If you’re working in sales, you probably earn some form of commission, which means that the more you sell, the more you earn. Since there are various types of commission structures, you may earn a base salary plus commission or you may only earn money when you make a sale.
Whatever the commission structure you’re working under, you’re bound to take the commission you earn seriously, since it directly affects the size of your paycheck.
In the competitive world of sales, however, you may encounter salespeople who are stealing sales from coworkers. If you’re in the tricky position where coworkers are stealing customers you’ve been dealing with, it’s time to act. Learn how to handle a coworker stealing your commission by reading my tips below.
Why Do Salespeople Get Away With Stealing Commission?
In an ideal world, a sales team works together to achieve the common goal of increasing a company’s sales and team members don’t even consider stealing a coworker’s sales. However, the sales world is competitive and management often has a devil-may-care attitude when it comes to immoral behavior among sales staff.
A sale remains a sale, right? Managers sometimes even encourage employees fighting over commission in their sales teams since they view it as healthy and productive competition. For this reason, complaints about a coworker stealing a client can fall on deaf ears.
Such attitudes can lead to a culture of dishonesty, mistrust, and betrayal in a sales team. While stealing sales from coworkers may be laughed off or even respected in the sales world, this type of behavior is not really conducive to increased sales or a happier team.
How To Deal With Coworkers Stealing Commission
For the reasons I have outlined above, it can be tricky to deal with a coworker who is stealing your clients and commission. To help you navigate this challenging situation in a professional and effective way, I have compiled a list of tips you can follow.
1. Make Sure That You Know the Company’s Policy
Before you become upset and take action, you should make sure that you have your facts straight. The first step is to ensure that you understand the company’s policy regarding how sales and clients are handled.
If you’re working for a corporate company, are you provided with clients or can any salesperson sell to any client? Conversely, if you’re a sales assistant at a store, do you have your own section in the store or are customers assigned to the first salesperson who helps them?
Hopefully, you’ve received adequate sales training and have a clear understanding of how things work in your sales team. If you haven’t, however, it’s important that you have a chat with your manager.
In some stores, for instance, customers are fair game, regardless of who greeted or helped them first. In such a sales environment, it would be futile for you to become unhappy about others stealing your sales.
2. Gather Evidence
In the event that a coworker is stealing your clients, it is vital that you gather evidence. You will need to get organized and have documented proof ready before you go to your manager or supervisor about any issues. Save any emails that show your interaction with a client and also document any client visits and communication with suppliers.
If you’re working in a store, you may not have a paper trail. But you can still write down dates and incidents so that you have specific examples when you talk with your manager.
You can also chat with coworkers to find out whether anybody else may be having the same experience. While your manager may be inclined to brush off your complaint, they may take things more seriously if other employees also come forward.
3. Get Even
Instead of talking and complaining about the situation, you can choose to act. One of the most effective ways of dealing with somebody stealing your sales is to do the same to them. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
If you choose this course of action, it’s best to do your homework since you don’t want to end up being the one singled out for stealing a coworker’s sales. Conduct a careful study of how the coworker is going about stealing your sales. Up to now, they have been getting away with stealing sales, so it may be wise to replicate their actions.
Stealing their clients will hopefully teach your coworker a lesson. In the worst-case scenario, you will still have made some commission. However, you should consider the possibility that your coworker will not react and will keep stealing your sales. If so, you will probably have to continue playing the game since you won’t be able to go to your manager anymore.
4. Confront the Culprit
If possible, aim to resolve the issue without involving your manager. One of the logical, and hopefully effective, ways to deal with a coworker who is stealing your commission is to confront them directly.
You will achieve the best results if you speak with your coworker in a calm and collected way. As is the case in any conflict situation, you want to refrain from attacking the coworker’s personality. Instead of telling them that they’re dishonest, you can say that you’d like to hear their point of view since you think there may be a misunderstanding.
You should present them with facts as opposed to just accusing them of stealing from you. The proof that you’ve gathered along the way will come in handy at this stage. Presenting them with dates, times, and specific instances will make it far more difficult for the coworker to deny your accusations.
Even if they still deny the facts that you’re presenting, your coworker will now know that you know. The knowledge that you may take this issue further and that they may be confronted by senior staff may scare them enough to change their ways.
5. Speak With Your Manager
As I’ve mentioned before, the immoral behavior of sales staff may actually be encouraged by the management of a sales department. In the event that your coworker is one of many that are stealing commission, or their behavior is emblematic of the toxic culture in the organization, it will be futile to speak to your coworker.
In such a case, you should go directly to management. You need to present them with tangible facts since they may just regard you as a complaining loser if you just say your coworker is stealing your commission.
In an environment where stealing commission is viewed as competitive, the general perspective is generally that this type of behavior boosts sales.
While you don’t want to come across as aggressive or cocky, it’s important that you point out to the manager that the practice of employees boosting their own sales numbers by stealing deals from coworkers, actually reduces sales and negatively affects the morale of a sales team.
What Do You Do About Managers Stealing Sales?
When your manager is stealing sales, you’re dealing with an even more complex problem. Since accusing your manager of stealing can have potential negative repercussions, you need to consider the pros and cons of voicing the issue carefully.
The first consideration is whether your manager is stealing from you or from others. If you’re not directly involved, it may be wiser to just keep your head down and stay out of it.
It’s a different ballgame, however, if you’re losing commission due to a manager’s actions. If so, you have two options: start looking for another job or speak with another senior member of staff.