The Nirvana of Sales: Commission
Etien D'Hollander 1980
In 1980 I moved from Pharmaceutical Sales to Medical Sales. The transition was far more difficult than I thought it would be. In pharmaceuticals, you never really have to ask for the sale, you are simply detailing. In medical sales, the ultimate goal is to get a purchase order for your product. From a positive stand point, my compensation moved from salary plus bonus to salary and commission. My first exposure to commissioned sales - I had reached Nirvana. There was nothing more motivating for me than the amount of money or more truthfully the recognition you get with success.
In Pharmaceutical Sales my peers were science and medical grads. In Medical Sales, my peers were business grads and MBA's. The fact that I had a Physical Education degree made me work that much harder. I thought I was not worthy. Yet my first promotion into Medical Sales was directly related to what I had learned in phys. ed. The philosophy that I have adhered to for the rest of my life "work hard, play hard". I put my head down and worked hard. Based on my first year in Pharmaceutical Sales, working hard paid dividends.
It is here that I was introduced to Matinee Tuesdays. This was a secret society of Sales Reps who would meet weekly, bi weekly or monthly, depending on the rep (and the film) to skip off an afternoon and go to the movies. This was kept out of the eyes of Management, for all the obvious reasons however was an accepted ritual by sales. For me, Matinee Tuesday's was an occasional novelty however commission was far more important to me.
The only negative in Medical Sales was the amount of reporting I was responsible for : daily reports, weekly forecasts, monthly updates, customer profile reports and on and on. It seemed there were days that I spent more time working on reports than selling. And worse none of it had any impact on my commissionable earnings. Opportunities were being missed.
There had to be a better way!