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Are Great Salespeople Born Or Made?

Are great salespeople born or made?One of my clients asked me last week if I thought great salespeople were born or made. It’s a good question…


Psychologists have been arguing this for years… What is the interaction between nature and nurture for sales professionals? Can you learn successful sales skills – if they don’t come naturally to you?

Of course you can. It comes down down to one thing… How much do you want it?


Back to the Nature vs Nurture. These twin factors influence your ability to achieve – or not – in your life. As in sales. But which is more important? In my experience, as a motivational speaker and author, there is no easy answer to this question…

First off, I would have to agree that some salespeople seem to be more naturally suited to the job than others. Whether due to their genes, their upbringing, their education or their family and friends, by the time they reach maturity some people find selling much easier than others. Luckily for this group, they may be “naturally” more curious, better at building relationships, more resistant to rejection and more able to get their message across.

But nature isn’t everything. As my Mum used to say, “It’s not about what you were lucky enough to be born with, it’s what you do with it that counts.”

Different types of sales situations require different characteristics and different skills. And an individual good at instant results, door to door situations may well not excel in a complex solution business to business environment where deals take many months and years and with complex decision making processes. For this reason, moving from one position to another in different markets may see your natural traits becoming of more or less use to you.

What’s more, sales skills are most definitely made and not born. Babies are most definitely not born with an ability to understand buying drivers or complex needs. This understanding comes from application, focus and commitment to being a professional salesperson.

In the argument about nature or nurture, born or made, it ultimately comes down to one thing…



How much do you want it?



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It may well be that some people are naturally more people oriented than you. Maybe some people are naturally more robust and resilient to rejection than you. Some people leap to their feet and make confident presentations first time out of the gate. That’s just the luck of the draw. All it represents is where you are right now.

If you want to succeed at sales..  you need to forget where you are now. Stop making excuses for your personality, your upbringing and your skill set. Set your mind to learning and developing the skills and attributes that you need to be a successful sales professional.


As Will Smith says in “The Pursuit of Happiness”, “Don’t ever let somebody tell you… you can’t do something. You got a dream… you gotta protect it.”



“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

“Hey dad, you wanna hear something funny? There was a man who was drowning, and a boat came, and the man on the boat said “Do you need help?” and the man said “God will save me”. Then another boat came and he tried to help him, but he said “God will save me”, then he drowned and went to Heaven. Then the man told God, “God, why didn’t you save me?” and God said “I sent you two boats, you dummy!”

“I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was.”

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