A good sales person knows how to negotiate. But do they go too far when trying to get more money out of their company that offers them job security and already a salary most sales people would line up for, especially in this down market? After all, most of us are watching our dollars and cannot afford to give every last dime to an employee at the risk of operating at a loss.

“S” as I will refer to her, is a sales person for me in one of our offices. She does a great job of networking and opening accounts. When she needed an assistant to help keep her straight, we approved this. When she needed a second office so they can handle business without stepping on each other’s toes, we said ok.

Every time I get together with S, she is always asking for more money. She feels she brings value and deserves more. She gets paid a base and a commission based on the number of accounts she opens, so there is a financial reward. The more accounts she opens above her minimum, the more money she makes. But that seems never enough.

S, as most successful sales people, can be difficult to work with. The operations center who processes her accounts complains that she is high maintenance. Her interactions with her peers are viewed as aggressive and she tries to nickel and dime me to death (even charging the company $1.75 for a cup of coffee).

She is a single parent with no financial support from her ex. I empathize, but should I have to pay the price of her personal financial issues?

We in our organization have just completed our budgeting process for 2009. We are watching our cash flow and have instituted procedures to control expenses and an approval process which must be followed company wide.

I met with S to go over this. We discussed the salary increase that was approved. She seemed satisfied with our discussion and our projections for 2009

Then she slept. And then this morning, I get an e-mail from S stating that she wants more than what we can offer.

I negotiated with management to get her an increase in a horrible economy, to continue to allow her incentives and to pick up health insurance for her. Apparently, this is not enough.

I say to myself “enough already.” How much stress and emotional babysitting do I put up with before I start running ads to replace her? Do people like S have the right to hold business owners hostage? Though she is a sales person, she drives me crazy. To me she should be thankful she has a job.

What would you do if you were faced with this issue?

Here are three questions to ask yourself if you are in this situation.

1. What is the cost of replacing her in training time, gearing up the pipeline to start bringing in accounts and the financial cost of missed business while a new person is getting trained?

2. Are there skilled individuals in her community that can fill this position?

3. Do we as business owners allow our employees to take us as hostage?

We started our business, built it from the ground up, established credibility and offered employees the opportunity to make a good living, have benefits and thrive. I don’t think we have a responsibility to all of a sudden become a nonprofit organization and pay the price for our employees’ personal financial crisis. We are already paying the price of the financial crisis as business owners.

As much as I feel S is an asset to our company, I will not be held hostage by her. When we give up our own control and values and allow others to tell us where we should spend our money, I think we will all be heading for our own economic crisis.

Guess the ads will go in the paper. Anyone out there need a job?

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Moren Bromma is the President of Ocean Park Marketing, and an Adviser to The Entrust Group, an author, speaker and radio show host. For more information visit wisewomeninvestor.com or email Lisa at lbromma@theentrustgroup.com.