Shame on you for doing this! You should be thrown in a dungeon and the key thrown away. Shame on you, employer, for refusing to pay sales commissions rightfully earned.

Three salesmen I know faced the same predicament from their respective well known employers. One sold and leased cars. Let’s call him Juma. Juma, bagged a contract that would have seen him earn a direct commission payment of Kes. 2,000,000 as per the commission pay guidelines. H never did. The employer started to drag his feet about the payment; he gave excuse after excuse until a month then five then twelve passed. He never paid.

My employer has not paid me my commissions

The second is a sales lady selling a renowned hotel. Let’s call her Julia. Julia bagged a huge contract that would have seen her paid a well earned commission in the region of a couple of millions too. Again, the business owner became evasive about paying her, her commissions. When push came to shove Julia went to court suing the employer for refusing to pay her sales commissions. The third, a salesman, selling car rescue services, landed a fleet (comprising hundreds of cars) for his employer. Let’s call him Karani. That was five years ago; Karani has never been paid his commissions genuinely earned, to date. He left the employer six months after realizing he did not intend to pay. In each of these case the employer was simply refusing to pay sales commissions. Understandably, each had a bitter exchange with their employer before parting ways.

Commission dispute with employer refusing to pay sales commissions

What makes a business owner fail to honour his obligation to pay commissions genuinely earned? In the three cases I think it was pure greed and jealousy. The salespeople just happened to think bigger than the employer and they became victims of their own success. From discussions, I am told such occurrences are not unusual.

refusing to pay sales commissions

Sales is not a desk job as this blog has averred again and again. Rarely, if ever, does the classroom theory pan out in the field. For example, rejection is not something you grow accustomed to, because the PowerPoint slide said you should.  The challenges the salesperson faces are unique and personal. It is not a wonder then, that only a handful are hungry enough to truly excel in the profession, while many others fall along the way. It defeats all logic then, when the business owner, having secured a gem in the rough, shoots himself in the foot by frustrating the successful salesman out of his job. This can only be borne of a mind that is myopic, retrogressive and an embarrassment to the business fraternity and the sales profession.

Refusing to pay sales commissions generates mistrust

And it gets worse. Perhaps the only job in which the employer and employee thrive in mutual mistrust, is the unstructured matatu industry. In a comparatively structured environment, frustrating the employee to such an aforementioned magnitude, is a recipe for disaster; it’s sabotaging oneself and the business. It instantly demotivates the other sales people; they now do not trust you. In addition, the ace salesperson who gets frustrated in this way, expresses his anger and quickly moves on to the next project, possibly an employer in the same industry. And as most contracts are annual, all the hitherto frustrated but progressive salesperson does is renew the chemistry that secured him the contract with the client in the first place, and take it away from his former employer. Pray tell, why a business owner would be the catalyst for this to happen!

Can an employer take away your commissions

Now then. I am not blind to the fact that there are products and services which incur progressive costs along their life span which makes upfront payment of such large commissions, business suicide. I am not blind to the fact that there are unscrupulous salespeople who cut a deal they know fully well will not last its intended lifespan; they cut the deal with the singular intention of getting their commissions and jumping ship well ahead of the ship burning. I am not blind to the fact that certain employers and business owners have been forced to recall commissions, already paid, because the client cancelled the contract citing misinformation by the salesperson when selling.  I am not blind to the fact that employers may have genuine reason to hesitate to pay commissions earned.

But, I am not talking about these ones; I am referring to those refusing to pay sales commissions driven by pure greed, myopia and jealousy.

Shame on you! You should be thrown in the dungeon and the key thrown away.


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