Are Salespeople Born or Made?

The reality of being a natural born "salesman"

Good Morning. An outage early this morning left tens of thousands of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon customers without cellphone service. But maybe this is good news…? If you’re dreading making cold calls, this is your snow day. ‘Sorry bossman, I’d love to make some calls but no one has service. Maybe tomorrow.’ 🤷 

In today’s Follow Up:

  • Are salespeople born or made? 🧠 

  • How to be a better negotiator 🤝 

  • The sales tip of the day 💡 

  • Sales around the internet 🗞️ 

  • Sales jobs, LinkedIn & a meme 😂 

Are Salespeople Born or Made?

There’s no denying it.

If you weren’t born as a tall person, your chances of making it to the NBA are low.

Not impossible, but not likely.

Luckily height isn’t a requirement for getting a sales job… but it does seem like some people were ‘born for sales’.

In March of 1961, Robert N. McMurry wrote an article for Harvard Business Review, titled The Mystique of Super-Salesmanship, and dove into the age old question: Are salesmen born or made? 

Tons of things have changed since his original post – (the internet, video calls, and AI)… But one thing has remained constant: Salesmanship.

Here’s what he says.👇

The Natural “Wooer” 🕺

You know that person with a chip on their shoulder? 

The one that always has something to prove - and is probably successful because of it?

McMurry describes this type of person as a ‘natural wooer’.

A habitual “wooer,” an individual who has a compulsive need to win and hold the affection of others.

- Robert McMurray

A sales rep with this trait feels unloved and is on a mission to win the affection of others. And it just so happens that this ‘flawed’ personality trait makes for a killer sales rep. 

This type of rep will put up big numbers but have trouble explaining how they did it. 

Like asking Michael Jordan how to win an NBA final. There’s no guide for it. Some people just have it. 

“He is not born with this need; it is the product of his early environment. But it develops so early in life that for all practical purposes it might as well be inborn.”

- Robert McMurray

Differing Styles 🎨

What works for one customer might turn off another. 

The truth is that no salesperson will appeal to every customer.

McMurry talks about two vacuum cleaner salesmen who were ‘unlike as day and night’:

One was beefy, loud, and would hard close (and borderline harass) his customers to make them buy.
The other was thin, soft-spoken, and basically begged his customers to buy.

Although they were complete opposites, they sold the same amount. Two different approaches that appealed (and worked) on different prospects. 

Just because a sales rep can sell to one prospect, does not mean they can sell to every prospect.

The 5 ‘Less Glamourous’ Traits 🎤

On top of being a natural ‘wooer’, there are a few ‘less glamorous’, qualities that top sales reps share:

  • High energy – The best salespeople have inexhaustible energy and optimism. As Friedman says: "Pessimists sound smart. Optimists make money." We’re here to make money. 

  • Confidence – Often covers up the feeling of not being good enough and helps overcome rejection.

  • Money-driven – The root of why most people get into sales and one of the only jobs where ‘I’m in it for the money’ is the right answer to an interview question.

  • Bias for Action – Ability to be self-disciplined and work without close supervision. Never sitting still and always making moves. 

  • Challenge-oriented mindset – The best salespeople view objections as challenges. They are highly competitive and motivated by overcoming resistance.

Back to the question: Are salespeople born or made?

Like most things in life, it’s a bit of both. 

Salespeople who are natural ‘wooers’ will have an advantage over those who are not. And if they also have the 5 traits, adding a bit of training will make them unstoppable.

The hard truth: If you’re not a natural ‘wooer’ and don’t have any of the 5 traits, sales might not be the best career for you. 

But then again… Walt Disney was fired from his first job because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” 🤷 

Do you think the best salespeople are born or made?

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Negotiation strategies and tactics

If you can successfully overcome a flustered brain to maintain composure in any given high-pressure situation, feel free to skip this section today. For once… you have our blessing. 

The rest of y’all: We’re talking about bargaining — because whether you crave a raise, a promotion, or a 30-minute recess after lunch, knowing how to negotiate comes in clutch. 

Take our guide on brokering like a boss. This is our final offer.

Sales Tip of The Day 💡 

Don’t end a call without clear next steps:

> Can we put time on the calendar to reconnect on {insert date}?
> Let’s set up another meeting to demo this for your teammates. Does {insert date} work on your end?
> After this I’ll send over the contract, and then let’s reconnect on Friday. Sound fair?

As a sales rep, it’s your job to guide the prospect through the sales process. Always make sure they know what the next step is.

Sales in the News 🗞️ 

Remote Sales Jobs 💼 

Checking in on LinkedIn

Who’s fault is it? 🤔 

Sales Meme of the Day

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