It’s been said that, “Money isn’t everything ... but it sure helps calm the nerves.” Another saying for salespeople is, “You should have your customers’ needs in mind and not your own needs when making a sales proposal.”

Both thoughts are true, but you also have to make a living, support your overhead and have some extra to afford today’s pleasantries and tomorrow’s needs.

Let’s review some thoughts regarding your earnings in the sales profession.

First, do you have a good accounting of your needs, such as cost of doing business, your personal costs at home and your savings plan for the future? If not, do it now. Face the music and lay out a proposal that will allow you to hit your numbers.

Let’s compare your last year — or the past few years — with your current earnings. Are you moving up, down or just holding your own? Inflation creates price increases which, in our business, will also give you a raise if you pass them along. If you don’t pass them along, it can cost you a great deal of your income.

Passing on price increases is one type of sales/income growth. Another is selling more products to more accounts. These are very important areas to be studied when reviewing your personal income challenge.

If you are on a commission plan, good. If not, get on one as soon as possible. Tom Hopkins, a top sales training professional and author writes, “The more guarantees you accept, the less opportunity you have for financial freedom.”

In a commission-based sales job, you are in business for yourself, but when working for a supplier you have all of their support, which, of course, you pay for with their share of your sales. In turn, you are supplied with an office, inventory, delivery, phone, fax, computer, support staff and other necessities. All you have to do is go out and sell.

Sit down with a pencil and paper during your off selling time and do your financial planning. Involve your accountant if need be and lay out a one- to five-year income plan, including an earnings goal.

Within that goal, you should determine how much you have to sell to reach your desired earnings — broken down into each day, week and month.

Once you have determined that earnings goal, write down your annual income goal in dollars and divide it by twelve for your monthly goal and divide that number by 22. You will then have the amount that you will need to make each day to meet your annual earnings challenge.

Ask yourself, how much of that daily income number can you count on from current accounts and how much of that will you have to go out and generate each day?

Then, determine what products are most likely to help you in reaching your number and what help can you expect from your vendors and management to reach those numbers?

I speak of your earnings potential as a daily — not hourly — income challenge because in the sales business, there are no set hours. In fact, in the jan/san industry, people are cleaning at all hours so we could work day and night.

However, there are some hourly guidelines, based on a 40-hour week. If you want to make $75,000 a year, you will have to generate $37 per hour. To make $100,000 a year requires $50 per hour and $120,000 requires you are able to make $60 per hour.

It is up to you as a sales rep to figure what income it takes to run your business, your home and your future. When you have your plan laid out, take it to management and review it with them. Show them what you are planning on doing to hit your numbers and ask for their support. It is in both of your best interests to do this.

To share your selling ideas, fax: (414) 228-1134, contact Mr. Dixon at (877) 379-3566 or e-mail