Marketing Strategy · Email Marketing

Email list providers, do they exist that work on commission/results rather than just selling lists?

Darrel Raynor Project & Ops Turnarounds, Interim CIO/COO, improve performance of dept or teams. Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, Staffing

February 27th, 2016

We are bombarded with LinkedIn, unsolicited emails, and many social media from email list providers. All seem to work on either selling a list or performing services, at hourly or fixed rates. We would love appointment setters and lead generators work on commission from sales we or they close, not numbers of followers, list size, numbers of calls or emails, etc. Real sales results and we would pay! Does anyone know of such services?

What we don't need is an economics lesson or detailed description of their existing business models, truly we understand those.

Let's keep the discussion to the question and not why it will not work please... (Experience in discussing in other areas pushes me to set the parameters here to keep from wasting everyone's time...)

I was thinking of checking at Fiverr, elance, and other remote work providers, anyone have any suggestions? (Other than just accepting the status quo business model of list providers...)


Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

February 27th, 2016

Buying lists of people who have no prior relationship with you could have significant negative consequences (like getting you thrown off the Internet). A much more productive strategy would be to approach newsletter owners who reach your target market and get them to include content from you (this might work on the commission model you're looking for).

I have a section in one of my marketing books called "Spam: The Newbie's Natural Mistake."


February 27th, 2016

Working with commissions-only sales is very challenging but not impossible. What you're looking for is "Independent Sales Reps". 
Try these:

Rob G

February 29th, 2016

I've never used (nor looked for) contract appointment setters, but I could certainly see paying a 'leads' company for closed/set appointments or the virtual equivalent (skype session, for example or webinar attendee).  I've had inside sales teams who's comp is tied to qualified appointments.  Agreeing on qualifying criteria is key. Take your 'great' list, contact the people on your list that meet our criteria and set an 'appointment' for us.  These are the qualifying criteria___.  For each "appointment" with a qualified contact you get paid $x.  That's quantifiable and easy enough to track.  The quality of the list then is their issue as is performance. Whether that lead (appointment)  turns into a sale is another matter and out of the list providers control.  determining the value of the sale is yet another matter and difficult for both parties to quantify and track other than a one-time sale.  Are you not able to find appointment setters that are willing to be compensated only for actual, qualified appointments? 

Lars Forsberg President/CEO at Longboat Retirement Solutions LLC

February 29th, 2016

I think there must be a way to link leads to sales.  I'm sure that there are many large companies who have a system in place to do just that.

I guess I am talking about the broader issue of a systematic disconnect between business people and computer people - again, not all, but the in the vast majority of situations, business people and computer people to not speak the same language.  Most businesses don't get paid for non performance, so business people have a hard time paying someone else for non performance.

I understand that if you are in the business of selling lists, than you are in the business of selling lists of people or companies that should be of interest or value to the customer.  If there were a trackable way to follow leads to sales from a list provided, we could get somewhere.  Do any list providing companies offer this?

Joshua Kundert Virtual Assistant

February 29th, 2016

I have a project goin right now that I sourced out on which is the new combination of odesk and elance. When we put this project together we looked at commission based vs hourly based and then decided to go with a mix. Based on the fact that we were able to source people that had enough english that they could generate leads and then what we did is went with 100% commission based closers. Right now we are in the process of putting together a cold calling outbound call center that will work off this module. and so far it is going pretty good.

Jivko Pentchov

March 3rd, 2016

Hi Darrel,

I want to add few lines here and it may help you to organize your work flow or make the current better.

I agree with you that buying a list with potential client will be waist of money and time for you. 

Hiring an employees/sales people will be a challenging because everybody need to fed a family.

As I have read some of your answer I see that your are in position of luck of clients and lack of sales. I have been there....

The way we got out is by creating more opportunities, leads and give flexibility to your employees/sales people, let them work part time, offer 1/3 of a salary for 3 month of probation....this way you will have 3 people working on cost of one and you will find a good staff and hire them.

You just focus on generating leads.

Ben Yennie Co-Founder/VP Biz-Dev ProductionNext, Founder of Producer Foundry, Author, Speaker, and Producer's Rep

February 27th, 2016

The short answer is if you want results, don't pay entirely on commission.  Especially with the services you're talking about.  Those services actually ban commission only jobs from being posted.  But more importantly, if you want an even halfway decent salesperson, biz dev person, or lead gen person, you have to pay them an hourly plus commission.

Most of these people have some level of life or business of their own they're developing.  (Again, at least the good ones.) if you had other clients willing to pay you a guarenteed wage and bonus, would you be willing to do free work for someone that generally ends up at less than minimum wage?  Do you really want to hire some desperate enough to answer that question with a yes?

Lars Forsberg President/CEO at Longboat Retirement Solutions LLC

February 28th, 2016


I feel your pain.  I am confused why certain industries want to get paid for attempts, and not results.  I only get paid for results.  If I tell someone that I can do something, and I don't pull through, guess what, no pay.  Maybe someone on this site can see this vacuum and capitalize on it by creating a website that has exactly this, "geeks who are paid for" or something like that.  This issue is far too common.  Basically every small business owner I know has the same issue.  I have told many a young computer geek "learn how to market online and market that service to small business owners - you will be rich."  Being paid for performance is not a new business model - the 9-5 cubicle business model is.

Darrel Raynor Project & Ops Turnarounds, Interim CIO/COO, improve performance of dept or teams. Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, Staffing

February 28th, 2016

Thanks much, Shel and Farzad for the positive comments. Will think about your replies and check out your links! 

Ben and Amir those are *exactly* the type of responses we do not need in these discussion groups, especially when noted that we are already intimately in the know about existing business models. We have done some great cost reduction consulting engagements on a % of savings, which is just like commission... We do the work for free sometimes and when the savings start we participate. Is this how you want to present yourself to potential advisors and advisees? Hold the sarcasm, snark, and condescending comments, please.

Think what Uber, AirBnB, outsourcing, and others have done, we do NOT have to accept all existing business models without question. Peace brothers.

Amir Yasin Developer, Architect

February 27th, 2016

Sounds like a great idea. Maybe the power company could also provide you electricity on a commission basis. If you aren't able to close the sale, you don't have to pay for the lights. Before you dismiss my idea or give me an economics lesson on the power companies existing model, understand that you're asking for the exact same arrangement.