6 Categories of Sales Reps – Which One Are You?

It is easy to say that a “rep is a rep”, but when I dug deeper over the years, there are many “personas” that they could take on.  True performers typically elevate their game from “just a rep” to “sales professional” and ultimately “superstar” over a shorter period of time.

I compiled a list of the six categories of reps after being part of several sales teams over the years:

  • Raw rookies
  • Future superstars
  • Superstars
  • Steady Eddies
  • “What have you done for me latelys?”
  • Underachievers 

Raw Rookies

Raw rookies may be new to a role, or brand new to the sales profession. They are hopefully eager to learn, and make every attempt to work well with their team mates and managers as soon as possible. The first three months tend to be a little rough on raw rookies, as they are inundated with a barrage of product training and possibly other teachings. If they are not given the necessary support to become successful early in their time with a company, they are probably “thrown to the wild” and asked to fend for themselves. The first three months tends to decide a raw rookies’ fate, and management can quickly tell if the interview process was a true indicator of what was to come.

Future Superstars

Future Superstars can show signs early on if they are going to be successful. Typical signs are how they carry themselves, how eager they are to learn the role, and how engaging they are with coworkers, management and customers. They realize that it is going to take some time to understand the organization, and their products and/or services. But they know as long as they make the customer their #1 priority, things will eventually fall in to place. Future superstars will put the team before themselves, and never lose site of the fact that their day-to-day goal is to sell stuff and exceed budget.


Superstars show a lot of the characteristics that I have described under “Future Superstars”, but have achieved above average results for a longer time. Can somebody be characterized as a superstar after 3-12 months on the job? Probably not.  Any rep can fluke out and have a great few months, and then come back down to earth soon after. But if they have successfully achieved for 12 – 24 months in the same role, I would deduce that is it not a coincidence. Superstars just get the job done and continue to raise the bar to the next level. They are never satisfied, and are always looking for their next challenge to grow and succeed.

Steady Eddies

Steady Eddies can be relatively new sales reps, or seasoned veterans who have been around years. Their results do not fluctuate much from month to month, or year to year. Their consistent results make them a very dependable and reliable group that can always be counted on. They typically turn down promotions, especially for managerial roles, because they are comfortable working their territories as individuals, and like to be left alone to do their jobs.

What have you done for me latelys?

If you are a child of the ‘80’s like me, you may realize that this category was inspired by the classic 1986 Janet Jackson song of a similar name!

“What have you done for me latelys?” are very similar to sports stars that are past their prime, but are still being rewarded for what they have done before. They could be described as “lame duck” employees, who should be fired, but are not for many reasons. It has become public knowledge that they are not performing their job duties up to the standards that they set for themselves in the past, but some business is still coming in based on their reputation in the market place. In many cases they are counting the days until retirement; or for those not of retirement age, they are counting the days until they get fired.


Underachievers are not getting the job done. They never have. There could be many reasons for this, and the list is too long to assess in this post! At the end of the day, it will result in termination; it is only a matter of time. Some tend to have “nine lives” and dodge being fired longer than many expect. But in the end, they will be looking for another job, possibly even in a different profession!

  • If you are not in the sales profession yet, do you have what it takes to become a Superstar in this exciting line of work?
  • If you are in sales, what type of rep are you now, and what type should you be?
    • What changes to you have to make ASAP if it does not say “Superstar” on your business card?

About Tim Mushey

Dynamic and energized sales rep, mentor and leader since 1999. This blog will be about sales, social networking, personal branding, leadership, music and having some laughs! Don’t be surprised if I mix it up on occasion, and talk about something totally different! I thrive on being part of successful, forward thinking teams. I am ready to go from the moment my feet hit the floor each morning, with the expectation that new adventures will be coming my way. It is rare that there isn't a smile on my face, as I take it all in, and have some fun along the way!

Posted on May 29, 2012, in Leadership, Management, Rewind, Sales and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. JC Giraldo In Social Media

    I had a award as Best Sales Pharmaceutical Rep. in Merck & Co. in my country….I ” fougth ” for years almost 6 bcse was my GOAL “Be The Best.”..finally I did…..the most important is have good attitude and be proactive…

  2. JC Giraldo In Social Media

    BTW I’m always superstar….I’ll share my history w you..buddy…good post…I’ll try mix sales w social media…best…

  3. Tim, as the HR and learning & development guy in the room I’ll chime in and say that this list applies to all fields. It’s a great list and one that managers and leaders could learn a lot from. We tend to focus on the superstars or underachievers and ignore the steady eddy’s (aka cash cows) and – often – the raw rookies. Unfortunate, because there’s a ton of potential in both groups. Great list!

    • Hey Broc thanks for taking the time to comment! Steady Eddie’s and raw rookies certainly deserve more attention than they get. Thanks again or stopping by!

  4. Travel with purpose

    Great read

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