Do Natural Born Salespeople Exist?

Dear Todd Cohen Sales Community Members,

Time for the age-old question of whether or whether not salespeople are naturally born or are created? I have written this week’s column on this topic, but I really want to know what you think – the opinions on this one vary from end to end! Here is a snippet from my column:

“A question that I have discussed for years is whether salespeople are born or made.In other words, is there such a thing as a natural-born salesperson?This is a term that has been bandied about for years, and I think that a case can be made for both sides of the argument. I have also written in my recent whitepaper that to be a great salesperson, one needs an innate desire to sell.Is this innate desire created or natural?

OK, sales community-I KNOW you must have an opinion on this, so let me have it! I will have much more to say on this topic, but for a change, I am staying (relatively) silent for now and want to hear from you!


4 thoughts on “Do Natural Born Salespeople Exist?”

  1. Todd-

    Interesting and timely topic as companies are trying to do better hiring and retain staff!

    I have to say that I think that sales people are born that way..and nature brings it out!


  2. The brain works in mysterious ways and is one of the keys to why we are all so different. I can’t say that I understand the neuro-anatomy of the brain well but I envision it as having super highways combined with dirt roads. Some neuro pathways are well traveled and others are infrequently traveled and for each of us these pathways are different.

    Thus certain skills come naturally to some and not others. My wife can remember virtually every phone number we have ever had in over 30 years of marriage. By the way, she is extremely good with the phone number of retail stores, especially shoe stores. Personally, I need to look in my cell phone for her phone number since I rely on speed dial most of the time. It’s just not a natural skill for me.

    Thus, I truly believe that many of the competencies required for great salespeople are naturally acquired from our super highways that get developed at a very early age. Verbal skills, confidence, out going personality, organizational skills, self motivation, etc. are things that you traditionally see in top sales professionals. However, I continue to be amazed at the variety of sales approaches that allow sales people to be successful. While there are certainly stereotypical sales people traits, I have been astonished to find a wide range of personality types and approaches that make sales people wildly successful. However, fundamental to all of these top sales people is that fire in the belly that drives them to never be satisfied until they see their name in lights. It’s the need for recognition in most and in others who are passionate about a product, it’s the satisfaction of filling an unmet need.

    So yes, I’d say that sales people have certain super highways in their brains that are very similar but be careful to not generalize these traits. When passionate about something, we all become sales people.

    So let the “fire in the belly” spirit burn throughout your sales community!

  3. The age old question of heredity versus environment. There are people who have found ways to be more engaging than others. There are those who seem to hae a knack for networking. I believe that to be a real professional sales person you must have a process and continually upgrading your skills. Those “natural born” sales folks only go so far unless they are also upgrading themselves. As Ron wrote – everyone is in sales to some extent – don’t tell the tech folks. You sell all the time – those of us who take selling seriously and want to be better than the rest are those who are the studiers not the naturally born type.

  4. I believe that “The Naturals” are few and far between. Based on what I have seen through my career most new comers to sales do not know anything about this profession. Many have continued in sales for years without ever learning the basics. You need to know (learn) what it takes to be a successful sales person. I think a natural will be tenacious, this is hard to teach, but that is only going to take you so far. Even natural born athletes learn the mechanics of the game and build on them to become great. Experience is nothing more than practicing in the real world. This is how to become a natural.
    One of the nicest compliments we all receive from time to time is how easy we make some tasks look. Be it a sales close, a first meeting, or tying our shoe, this all comes to be through training and experience.

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