If you are going through a job search, it is almost inevitable that you will be asked “What are your salary expectations?”
There are varying schools of thought on how to answer this question. Most of what you will find on the internet is based on the “he who speaks first loses theory”. When asked, you should not answer at all but instead, wait for the employer to give you a figure first. Career expert Penelope Trunk has some excellent answers on how to answer the salary question without actually answering.
As a sales manager however, when I would ask that question of a candidate, it always drove me crazy when someone wouldn’t answer. In a sales organization where there is more than one sales representative employed, the compensation plan is usually set. Anyone new coming in would just be given the same plan with the same base anyway. If this wasn’t the case, it would cause quite the uproar as soon as the sales representatives started to compare their plans as would inevitably happen. Most times a sales organization is asking just to ensure you are a fit so that you don’t waste both your time if you aren’t in the set comp plan’s ball park.
My opinion is, if you are in sales, have a minimum figure in mind and speak in terms of overall income. “Mr. Employer, I would expect to have the opportunity to earn a six figure income with a breakdown of approximately a 40/60 split of guaranteed versus performanced based income.” This shows you expect a certain level, but that you are also ready, willing and able to perform to earn the rest.
The key is, no matter how you answer, you need to have a minimum amount that you would accept. No matter what it is, there is no point you pursuing an opportunity that doesn’t meet your minimum.
You salary expectation is just one component what makes a good career choice. Once you know what the best sales job for you is, it is just a matter of creating a plan of action to find it. With our Coaching Services, we have helped many sales professionals through this process. In fact, a recent testimonial said “With (his) coaching and his help improving my resume I am getting on average 3-4 calls a day. It’s insane. I know which jobs to definitely pass up but there are some “interesting” opportunities coming my way.”
Susan A. Enns, B2B Sales Connections
For more Sales Career Tips and Job Search Links, visit our blog, A Sales Compass, now considered “one of the Top B2B Blogs on the net”.