Having spent a great amount of quality time with a countless number and wide variety of salespeople over my 25-plus years in the industry, I am uniquely qualified to answer that question with a tried and true “yes and no.”
How many “born doctors,” “born attorneys” or “born scientists” do you know? Likely not many. With many years of teaching and training to achieve those occupation designations, it would surely be improper to refer to those people (or any other honorable profession) that way.
Put in an athletic perspective, you are not “born” to be a great basketball player, a great golfer, a great tennis player, etc. It is true, however, that many great athletes are indeed born with good genes and innate physical characteristics that, when properly developed and applied, result in great achievement.
So while many “born salesmen” have natural attributes like being outgoing, articulate, optimistic, assertive or nurturing – traits that lend themselves well to success in the sales profession – top “Pinnacle Performers” combine this with a set of skills learned over time, and reinforced through continuous practice and disciplined application.
For companies hiring new salespeople, ideally you would want to start with an individual that had a strong foundation of natural attributes and then build a top performer through a consistent skills development program.
As I cover in my Strong Selling in a Weak Economy presentations, this is particularly relevant in a down market. Why? Because many of those alleged “born salesmen” (and saleswomen) are now failing. Often these folks have those natural “gift of gab” attributes to talk the talk, but are coming up short in the training and development required to walk the walk and perform in the tougher selling environment of a weak economy.
The fact is…top performing sales people are not born. However, they can be made by combining natural talents with proper training and development.
Steve Ferrante, CEO of Sale Away LLC, is the producer and host of the Pinnacle Performance sales and customer service training program for the tire/auto service industry. He can be reached at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or [email protected].