Your company likely has training documents for sales reps to learn about your products and your sales processes. But have you put together anything that explains what makes a good sales rep and what makes a bad sales rep? Have you truly set expectations beyond daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly sales goals?

If you answered “no” to those two questions, you’re in good company. Far too frequently, we find ourselves in positions where we must explain good vs. bad traits to salespeople, but we’ve never put any of this in writing. 

Here are 16 positive and negative sales-rep traits that we’ve committed to writing here at SpareFoot. Perhaps they’ll help you and your sales team prosper.

Trait 1: Understands the product

Good: Takes the time to understand the product so he can see whether it solves a prospect’s problem.

Bad: Talks about how wonderful the product is without knowing whether it’s even relevant to a prospect.

Trait 2: Always learning

Good: Seeks ways to fine-tune and advance his skills.

Bad: Thinks he doesn’t need more help after learning the basics.

Trait 3: Open to feedback

Good: Seeks feedback from his peers and managers.

Bad: Thinks everyone is out to get him.

Trait 4: Understands business goals

Good: Understands the goals of the company and how he fits into the bigger picture. 

Bad: Could not care less about the company and only wants to collect a paycheck.

Trait 5: High ethical standards

Good: Wants to work with people who have high ethical standards and take their work seriously.

Bad: Justifies any action with an “I’ll do anything to get the deal” attitude.

Trait 6: Persistence

Good: Is persistent, but not annoying.

Bad: Thinks persistence means calling a prospect several times a day.

Trait 7: Knows when its a no

Good: Understands that hearing “no” will let him move on.

Bad: Wants to continue to chase deals that don’t have a chance of being sealed.

Trait 8: Always exceeding 

Good: Sets goals for himself that exceed the expectations of the company or his manager.

Bad: Is done as soon as he hits his quota.

Trait 9: Listens

Good: Listens. 

Bad: Talks. 

Trait 10: Builds their reputation

Good: Realizes there are ways to game the system, but knows doing so would hurt his reputation and the company’s.

Bad: Finds any shortcut he can take and keeps it to themselves.

Trait 11: Targets the buyer

Good: Quickly identifies who can make a buying decision about a product before doing a full pitch.

Bad: Pitches anyone at a company who will listen.

Trait 12: Knows what's needed

Good: Knows when to stop talking. 

Bad: Talks himself out of a deal that already was sealed.

Trait 13: On-going dialogue

Good: Takes feedback from her manager, but also provides feedback to his manager so that they both can grow.

Bad: Hates the word “management” and thinks everyone needs to be looking out only for himself. 

Trait 14: Calm under pressure

Good: Understands rejection is part of the job, and remains cool and calm even if the person on the other end of the phone isn’t pleasant. 

Bad: Tries to fight fire with fire and gets into a verbal debate that leads nowhere.

Trait 15: Honest

Good: Is honest even if it could cost him the deal. 

Bad: Leaves out information that he fears the prospect may not want to hear.

Trait 16: Pride in the role

Good: Respects himself and takes pride in his profession.

Bad: Does not really want to do sales.

Do you recognize any of these good or bad sales-rep traits in yourself or in your team?

About the Author

FMario Feghali is co-founder and chief sales officer of SpareFoot, an Austin, Texas-based startup that operates the country’s largest online marketplace for self-storage.