Are Salespeople Born or Made?

Something I hear a lot from reluctant salespeople is "I'm not meant to do sales. I'm not a natural salesperson." Which leads to the question -- Are salespeople born or made?

The problem with natural salespeople

To natural salespeople or "rainmakers" selling comes naturally. But unfortunately they cannot be copied and they can't really teach what they do, since they don't know what they do -- they just do it!

This frequently crops up as an issue when I work with businesses where the founder, who is a natural 'rainmaker, wants to scale up or hand the business on to the next generation. They find that people in their team simply can't bring in the business and they don't know how to teach them to do it.

What we can learn from natural salespeople

Ultimately, whether you feel natural selling or not, selling is a process and combines skills in three key areas; Belief, Attitude, and Technique

You can learn from 'the naturals' by understanding what it is that they do unconsciously and then practice until you have developed that skill.

In fact if you look through this list you'll probably find that there are traits you already have -- maybe you are a natural salesperson after all?

  • A high need for achievement
  • A belief in the ability to control the environment through your own actions
  • Risk taking -- a comfort with, and even enjoyment of, risk
  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Organisation
  • Hard work and Energy -- Sometime sales people fail because they simply don't put the work in
  • Optimism -- the belief that anything is possible
  • Charismatic -- anyone can learn to build rapport with people