Well, if you're in a proven industry and have a track record of sales, it's quite simple... make the commission generous.
I once worked as an advertising sales rep and while I wasn't 100% commission (my base salary was only $18,000, while I earned over $130,000/yr.) it was close enough that I think the experience qualifies.
I joined a team of a dozen reps and we all earned really good money. Convincing new people wasn't hard and the people who weren't good ended up leaving. It was a win-win.
Now if you're a new startup and you have no track record of sales then what you're talking about is developing more of a partnership. Here are the fears that any potential rep will have:
1. What if nobody wants this widget?
2. What if the company can't deliver on the promises?
3. What if I starve while trying to sell this thing?
See the problem?
You need to take a step back and examine if what you really need is a rep on your team who is an employee, or if you need to build some kind of dealer network or get your widget listed with rep houses that are selling other people's widgets.
Those people won't be afraid of starving and they'll give you better input as to what they think of your widget.
Arrange a call if you'd like to discuss your particular case, I work with a lot of people who are trying to formulate their business models.
David C Barnett
Bottom Line: There is a big difference between paying someone nothing ongoing and paying them even a small amount. The other answer where they were paid only $18,000 is still very different than no ongoing pay.
When you ask someone to commit their time and talent with no guaranteed return you'd better have a pretty convincing reason. what if your product doesn't work? What if you change your mind?
Many experienced entrepreneurs will advise people to never work for free, especially bus dev, and I would usually agree.
One option is to give them some equity up front, show that you're willing to take a risk. It would force you to choose wisely and treat them with more respect.
If you would search me the more effective way is a linked-in message or something telling me that you are interested in how i work and would like to share some of your product information. A BDM should share a passion and that need to aligned with your product. Then you go and asking a full commission BM. I mean, you can always give some guarantee but remember to filter a lot. I would find BD with engineering background with Sales expirience. As I am BDM i would like to be approached like that. Happy to help with some other contact globally