6 Types of Sales Reps that Sales Managers Should Avoid

When hiring a salesperson, organizations often place a heavy emphasis on things such as personality tests, education, and other outward qualifications to determine which salespeople will be the most effective for their organization.  Each of these things has their place in the evaluation process but over the years I have seen some salespeople that measure well by these barometers yet would not be a salesperson I would ever have working for me.  These "salespeople" fit into several different profiles.  Here are six types of salespeople that will never work for me:

The Camper

In basketball, when a player is guilty of a three-second violation in the key, they are said to be ‘Camping in the Key.'  In sales, this is the sales reps who just hangs around in a sales territory long enough because they know a lucky bounce will eventually come their way.  When it does, they reap the benefit of business that they win by default because they happen to be in the right place at the right time. This person, who refuses to put their heart and soul into their job will never work for me.

The Babysitter

This is the sales rep that doesn't think that he should be responsible to go out and find new business.  They feel that leads should be handed to them - qualified and ready to buy.  At the expense of selling, they focus on the implementation and management of the account.  This babysitter is not welcome to watch my family (my coworkers and customers).

The Robot

This is a sales rep that does the same thing every day.  They come to work at the same time, take lunch at the same time, and go home at the same time. Their methods of prospecting never change, nor does their sales pitch or anything else for that matter.  Of all of the sales reps that I would not hire, the robot is probably the best all-around salesperson due to the fact that they maintain a highly disciplined regimen.  However, this still will not cut.  The robot lacks creativity and desire to examine and improve their current processes; therefore I'm pulling the plug.

The Windbag

This is the sales rep that has no idea when it is time to stop talking.  I run into salespeople all the time who have been selling for many years and still have no internal "shuttheheckupometer."  The windbag, despite many signs from the customer that it is time to end the sales presentation, just never seems to get it and always thinks they have to say one more thing.  The windbag puts customers to sleep, puts me to sleep and frankly has no business giving sales presentations, so I'm deflating them.

The Ghost

This is a sales rep that may have good numbers but never participates as a team member.  They are a ghost because you never see them.  They are not interested in collaborating with their peers or sharing knowledge of best practices.  The ghost causes hard feelingsamong their teammates because it seems that ghosts work by their own set of rules.  If you're going to work for me, you've got want to be part of a team.  If you're a ghost, you know who I'm gonna call.

The Sloth

While I am certainly not advocating (or practicing) any age discrimination, it is important to understand the pros and cons that each generation of worker tends to bring.  Compared to other generations, sales people in Gen Y are generally very bright, highly educated and excellent with technology.  However, there is a subset of them that I refer to as the Sloth.  The Sloth tends to come to the workplace with a very different ethic than us

old-timers.  We have taught these sloths to eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired and work only when they are inspired (or feel like it).  They do not identify with their profession as part of who they are; it is just another thing that they do (and doing it is not real high on their list of priorities).  I'd let these people cut my grass, wash my car or build a sand castle for me.  However, a person with a bunch of education, and no work ethic will never work for me in sales.  Let the sloth sleep on their own time, not mine.

Each of these types of potential sales candidates may have some excellent attributes that we'd like all of our sales reps to have: the Camper knows how to be in the right place at the right time, the Babysitter tends to be excellent at taking care of existing clients, the Robot is highly disciplined, the Windbag is articulate, the Ghost requires little supervision and the Sloth is bright and highly educated.  However, these types of salespeople tend to be one-dimensional.  Sales is one of the most challenging and dynamic professions one can pursue.  It requires special people to do the job and as sales managers we need to be very careful in who we invite to join our teams.  There are other types of sales reps that I would not want to work for me but, for now, this will suffice.

Please share some of your best practices for identifying and avoiding them.



  1. Emmanuel Ninedeyz's avatar

    Emmanuel Ninedeyz

    If a sales rep.is designated by a company to solicite business on its behalf then he needs these six qualities to drive sales.

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