Job ads for sales often call for an “aggressive” rep. Many reps are proud to be known as an “aggressive” closer. What does this mean?


1. characterized by or tending toward unprovoked offensives, attacks, invasions, or the like; militantly forward or menacing: aggressive acts against a neighboring country.
2. making an all-out effort to win or succeed;
3. competitive: an aggressive basketball player.
4. vigorously energetic, esp. in the use of initiative and forcefulness: an aggressive salesperson.
5. boldly assertive and forward; pushy: an aggressive driver.

Synonyms: 1. pugnacious, militant; 2. forceful, enterprising, assertive.

Antonyms: 1. friendly; 2. retiring, shy, timid, hesitant. Unabridged (v 1.0.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

The applicable descriptors are:

I. Positive
1. all-out effort to succeed
2. competitive
3. vigorously energetic
4. initiative
5. forcefulness
6. bold
7. assertive

II. Negative
1. unprovoked offensives
2. attacks
3. menacing
4. pushy

Are sales reps invading or attacking anybody? Not normally. Can they be menacing? Unusual. Pushy? Often.

Reps with the positive characteristics listed above are inevitably successful. They are closers. Reps that although “friendly” are shy, timid, and hesitant are rarely successful. They are posers. Being aggressive is a requirement in sales, while being pushy and obnoxious is unprofessional and ineffective.