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Myth – All Salespeople Are Born And Not Made

Naturally born salespeople are confident, outgoing, and rapport-building conversationalists. They are at ease with cold calling or pitching to executives, right? There are specific traits that most salespeople possess but use differently; however, there are also some skills salespeople can improve upon to be more effective.

Different Types of Salespeople

There are several different types of sales roles. Some salespeople target new businesses that don’t currently work with their organization. There are also the salespeople who look for the next opportunity within a customer in which their organization already has an established relationship. These two common types of salespeople are known as hunters and farmers.

The most successful types of salespeople are the ones that use both their natural talents and their skills to connect with customers and win business.

Some Natural Talents

Here are a few traits that each salesperson possesses but may use in different ways.

Communication

The root of sales success is the ability to gather and provide information in a way that makes your customer want to do business with you. Whether that communication is written or spoken, it’s important that it is clear and concise.

Salespeople use various methods of communicating to articulate a clear message that is easily understood. Not only do they communicate well, but they are also good listeners. According to HubSpot, “Salespeople spend one-third of their day actually talking to prospects and they spend 21% of their day writing emails.”

Curiosity

When a salesperson is speaking with a prospect for the first or second time, it's crucial they ask the right questions. As a salesperson, one of your primary roles is to discover your customer’s core needs quickly and succinctly.

This is true whether it’s for a new prospect or you’re uncovering a new problem with a current customer. You can’t do that unless you’ve understood their problems and business needs and devised a strategy to solve them.

Traits of a Salesperson

Effective salespeople don’t focus on their self-wins and goals, but instead, look for wins for their customers. They want their customer to feel like they hit the jackpot either personally or professionally. Salespeople are often unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare and advancement of others. They are consistently striving to help others improve and grow.

Harvard Business Review reports these surprising results from a study on personality and sales: “Salespeople in the top 90 percent demonstrate traits of modesty and humility.”

Solution Selling

Salespeople are also good at relating to their prospect’s issues by solution selling. Solution selling is all about understanding the prospect's needs and pain points and determining which features within your products or services will benefit them most.

Skills to Improve On

High-performing salespeople are successful not just because of their mannerisms, their attitude, or the way they talk – it’s a combination of a number of different traits that all work cohesively to produce stellar results. Some skills that top salespeople have that others can work on are the following:

Time Management Skills

An effective salesperson is able to manage their time and ability to juggle several deals or tasks at once. They are also able to prioritize and organize their day to meet deadlines, remain focused, and be proactive.

Presentation Skills

Another skill a salesperson can develop to be more effective is their presentation skills. You can work on delivering more engaging presentations to a variety of audiences. These skills cover a variety of areas, such as the structure of the presentation, the design of the slides, the tone of your voice, and the body language you convey either in-person or virtually. Now more than ever, it is important to hone your virtual presentation skills to keep your customers engaged on video calls.

Listening Skills

A skill that complements the salesperson’s strength in communication is active listening. Active listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages, and it is the key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood, which proves to be a great challenge for a salesperson. Most people listen with the intent to craft their response, but when you truly listen for context and understanding, you can really hear what your customers are telling you.

In the End

Are top salespeople born or made? The true answer is that the overwhelming majority of top salespeople are gifted with natural talents mixed with acquired skills. Not everyone is cut out for sales, but if you possess even some of these traits, like communication and curiosity, you’re off to a good start.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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