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What is your definition of a “good” sales rep?

3 min readMay 16, 2019

There are many ways to define a “good” sales rep. It’s common to measure their value with factors like experience, performance record, prior companies, and network. There are also unquantifiable factors like personality, drive, character, temperament, and communication skills. Ultimately, your organization’s definition of a “good” sales rep may be very different than another. Your ideal sales rep will possess the qualitative and quantitative skills that fit your company, culture, products, marketplace, and competitive environment.

There are specific traits, however, at the core of every high-performing sales rep. A “good” rep that possesses these traits should be able to succeed anywhere. A sales rep should:

Possess Excellent Interpersonal Skills

Exceptional interpersonal skills are obviously essential for any successful sales rep. Reps need to be able to effectively communicate with prospects and customers, as well as with internal team members. They should be able to easily convey ideas, rally others, and inspire teammates.

It is also very important that their interpersonal skills are as good over the phone or video conference, and that they don’t need to be face-to-face in order to get their point across. They should also be skilled writers who can express ideas through written mediums like email and social media messages.

Exercise Empathy

These also encompass good listening skills while effectively demonstrating empathy and being an active team player. They all influence the success or failure of a salesperson, especially as they get started.

Be Highly Adaptable

Sales reps need to be adaptable for a variety of reasons. In the short term, they need to be able to think on the fly, deal with difficult questions from prospects, and adjust their pitches and selling style to match the potential customer they are dealing with.

Further out, they must be able to adjust to accommodate for changes in the marketplace, your target customers, new managers, teammates, and even new products. The best sales reps should be able to perform well in any environment.

Be Coachable and Open to Feedback

Your best sales candidates should accept feedback willingly, have a desire to learn consistently, and have the mentality that they are never done learning. Coachable candidates will be willing to take responsibility, will be flexible and not afraid to try new things, actively seek input from others, and will be humble. Sales coaching is a component in every high-performance sales team, and has become a competitive advantage. You need a team made up of the most coachable candidates possible.

Have Self-Confidence and Awareness

Confidence can make up for lack of experience, knowledge, or skills. But the individual must be humble. They should be sure of themselves, but not to the point where they do not recognize when they need help or that they are better than others. That’s why a high level of self-awareness is also key. Potential hires who are self-confident will often have a positive attitude. Confident sales res will also better handle rejection, and will be able to continue marching toward their sales goals.

Have Discipline and Focus

A key to sales success is a clearly defined and repeatable sales process. They time out every call, message, and conversation. Every stage is mapped and defined, and reps know exactly when, where, and how to move their contacts through them. A “good” sales rep should know how to stay organized and manage their time wisely. They should plan their month, week and day for optimum productivity. They are well prepared for internal and external meetings, and you can rely on them to follow through on action items and with prospects. This level of responsibility means they don’t require micro-management to stay on track.

Are Self Motivated

Self-motivated new hires are an excellent choice. They’re inspired without your help and are driven to succeed. Their competitive nature causes them to continually strive to improve, working to meet or exceed goals – both self-imposed or set for them.

Before you add to your sales team consider these key traits to fine-tune your definition of a good sales rep. They will help increase the odds your new hires will become successful, seasoned salespeople.