About to sign a contract with a new firm?  Ask about how they get pay their employees and what metrics they track internally. …It  might shed light on why they’re making some of their suggestions to you, focused on a long term success with you, or just trying to process you as quick as possible.

If they are on a base + commission model, then clearly they are motivated to up-sell you on additional services, products, warranties, and packages.  If they say the are on a base salary only, then ask about how they track performance internally.  I’m not saying having a sales goal is a bad thing, I’m simply saying that a high commission can motivate a employee to do nothing more then push for a high sales price.  If commission is the ONLY metric that the company rewards on, then the company is making a very clear statement on what they find important.

For my company, the only metric that is tracked opening is how many calls we have in a month with customers, and if we talk to each customer at least once in a month.  To me, this sounds pretty legit:  The company is clearly concerned that we’re talking to our customers and forming relationships with them.

I’ve worked in call centers before that only focused on the length of calls.  Others, how many promise-to-pays you got in a day.  Once, I was tracked on the net profitability of my projects.

Each of these clearly motivates the employee to take different actions and will lead to a different result in terms of customer service, quality of product, and long term relationships.

So if you’re about to sign a major contract with a firm, one that should last many years….feel free to ask “So, how do you get paid?  What marks success at your company?”

Post filed under Other Ideas.