The Complexities of Commission Culture

David picks Blair's brain about new business compensation, and what principals need to consider in finding their firm's place on the spectrum between full commission and salary with no incentives.



DAVID C. BAKER: Blair, today, we are talking about the whole new business commission ecosystem.

BLAIR ENNS: Oh, yeah.

DAVID: A topic that is so near and dear to so many hearts. People are, these warm feelings are just flooding people right now. They're wanting to start a wood fire and just bask in this.

BLAIR: Oh, God. I could just imagine all the, "Oh, yeah, oh, tell me the answers. What are the answers?"

DAVID: Or click just like going on. Yeah.

BLAIR: Oh, yeah, right, okay. In my world, people want to know the answers to this nasty, complex issue.

DAVID: And we have some answers for them but I'm really more interested in kind of picking your brain, just giving them maybe some news to think. Because I think they're going to probably end up making the decision based on the kind of people they are. But at least we can give them some different categories to think in.

BLAIR: Yeah. There are no clear or very few clear answers to the questions around this. So yeah, let's try this.

DAVID: Yeah. And different systems seem to work pretty well for people based on who the players are. So here's the first question and that's, and I know that there's a hot button here. So I'm gonna try and poke it right away.

BLAIR: Of course you are.

DAVID: Of course I am, right. So it's everybody's job to do new business. Right? I know you've written a lot about that. You've been a TED speaker. You spoke at South by Southwest on that. And your topic and you're known around the world as-

BLAIR: I haven't done any of those things and I do not believe that thing that it's everybody's job to do new business. 

DAVID: So therefore, everybody shouldn't be on some sort of a commission structure?

BLAIR: No. There are very few firms where everybody is on some sort of commission structure. But there are a lot of firms where a lot of people are on commission structures. And I think universally those firms that the compensation, not just the plans themselves, but all of the issues around compensation and effect compensation as broadly as culture, they all get really messy. It's a highly leveraged compensation plan where most of or even all of the compensation comes in the form of incentives, either commissions or bonuses, that's got all kinds of implications about the people involved, about the propensity for risk of the salespeople, of the risk that the principal is trying to mitigate, and the culture that greats created as a result of it.

I don't know where we want to go from here, but it's, if you took two extremes where on one end of the extreme, it's everybody in the firm, all right, it's everybody's job to sell and you don't eat unless you contribute to selling. And the amount that you and your children get to eat is tied to how effective you are at selling, if that's one end of the spectrum.

DAVID: I'm picture a lot of starving people.

BLAIR: I'm picturing hell. And then on the other end of the spectrum is, "Okay, we've got one or two people whose job it is to sell and everybody in the firm is paid based on a salary with no incentives," those would be the two extremes. And you want to find the right balance for your firm somewhere in between those two. And I would suggest to you that it's closer to the latter than it is the former.

DAVID: So let's define some terms first. Salary, commissions, and bonus. How, as we use those terms, how are you defining them, what is the distinction between those three?

BLAIR: Yeah. It's funny. I never thought of a definition of salary before, but it's a regular income that you get paid. It's the annual amount that you are paid for just showing up. It's not tie to any condition other than showing up and your ability to keep your job. So that's your base compensation. And in a lot of situations, it's all of the compensation that you receive.

DAVID: Right. Okay. And then the distinction between commissions and bonuses in your mind.

BLAIR: So there are different types of bonuses but commissions would be typically we're talking about if you sell X, you get Y percentage of X.

DAVID: So it's a mathematical formula, essentially.

BLAIR: Yep. Yep. And it's directly tied to the amount of revenue that comes in. Now, there can be some other caveats tied to that or parameters tied to the commission so it's not just a straight percentage and those are the commissions that I favor. I think we'll get into that. And then you can have bonuses that are part of the actual compensation plan it's really just a way to put a commissions in a box.

So an example would be if you bring in a client in excess of $100,000 in fees, then you get a bonus of five or maybe $10,000. So it's a little bit like commissions but it's not as directly tied to revenue. There isn't the variability there. So there's the formalized bonuses and then there are discretionary bonuses. And I think I see a lot of commissions and bonuses and incentives that are formalized that I feel really should be given at the discretion of the principal and not be put into the compensation plan. So that's salaries, commissions, and bonuses.

DAVID: So let me just have you expand a little bit on that last point. It's always interested me and there's this notion of why did you say what you just said about how the principal needs to retain some discretion? What is it about that particular act that it's important in terms of managing a firm? What does that accomplish?

BLAIR: When you start to introduce, this might be different in other types of businesses, but in an independent creative firm, where you start to have different incentives plans for different employees, like in a small creative firm, you might have one dedicated new business person. You might have two, you might have three, increasingly, you might have a sales person and you might have a marketing person.

So you might have that salesperson on some sort of leveraged plan which means at least part of the compensation plan includes incentives. And then you might have others in the organization whom you want to reward for bringing in leads. So you might say, "For every lead you bring in, I'll give you $100." Or, "For every piece of business," even though you're not in charge of new business, you might be an art director or media director, or what it is, "If you bring in a new piece of business, we'll give you X percentage of whatever you bring in."

Well that gets really messy because you've got the salesperson who is on a commission and then you've got this other person who says, "Well, I brought that to the table." Then you get this argument of, "Well, yeah, you may have brought it to the table but I dragged it over the finish line." And you set up kind of these competing scenarios. And whenever you set up these competing scenarios where you're incentivizing different people, you almost always create a situation where the principal, sometimes it's the new business person, but often it's the principal, is purposely excluding people from the process, thinking, "Oh, I'd rather close this piece of business without actually further involving this person, because then-"

DAVID: Saving money.

BLAIR: "I have to pay two people."

DAVID: Yeah.

BLAIR: And that just creates all the wrong dynamics. So some of those, an example of where you would use discretionary bonuses is when you say to the broader team, "I expect all of you to at least, from time to time, put some opportunities or some leads on the table even if it's hey I read this in the paper that there's a new CMO at this potential client company. If you just put that on the table for us to pursue, we'll compensate you for that."

So I wouldn't formalize compensation around that. I would just say, I would encourage it, and then I would bonus those people at my discretion based on how much of a contribution they were to getting that business.

DAVID: Yeah. So it's not formulaic, you're letting the principal use their judgment in that case. And ultimately, as a new business person, if you don't trust the principal's judgment, then you're probably not gonna stay around so that's part of the cultural equation I would think. So have you seen any difference over the years in, at least I have, I'm wondering if you have as well about the role of commission? 

It seemed like in the past, commission was so much more prevalent and it was a bigger part of somebody's compensation than it is nowadays. Have you seen that as well? And if so, do you know what's contributing to that change?

BLAIR: Yeah. There seems to be, generally speaking, the compensation plans for new business, not just dedicated new business people but anybody who might touch it seem to be less leveraged. There seem to be less commissions. I think that's a good thing. I can theorize on a few things that might be driving it. One of them is the internet changes the way people buy, therefore it changes the way we sell. Lead generation is now largely a marketing function and I think that's a good thing because we talk about content marketing. So a lot of the lead generation efforts of firms are really put into publishing thought leadership or speaking or podcasting like this or blogging, YouTube channel, etc.

And then that drives the inbound inquiries and then a salesperson would pick it up from there. So when you accept the fact that lead generation has moved from historically it's been a sale's function and it's moved from sales to marketing. So you've got this, when you take lead generation away from the salespersons, you are left needing a different type of salesperson. You're left needing a lower competitive drive. We typically think of this high drive, high commission salesperson whose job is to talk people into things, right? The smile and dial rejection proof person.

But when you take the need for that person to generate leads away from them, you're left with somebody, you want somebody who is more patient, therefore, they're actually less interested in a highly leveraged compensation plan. They would prefer the opposite, so they're less competitive. But the benefit of somebody being less competitive is they're more patient and in a consultative sale of customized services, you want a patient, discerning salesperson. Now if you're doing outbound lead generation, you want a highly impatient, competitive person.

So as soon as you start to move lead generation from the department of sales to the department of marketing, it changes that salesperson that you need, the make up of that person, and that person is less likely to be motivated by commission.

DAVID: That distinction is so important. In fact, thinking about the second person you described, it could be somebody who is organized, disciplined, and a really thoughtful, a thinker, a writer, as well. It's opened up the opportunities to different people as well. But also thinking about what you just said and applying that to myself, I remember, I used to know exactly how somebody came to me. I could, in the middle of our first phone conversation, I could ask them how they heard about me and then I could tag that in a database.

Nowadays, I have no idea. It's like, that's how the sales to the marketing flip has changed things which makes it so much more difficult to really assign, I guess, responsibility or reward to an individual person. Because if a firm is doing their job, they've got all these hooks in the water from a content standpoint and I don't really know who brought the, I know who was in the meeting after somebody raised their hand and asked to be talked to about this opportunity, but I don't know where they came from before that. So it really is a different world.

BLAIR: Yeah. That challenge is known as sales attribution, their entire business is built around this and it's getting more, even though the technology that we have to track where people came from, even though we're getting more sophisticated about it, it seems to be more and more elusive, true sales attribution. The answer to the question where did this lead actually come from?

DAVID: Yeah. Exactly. But Salesforce is forcing me to fill, choose from this dropdown menu and actually I don't know so I'm just gonna guess here. What do you think, I've often been curious about why we have commission structures for salespeople and not for other roles, because there are so many other roles for which we can measure the output and it's always struck me as backwards. And I've also wondered if it's because salespeople and not so much modern salespeople but in the past, those kinds of salespeople, they were like monsters to principals, they didn't know what to do with them, they didn't know how to hire them. They didn't know how to manage them and so a commission structure was just a way to in a hands off way, let them be self managed. It's like if they're not any good, they're gonna stave and they'll leave, they'll resign. And it was almost like, "I don't know what to do here, so I'm gonna put a commission structure in place."

BLAIR: This battle, right? If they're not any good, they're gonna starve or they'll leave before they starve. But conversely, if they're really good, they're going to hold you hostage, right? 

DAVID: Yeah. 

BLAIR: There's very few things that can do more damage to your firm than a high competitive drive salesperson on full commission because if you talk to these salespeople, they work for themselves, right?

DAVID: Right.

BLAIR: They are self employed under your umbrella and as far as they're concerned, you're not even their boss. That's the extreme version of it. And so you asked the question, "Why do we even do this?" I think that was, must have been paraphrasing, why do we even consider just a full compensation? What's going on here? And the answer is risk from both sides of the table. So if you think of, it's just a bit of a legacy from viewing lead generation as the responsibility of sales. So you need this really high drive rejection proof person, and somebody like that does not want a cap on their income.

DAVID: Yeah. They don't want a cap. Even if they never get above that cap, they'd never want the concept of a cap, right?

BLAIR: They don't want to know what they're gonna make next year.

DAVID: Yeah.

BLAIR: They want the possibility of infinity, infinite income, right? And that appeals to a principal who wants to mitigate his risk, that's the appeal. The appeal is, "Well, if they don't do well, then my risk is pretty low." And then at the opposite end of the spectrum, they start to do really well, "Oh my God, this person is earning more than I am."

DAVID: Well how many times have you found well run agencies with great positioning, great culture, great salesperson and the salesperson is making more than the principal, is that a problem?

BLAIR: I've seen it a few times, I've seen both, where it is a problem and where it isn't a problem. I've always thought it really depends on how the comp plan is structured and maybe we should talk about that in a couple minutes. But I favor a balanced comp plan that's heavy on the base salary because it reigns in those wild mustangs who see themselves as working for themselves.

You pay a high base in exchange for your team player, in exchange for attending meetings, following policies, etc. If you're on full, if I'm the boss, I'm the principal and I have a salesperson on full commission and he's out selling so his children can eat and I say, "No, we're gonna do a day long retreat," his reaction is going to be, "Screw you. You can't pull me out of the field for a day."

DAVID: With you losers who are not on commission and would starve if it wasn't for me.

BLAIR: So I forget where your question was but we are definitely seeing less and less of that. I can't remember the last time that I saw a decently sized or a decently run firm that had a salesperson on full commission.

DAVID: All right. So let's talk about what a good compensation plan looks like. And you've mentioned one already and that's a high base in exchange for being a good team player, all those things. So collaborating, helping with other things, it be even record compliance if that's important to you and so on so that high base is one.

Another one, talk about just the agreed upon sales targets but not just the targets but what kind of a client are we going to include as part of this structure. So if you bring me a client that meets these three criteria, it's gonna count. If they don't meet the criteria, it's not gonna count. If that's important, talk about that as well.

BLAIR: Yeah. So first of all, you need to set the sales target before you set the compensation plan. And when I say you I'm talking about you the principal sitting down with the employee or the candidate. You start by saying, "Well, okay, here are our sales targets, we're a million dollar firm and our goal for next year is to be at a million two, so our goal is to grow by," let's say we've got $800,000 - I'm just pull these numbers out of the air - we've got $800,000 in revenue that we can account for and we need $400,000 in new business. So your target is $400,000 in new business over the course of the year.

So that's roughly $100,000 per quarter if you want to simplify it. So you agree by putting the target on the table and having the employee agree that, "Okay, yeah, I'm willing to take that responsibility on." The next step would be to discuss the target income. And this is really, there's no science around this, it's really like, "Okay, Mr. Salesperson, what is it that you think you should earn? What type of income are you looking for?" And there might be some back and forth there and you just keep things simple.

Let's say you agree that for hitting that $400,000 target, fair compensation would be $100,000, now that's probably depending on the environment, etc, that might be low. But let's just keep the numbers round so we've agreed first on what the sales objectives are and second what the target commission is.

Now let's go back to the sales objectives. $400,000 in revenue, new business revenue, if I just gave this person commission, the target is $400,000, their income is $100,000, therefore I'm going to give them 25% commission, pay them no base, then that person is incentives to bring in any piece of revenue regardless of the size, regardless of the strategic fit of the client, etc. so you want to put some parameters around that. They have to be right fit clients so you would define what the client looks like. But the most important thing I would stress here is you would only incentivize income that met a certain threshold. So $400,000 over one year, I would suggest that you break that up into quarters.

So I would say to the salesperson, "You get incentivized for bringing in a client that's worth over $100,000 in fee income." Does that make sense?

DAVID: Yes. It does and I would guess that if there's going to be an urge, it's going to be for the new business person to not be patient enough. So I like the way you phrased that, thinking about almost quarterly because you could wait, wait, wait, say, "No, wait, wait, wait. Now, this is a right fit client and I'm okay waiting for two months or three months because I'm really looking for right clients. I don't have the pressure to close something just to meet a revenue target. I'm really looking for clients who meet a certain criteria as we work toward that revenue target."

BLAIR: Yeah. Another way you would phrase it is, "I'm looking for $400,000 in revenue that's contributed by no more than four clients." So the idea is and there are reasons for this, I think we've talked about it before or we will in the future, this idea of churning your client base. It's not, you don't go from on million to 1.2 million by add more clients, you get there by steadily and properly managing a healthy churn of clients.

So you want your new business person focused on not just bringing in every little account that he can but basically bringing in a small number of right fit clients that meet a certain income threshold. And in this case, if I jump to the next step of the comp plan, the next step is to establish a base and then the incentive structure and I favor a high base in the range of 70 to 95% or even 100% sometimes. 

DAVID: I usually say 80% so I was curious about where you were gonna land there. So 70 to 90, 95%. 

BLAIR: Yeah. Of the target income. So if the target income for the salesperson is $100,000, we might agree that your base is 80 and for every client at or in excess of $100,000 that you bring in, you would get a bonus of $5,000. So bring in four of those clients, that's a $20,000 bonus that takes you to the target income of one hundred grand.

DAVID: And for long a period of time do these incentives continue? Are we looking for them to bring a client in and we don't really know how good a client they are for two or three years? Or is the incentive spanning say a year? How long does that last?

BLAIR: Most firms, when you've got a, in a firm where you have a dedicated new business person who basically says, "I killed it, you clean it." They bring it in and then it's handed off to the team who takes on the engagement, there should be no incentives paid to that salesperson for that client to stick around in years two and three. So sometimes you see these declining commission scales where it might be 10% in the first year, seven in the second year, and three in the third year.

And I don't think that's appropriate. I think you want your new business person to be focused on the next new opportunity. So they're incentivized based on the size of the commitment the client makes for the first year or the amount that ends up getting spent in the first year. And there's some nuance there. We could unpack that a little bit but that's generally speaking, that's where you want the focus.

DAVID: Okay. So continuing this idea of what's a proper incentive and then what's demotivating, how complex can it be before there's this diminishing return? I often think in terms of a spreadsheet, like do I have to have a spreadsheet to understand this commission structure? Talk about what motivates salespeople, what doesn't, how complex it can be, I just want to get inside your head there.

BLAIR: Yeah. And so generally speaking, the simpler the better. And I've heard you say that before, if you need a spreadsheet to calculate commissions then it's too complicated. And I think that's probably true. I think it's almost certainly true now that lead generation has moved over to marketing and our salespeople really are people who are, they're leaders. The attributes that make somebody a successful salesperson in a consultative sale, once you take lead generation away, you just look at anybody who is good at leading others, that person is usually a pretty good salesperson.

And they want to have a high base. They don't have this need for high incentive and if the incentives are too high, then you diminish the likelihood of having any type of team selling. A friend of mine owns a cloud computing consulting firm that's large and growing rapidly and I was asking him about compensation structure a while ago and he was just adamant that they've got this great culture of team selling.

You can pull anybody in to help close a deal and any sort of commission would just destroy that.

DAVID: Wow. Yeah. And it's a different environment but that's not what I was expecting you to say. That's pretty interesting. Let me hit you with three quick thoughts just to get your, and this is all under the umbrella of when or what kind of commission structure makes sense. And I get these questions quite a bit so I'm just gonna pass them onto you. One is should account people, so somebody that goes out and kills it, drags it back to the cave, somebody else cleans it and serves it and so on, that second person, the account person, should they be on commission?

BLAIR: No. I don't think so. I think, now, there are some firms that operate under what I would call the professional firm or the partner model where you've got an account person who runs essentially a book of business who is responsible for getting that business and then serving that business and then they're paid a percentage of that. You're more likely to see that in a PR firm, but you're seeing it less and less outside of pure consulting firms.

I'm not a fan of those models. They're really hard to scale because it's hard to find somebody ho is really good at lead generation and managing the business and then they end up essentially running their own business under your firm, under your umbrella. And as I've heard you say before, it's basically separate businesses sharing a letterhead and a sign.

DAVID: Okay. The second one is about and I still surprisingly see this where there's more than one partner, more than one principal, so they divide up the roles. One might be the creative director. One might be the strategist. One might be the new business person. And the new business person, the principal responsible for new business is on commission, none of the other principals are.

I've always felt weird about that. What's your perspective on that?

BLAIR: It's hard to imagine anything more toxic than that. I just cannot see, even though one principal might be, that might be her sole focus is new business, in a partnership, the other partners are like, "Why is that new business should be compensated that way and other ways should not?" Especially at the partner level, that's just, I haven't seen it a lot, but I have seen it a small number of times and I recall talking to you about it over the years when I've seen it.

There's never a healthy relationship in the background as a foundation for those partners. There's always some sort of animosity going, somebody's trying to take more than his or her fair share.

DAVID: And it's easy to compare their relative contribution as well because the money makes it easy.

BLAIR: Yeah. I just can't think of a bigger mistake than having a principal take commissions.

DAVID: Okay. Next question is about, let's say, because you and I both work for some fairly large firms, when there's more new business activity than one person can handle and we have multiple people, how do we handle the commission structure there? Are they just all on the same team? They get the same commission pay outs or are we incentivizing them separately?

BLAIR: I feel like we're almost talking about this as though the commissions is the default position in terms of how people should be paid for new business. And I would suggestion that that's not true. It's the opposite is true. So if you're in a scenario where you have multiple people earning commissions. I think, well let me just tackle this a little bit differently. And I think this is what you're talking about. But I see scenarios where you've got multiple people with different incentives to bring in business. It's usually the principal has made these little side deals with people as a way to get their income up. And this had been in my employee career, this had been suggested to me in the past.

Little side deals is a way to pay people or have people earn more and then you have all this environment of all these side deals and then there's an opportunity on the table that somebody's brought in and a decision is made, somebody decides, "Well, we're not going to involve so and so because I'm gonna end up paying out too much commission." The general rule of thumb is this: if you have an individual who is incentivized for new business and that business comes in, that person gets paid to the commission or the bonus regardless of how involved they were or were not.

Does that make sense?

DAVID: Yep. It does.

BLAIR: So if the firm wins a piece of new business and it has nothing to do with the new business person, it was a relationship from the principal, etc, that new business person, if they're working under a leverage compensation plan, they should receive the incentives even though they didn't touch it, had nothing to do with them.

DAVID: And they should be paid that gladly without any-


DAVID: Yeah. Because if you start to resent that payment, then you've got something else wrong that's not gonna be solved with a different compensation plan.

BLAIR: Exactly.

DAVID: There's some cultural riff. Yeah. Two more questions and then we'll wrap this up. So let's say you're not real happy with your compensation plan, whatever the mix is of base versus commission. But you also know that it's demotivating to change the plan all the time, which is something we probably should have talked about, right? 

BLAIR: Yeah.

DAVID: So how do you balance that? Do you leave it if it really could use some help but you don't want to keep changing it every two years? What do you do there?

BLAIR: I think if you're gonna blow it up and start over again, I would say start from a full salary with maybe some discretionary bonuses or small bonuses. And some people who are listening to this would think, "Well, that would be silly, why would I just take all that risk?" I would suggest that most of the problems around compensation plans have to do with the work that the principal has shirked or has not done around the positioning of the firm and the institutionalizing of a proper, ongoing lead generation machine.

So anywhere where you see new business compensation angst, you will also see a whole bunch of what I would call strategic work, positioning of the firm, etc, work not done by the principal.

DAVID: And not being terribly objective with themselves about owning that difficulty.

BLAIR: Yeah.

DAVID: All right. Last question, saving the worst for last, or the most difficult for last. So we've got this salesperson here and I'm not seeing the results I want. I'm the principal. I'm not seeing the results I want. There's some things I really like, some things it's like, "Ah, this is taking longer than I want." And I think maybe I don't have the right person, maybe I don't have the right plan, but I've invested so much time and money in this and if I cut my losses right now, I'm gonna have to start over and it was so hard to find the right person. I have so principals ask me about that like when do you decide and that's often when they mess with the compensation plan thinking they turn an ineffective person or an ineffective support system around and was their hands of this by just fixing it with a different compensation plan.

BLAIR: Yeah. Two things going on here as you point out, sunk cost bias, right? So generally speaking, in all positions, not just business development, when you start thinking, "I don't know if this person is right," you know they're not right. It's time to correct. So and I think you would probably agree with that when we're talk about positions other than new business. Is that a viewpoint that you would hold?

DAVID: Yeah. Because principals don't come up to me later and say, "I wish I had given it more time." It's like, "No, I should have done it earlier."

BLAIR: Yeah. Exactly. And the second point is the metaphor that I use is if you think of it as a car and you think of it as the new business person as the driver, you get a new employee, you put them in the car at the start line, you start paying them, they start selling and the car starts to move, right? And when the performance isn't there, one of the reasons that keeps principals from correcting the hire even though they start thinking, "I don't think this is the right person," is in their mind, they imagine that when they replace, the car stops, when they replace the driver, the car backs up to the starting line, you start all over again.

And that's true when you don't have any institutionalized new business policies, right? You don't have rules, you're not well positioned, you don't have a lead generation machine in place, you haven't formalized what you will and will not do about new business, you don't have a CRM in place, etc, you don't have the history of the conversation with these opportunities. And for so many years, that has always been the case. Principals have looked at this domain of new business as kind of the special mystical domain of the individual and if I get rid of the driver, I'm gonna have to back the car up to the beginning.

DAVID: That's such a brilliant, I've never really thought of that. But it's not like in the old days where we are maybe starting over. Google's not gonna suddenly forget you if you have a new salesperson. That's another way to think about that, if Google knows about you already.

BLAIR: Yeah like invest is the car is what I'm saying and if you have to stop and change drivers, that does not mean that the car goes back to the beginning. And back when we used to hire high drive, competitive, overly competitive salespeople, one of the things that we paid them for, that we looked for them to bring to the table was their connections, what we used to call the Rolodex, right? 

So if you're hiring based on that, I mean you're already behind. You're already setting yourself up for all kinds of trouble. And it's pretty rare that that happens these days, although in some of the big ad agencies, people still get hired on that basis. But if the firm is seen as the expert, if the firm is generating thought leadership or others or the principals and senior people in the firm are tracking inbound leads, if the firm has a properly set up CRM system and all its stuff cataloged and you can look at the data and crunch some numbers and see who is doing what, and if the firm has policies and procedures around new business then you can get away with a pretty good person.

You don't have to go in search of the rain maker, which is interesting because we used to hear that word a lot, right?

DAVID: Yeah.

BLAIR: When's the last time you heard the word rain maker?

DAVID: Yeah. I mean there are even whole sales programs built around that word. Yeah. I haven't heard it forever.

BLAIR: Yeah. And I always loved that word, because I thought it was the most ridiculous word. It was such an admission, the ad that said rain maker wanted, you've left so much work undone that you need a magician to succeed. Right?

DAVID: Somebody to dance and make ti rain and I have no idea, they're weird and they want one percent ownership so they can call themselves an owner and it went on and on and on.

BLAIR: In this conversation, I realized how far we as a profession, we've come a long way on this stuff.

DAVID: It's great.

BLAIR: We really have.

DAVID: Yeah. It's really great.

BLAIR: Finally, we have a good news story.

DAVID: Yeah. Thank you, Blair, this has been great.

BLAIR: Thanks, David.

David Baker