Most salespeople want to be part of a successful team, Brodsky explains. But when you pay them by commission, you treat them differently than every other employee—and give them the means to maximize their pay even if it comes at the expense of other departments such as operations and billing. Instead of base plus commission, Brodsky recommends you pay a salary plus a three-part bonus tied to the success of the individual, the team, and the company. (For more, read "The Sales Commission Dilemma", May 2003.)