The Most Important Quality of an Expansion Stage Sales Rep

Devon-McDonald by

What are the qualities that the most successful sales reps possess? Some would say: ambition, resilience, focus, persuasiveness and empathy … to name a few. If you have a member of your sales team with these traits — this is a great start. There is one major characteristic, however, that is not on the common attributes list, and that will likely be THE determining factor as to whether this person is successful within your expansion stage business for the long term: IS HE/SHE OPEN TO CHANGE? Change at the expansion stage is inevitable. New/changing target segments, new product launches, new/changing messaging, growing headcount, new managers… Every quarter, every week, everyday — there is always something new. A sales manager may set goals for his/her team, and then one quarter later decide, ‘You know what? These goals are way to high (or way to low) — let’s make an adjustment.’ This constant transitioning may really make some reps out there incredibly frustrated. This doesn’t make this person bad at sales, it just makes them not the best fit for the expansion stage sales role. Perhaps a better fit would be at an organization that is larger, more developed, and has already gone through it’s expansion stage — it likely has very defined processes. The type of sales rep that you need at your company is someone who is receptive, finds opportunties in change, and THRIVES in a fast-paced evolving environment. So how can you determine whether or not a sales candidate is the type of sales person who is open to change or resistant to it? During the interview process, really dig into their resume and ask the candidate why he/she left their previous jobs — get into the details of their previous work environments — what did they like? what did they dislike? If you really focus on their answers — and keep the “change opposition” concept in mind — you will likely start to catch some hints as to whether or not they’d be a good fit for your evolving expansion stage organization.