Is it better to hire sales staff on a full time or...

Is it better to hire sales staff on a full time or part time basis?


A study compared job satisfaction, performance, and turnover in direct selling between full-time and part-time salespeople. Mary Kay Cosmetics, Saladmaster, United Consumers Club, and Tupperware supplied the names and addresses of potential respondents who had been selling their products during a 6 to 12 months period.

A mail questionnaire was sent to 1 600 respondents throughout the US. The comparison revealed that part-time workers had greater job satisfaction and fewer propensities to quit; they also had better performers as measured by earnings per hour worked. (Wotruba, Thomas R. International Journal of Research in Marketing. Amsterdam).

That said problems often encountered with part time sales people include the following:

  • In the absence of close monitoring, part time sales people can lose focus and motivation
  • The typical sales person is out-going and craves being in the company of people. Working on a part time basis is often lonely. This may cause part time sales people to leave your employ
  • When working with part time agents is it more difficult to control the sales presentation and brand aspect of your business. Your challenge is to ensure that all of your agents present your product or service correctly, consistently and professionally.

When it comes to employee motivation, one size does not fit all

In the highly competitive sales market, business owners are looking for the best sales people to move their product quickly and to do this you do not have to follow a standard commission structure.

Understand commission structure of competitors

If you are in a market where you have competitors it is important to understand the commission structures of your competitors. The next step is to evaluate the pros and cons of the commission structure. However, you should design a commission structure that is simple to understand, easy to administer and motivate the sales staff year after year.

The gross salary of your sales staff must not be less than the industry norm. If it is, you will experience a high staff turnover if you do not pay adequately and demotivate the staff.

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