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Nature vs. Nurture: Are You Born A Salesperson?

Samet_headshotToday's post is by Hannah Samet, Consultant at Treeline, Incorporated. This post was originally published on the Treeline blog

Since beginning my role as a consultant at Treeline, I’ve learned what seems like an infinite amount of information in a comparatively short amount of time.  Not only have I learned about recruiting, I’ve learned about numerous other sales industries as well.  From software/tech sales, to pharmaceutical, to manufacturing, the world of sales is vast and expansive.  It’s hard work,  but I’ve learned that a career in sales offers so much growth and opportunity and that it is nothing like the negative stereotype that we all think of when we hear the word “salesperson.”

I’ve heard many people say that in order to be a good salesperson, you need to ‘be born with it’ – ‘it’ being that natural talent and charm that is necessary to sell pretty much anything.  While charm and allure certainly give you an advantage in sales, I don’t find it to be the most important asset that a salesperson needs to possess.

As a natural introvert, I never dreamed that a career in sales would be a good fit for me.  But as time has gone by, I’ve become more and more comfortable speaking with candidates and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  Ultimately, the most important lesson I’ve learned during my time here is that being too afraid to take chances and step outside your comfort zone will ultimately lead you to failure.  As a salesperson, you have to be willing to pick up the phone, call people, and be persistent.   Sure, people may be annoyed or uninterested, and it may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s necessary in order to be successful. After only a few months, I’ve learned to push myself and become a strong salesperson. And I feel this is due not to a natural instinct but being equipped with the right training and management team.

I consider myself lucky that I started my career in recruiting. I have the chance to work with people and help advance their careers both professionally and financially, and that is truly rewarding.

My best advice to anyone considering a career in sales is don’t be afraid.  It may be a cliché, but it’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far. Starting a new career in any industry is intimidating; you may not be sure what you’re getting into or what to expect, but sometimes you just need to dive in.  If you find a great company with a great team like I did at Treeline, chances are you won’t regret it.

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Patti Pokorchak

"Born' sales people can get A LOT better through training. For them, it's learning to listen, and not talk as much. There is a process and it's not show up and throw up on people, telling them everything you know.

It's the introverts who make the best sales professionals as they are more deliberate, caring and questioning. It's all about the questions and answers that make an outstanding sales person. I use to be really shy and quiet but have sold millions of dollars of 'stuff' around the world via phone, fax, email and mainly F2F.

Mike Boyle


Interesting comment and one we here as sales trainers and consultants hear on a regular basis.

In my mind while there are clear behaviours and characteristics at play with high powered sales success, personality style has no basis in science when considering ultimate sales success. In fact all the studies we have seen show that a mid point between introversion and extraversion is where the top performers sit.

Lets be honest Zig Ziglar's midwife did not say upon his arrival into the world " wow look a great salesman has been born!"

You are spot on though about fear and fear management in sales people. Seth Godin quite rightly states in the wonderful book Purple Cow pages 45/46:

" So it seems that we face 2 choices: to be invisible, anonymous, uncriticised, and safe, or take a chance at greatness, uniqueness, and the cow"

Be bold sales people and thrive in this uncertain world.

Mike Boyle

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