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Sales: Nature Or Nurture?

Nov 29, 2007
Salesmen tend to perpetuate the myth that you either have a knack for making sales or you don't. They make out that it is a dark art that can only be mastered by an elite few. Like most myths this has a tenuous link to reality but is of course complete fiction. So what is required to become a good sales person and can it be achieved through sales training?


How do you sell snow to the Eskimos? Well successful salesman and author of Success through a positive mental attitude W.Clement Stone stated that, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect." The attitude of the salesman is crucial. You may think this is obvious - it is! But how many times have you met a salesman that half-heartedly attempts to push a product that they obviously have no belief in.


Alongside having a salesman with a good attitude, "People like to feel they are buying of their own good judgment as a result of the information the salesman has given them". This would suggest that it is vitally important that your salespeople are knowledgeable and impart their knowledge without pressing the customer too hard.


Okay sales people are not renowned for their integrity. There are numerous horror stories of door-to-door salespeople that fleece lonely OAPs in an attempt to relieve them of some of their pension. It goes without saying that a salesperson using these techniques will not only go to hell but will eventually be caught out by their customers when they don't receive what they are promised. People respond to honesty. It is perfectly admissible to highlight the flaws in your product and if you help the customer find the right product for them (even if it is not yours) they will appreciate it and come back to you next time.

Learn about the customers

It is another overused cliche that good salespeople know their customers. Cliche or not it is a fundamental aspect of being a salesperson. You have to know what your customers want. This is why search engines such as Google have been so successful. They listen to what the customer wants and provide results for their search. Salespeople should do the same. Sadly taking time to listen is often overlooked by salespeople. Woody Allen alluded to this in Love and death 1975; "There are worst things than death. If you've ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you know exactly what I mean." Sadly salespeople are often too keen to talk about themselves and as a result miss out on a sale.


It can't be taught they'll say. But of course we all know good sales techniques can be taught. Motivation, Communication and Financial Awareness can all be developed by sales training. When this is mixed with high levels of determination and desire to sell a super human salesperson will be born!
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been a leading salesman for all of his life. He uses his many years of experience to run sales training for salespeople of all levels of experience.
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