5 Traits to Look for in a Sales Rep

Jordan Scott
Jordan Scott
In Sales
Jordan Scott is the Content Marketing Manager at Xactly. She attended The University of California at Santa Cruz, and received degrees in Literature and Education.

When you’re looking to hire a new sales person, there is much you need to consider in the way of qualities and traits. You have to question if they’ll get along well with the existing team, if their previous experience is a good match for your organization, and if they have what it takes to learn about and represent your product.

The five traits below are a great jumping off point to help you figure out if you’ve found the next great addition to your team:

Flexibility

As your organization grows and changes, there will be new product mixes to sell, frequently changing territories to contend with, and new sales models and theories to learn and put into action. If you hire a sales rep that thinks they’re done learning all the tricks of the trade, then you’re setting yourself up for frustration.

A good way to discover if you’ve found a flexible prospective employee is to ask them to describe a time when they had to handle a drastic change at a previous job. If you’re having a hands-on interview you can also monitor their response to constructive criticism. A flexible person will likely take it in stride and have an open conversation. Someone who is set in their ways is more likely to get defensive or explain why the way they did it is better.

Communication Skills

Communication skills go beyond the traditional gift of gab that most sales reps possess. A great communicator can listen just as well as they speak, and they don’t just talking to fill the silence; they present measured responses that teach the prospect something new and drive the conversation forward. In an interview, they’re the people asking thoughtful questions and transforming your formal format into a conversation.

Past Accomplishments

Even if the only sales experience they’ve had was selling mattresses or magazine subscriptions, any prior experience in sales gives a rep the elementary skills needed to take their career to the next level. Prospective employees that have had to deal with rejection and know how to get back up again and keep trying are an asset to any company.

Attention to Detail

When you’re searching for that next great hunter rep, attention to detail might not stand out as one of they key traits you’re searching for. But it should be! A rep who pays attention to detail will remember when their prospect is on PTO visiting family back east and they won’t call them, or they’ll send a thank you note after the first in-person meeting to show that they really care, and they’ll definitely recall the co-worker their prospect can’t stand and lend an empathetic ear next time they have a phone call.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking isn’t just a section on your ACT test; it’s an imperative skill for your sales rep to have as well. If you hire someone that can think analytically, they will more likely be able to think on their feet, and respond intelligently when they’re put on the spot. In addition, these sales people are able to address customer concerns and discuss product benefits with prospects in new and innovative ways.

What other traits do you think make a great sales rep? Tweet @xactly and fill us in!


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5 Traits to Look for in a Sales Rep

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