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Busting the myth – Salespeople are born, not made

There is plethora of sales myths circulating in the industry, making it difficult for salespeople to map out the perfect sales strategy. 

Majority of misconceptions arise from word of mouth and rumors on social media platforms. Therefore, I am here for busting the myths on sales, so every salesperson can sell with confidence! 

If you’re new to selling, these sales myths may lead you to a tough path. 

I’m sure that you’re wondering, “Do I really need to pay heed to such sales myths?” Well, if you want to reach your goals and become the best salesperson, you need to be aware of every myth about your industry. 

And in this article, we’re busting the myths with the help of some excellent sales experts! 

Table of content

  1. Daniel Meck
  2. Nathan Hughes
  3. Mark Daoust 
  4. Farzad Rashidi
  5. Grant Aldrich 
  6. Jacob Dayan 
  7. Ken Olling  
  8. Jose Sanchez 
  9. Stacey Kane  
  10. Jennifer Harder 
  11. Rosanna Gill
  12. Wendy Weiss
  13. Ifty Nasir
  14. Tony Martins
  15. Xena Kash
  16. Ryan Stewart
  17. Sai Blackbyrn
  18. Kathryn McDavid
  19. John Hill
  20. Aaron Agius
  21. Solomon Timothy
  22. Jeffrey Zhou
  23. Nik Sharma
  24. Jerry Han
  25. James Walsh

Busting the myth – Salespeople are born, not made

1. Daniel Meck

From Moosend, Head of Sales 

I would actually argue that Salespeople are born, because literally everyone in the world is in sales in some shape or form.  

When you were a child, on at least one occasion, you probably cried because you wanted some sweets from your parents. The deal on the table is clear: I’ll stop crying if you give me a treat.  

That’s sales in its most raw form, and we are all born with that skill hardwired into our DNA. 

It would be most accurate to say that while everyone is born a salesperson, the diamonds that shine the brightest are the ones that take the time to learn how to polish themselves the best. 

2. Nathan Hughes

From Diggity Marketing, Marketing director 

It’s a complete myth and it can negatively affect a salesperson’s career as well if they think that they were not born with the qualities of a salesperson. 

Salespeople are made, just like in any other profession. It takes a lot of practice and one needs to harbor strong persuasive skills. In fact, if someone thinks that they were “born to sell”, they might never improve their skills in their career. 

Selling definitely comes with a lot of rejection and a salesperson needs to have thick skin to handle it well. 

3. Mark Daoust

From QuietLight, CEO 

I disagree with the idea that salespeople are born, not made.  

The keys to a successful career in sales are confidence, interpersonal skills and an extensive knowledge of the product or service you are trying to sell

Skills such as confidence and interpersonal skills come more naturally to some people then they do to others and some people have an easier time learning the ins and outs of a product.  

However, that does not mean that a dedicated salesperson cannot develop these important skills with hard work and patience. In fact, salespeople who rely solely on their natural abilities without putting in the time to further develop these skills will often do worse in the long run than a salesperson who started out without these skills and had to develop them.  

In conclusion, I think a more accurate expression would be “Good salespeople CAN be born, but great salespeople are MADE.”

4. Farzad Rashidi  

From Respona, Co-Founder 

Certainly not true. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that even the best salespeople are nurtured and trained to cultivate their skills. 

Salesmanship isn’t learned just from sitting in front of a computer screen for endless hours on end. We know this because research shows that practicing opportunity identification through counseling, mentoring, coaching, or training sessions with experienced professionals creates an increase in performance right away (within minutes). 

This suggests that sales skills can be learned if we know the strategies and techniques for how to do it properly. In other words, there’s nothing about “being born with it.” 

Although, I can see why this myth emerged. 

Some people are good at understanding and empathizing with other humans in the way that salespeople need to do.

5. Grant Aldrich

From OnlineDegree, CEO 

Great salespeople are in touch with themselves. They understand how to not only play to their strengths and avoid exposing their weaknesses, but they also do so in a real-time dialogue with other people. Knowing yourself and the other party is tricky work, but they’ve worked at it so adeptly as a matter of self-improvement that it seems like they’re a natural.  

That’s why we say they’re born, not made, but even the best of the best had to work at it to get where they are. 

6. Jacob Dayan

From Communitytax, CEO 

I believe that the saying salespeople are born, not made is a myth and not something to live by. I understand how there are people born with a personality that fits sales or business, but at the same time, there are many people who can learn sales skills and be at the top.  

What makes a salesperson successful are their skills of confidence, listening, multi-tasking, and thinking outside of the box.  

Therefore, it is important to understand that a salesperson is never born, they are made through years of experience, resilience, and challenges. 

7. Ken Olling

From Meld, Co-founder and Chairman 

Made. It’s that simple. 

Great businesspeople, scholars, sportsmen, and “everything else under the sun” are all thousands of successful people. A widespread notion exists in society that genetics is overvalued to an astonishing degree. I believe it derives in part from a fascination with those who are “genetic freaks. 

“Everyone wants to be the kid who aced all of his tests without studying or who can dunk a basketball at the age of 13 without ever having practiced. That earns you considerably more respect and admiration from your classmates than the youngster who studies nonstop for his grades or has been training on his vertical leap since he was eight years old. But why is it the case? 

It also allows people to explain their own poorer performance by saying, “Well, obviously, I’m not like John!” He possesses [insert genetic advantage here].” It’s a defense mechanism that humans have developed to keep them from being unhappy or anxious when they don’t meet their expectations. It is a self-contained belief that has been profoundly ingrained in the human brain from childhood. 

8. Jose Sanchez

From ShipBots, Business development representative 

Meeting goals is of course a requirement but the sales made have to also be quality. This comes from learning your client, and understanding people in general. Determining who your customer base is and what they see value in. People typically aren’t born with these skills, sure some people are naturally gifted, but as long as you are willing to learn and adapt with your industry, you can become a great salesperson. 

It is also important to understand that a quality sale pays off more in the long run than many less qualified sales. A top performer may look like they are crushing their quotas, but did their clients stick around? Who is actually creating the steady revenue for the business? Quality sales come from people who have an exceptional grasp of what they are offering. This comes with experience not by simply having a silver tongue. 

9. Stacey Kane 

 From Easy Merchant, Business Development Lead 

I disagree with the assertion that salespeople are born rather than made. It is not uncommon for outgoing and generally friendly people to be told that they should work in sales since it is often assumed that possessing such traits is all that is required to be a successful salesperson.  

However, there is more to the sales process than simply talking to people. It takes discipline, practice, and patience to be a successful salesperson.  

Furthermore, sales frequently involve a great deal of rejection. Some people who are “born to sell” struggle to grasp this hurdle, and they cannot handle the rejection. 

A good salesperson, however, learns from rejections and pushes forward with a different outlook. The more times a successful salesperson encounters rejection, the more skilled they grow in dealing with it, transforming them into better versions of their former selves. 

10. Jennifer Harder

From Jennifer Harder Mortgage Brokers, Founder & CEO 

It’s a beautiful blend of both for me. Some people are born with the innate selling instincts. However, becoming excellent in any field, particularly sales, is a self-made achievement. 

The majority of outstanding salespeople have natural abilities. They are the most gregarious, action-oriented, and people-oriented, in my opinion. Working in sales necessitates being in front of everyone all of the time. 

Unwavering self-confidence is a personality attribute shared by outstanding sellers. They have the kind of presence that can make the place their own once they’re inside. And it’s no surprise that the majority of them have always been intelligent and self-assured. 

Consider it this way: It would be pointless to have a training department if being a great seller is entirely inborn. It will also be simple to hire and retain salespeople. Because they will fit right in with your team or company from the start. 

11. Rosanna Gill

From Breaking Labels Podcast 

To say salespeople are born, not made, is to deny the inherent human ability to build resilience and shift one’s mindset. Resilience is built through community and self-awareness. Show me a mediocre salesperson and I’ll show you someone with a low-value sense of self and/or a lack of belief in what they’re selling. 

Closing skills can be taught and speaking skills can be improved. But if you do not address the core beliefs of the salesperson about their value and worthiness, or lack thereof, all the Monday motivation meetings are for naught. You’re trying to shift into high gear while you still have the parking brake on.  

12. Wendy Weiss

From Cold Calling Results, Sales Coach 

As The Queen of Cold Calling®, I have been training rockstar salespeople for over 25 years. 

The myth of the “Born Salesperson” does an enormous disservice to salespeople and to the businesses that hire them. 

Anna Pavlova, the great Russian ballerina who danced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, said it best: “No one can arrive from being talented alone, work transforms talent into genius.” 

Salespeople need to do what all ballet dancers learn to do and what any high achieving person does. Learn the art of selling and science of persuasion. 

13. Ifty Nasir 

From Vestd, Founder & CEO 

My take on it is really 50/50.  

Some people are undeniably born salespeople who are naturally attuned to salesmanship. Personally, I love helping people and chatting to people (which is 90% of the sales process) so for me, that’s very much my nature and I’ve been that way my whole life. 

Having said that, other people can cultivate their sales skills. One Of the most powerful things to remember is that you are helping people, not trying to hoodwink them. Once you realize that, you’ll forget about car salesman methods and scripts (everybody should avoid those). Literally nobody likes those aspects of the sales trade, and people that try to build a career using those methods are usually the ones to stumble. 

14. Tony Martins

From Profitable Venture, Founder 

While it is true that some sales skills are somewhat innate, many of them can be taught and trained. 

Research published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that there are seven traits of highly effective salespeople. These traits cover things like political acumen, language proficiency, and pattern recognition. 

People who began working as salespeople with these traits in place were more than twice as likely to outperform those who tried to learn them on the job. What’s more, people who entered the workforce without these skills had a 40% chance of being forced out owing to poor performance. 

This suggests that there is some truth to the idea that salespeople are born and not made. I would argue, however, that these skills are not as innate as people are led to believe.  

15. Xena Kash

From NOWPayments, CEO 

Some people are “born” salespeople, some learn this art (it’s art alright) the hard way. However, I am sure, talent alone without acquired skills, knowledge, connections and experience in general is not enough. 

Being able to adapt is something you are born with, but being able to make other people adapt is something you learn along the way. In my industry, we are constantly dealing with the need to let merchants see the benefits of crypto payments – so in a way, we are teaching people how to adapt to the tech innovations and new developments.  

I would like to finish with a quote from one of the greatest salespeople ever, Michael Scott, “Make friends first, make sales second, make love third. In no particular order.” 

16. Ryan Stewart

From Webris, Marketing Entrepreneur 

Normally, anyone with an outgoing and extrovert personality is recommended for sales. These people have the innate ability to talk to anyone about anything no matter where they are. But does this mean that only they are fit for sales? 

Sales is just like a professional sport. Having natural talent obviously helps. But hard work and enough practice can also get you the same results.  

Sales is an inherently tough job, and people born with the talent for it can also fall prey. Rejection is more common than people think it is, and not everybody has the knack to continue after failing to close deals consecutively. To sum it all up, I do not believe that a sales person is born, not made. 

17. Sai Blackbyrn

From Coach Foundation, CEO 

As a sales expert with 12 years’ experience in the industry, I do not agree with the claim that salespeople are born, not made. 

I strongly believe that salespeople are made. No one is born with the ability to sell. Yes, some people seem to be naturally talented at selling. It does not mean they were born good sellers. They simply developed personalities and traits as they grew up that are a good fit for a career in sales. 

18. Kathryn McDavid

From Editor’s Pick, CEO 

When you think of salespeople, often adjectives like “confident”, “charming”, and even “manipulative” may enter one’s mind. Although those natural personality qualities may make it easier to bounce back from the inevitable rejection you face in sales, that doesn’t necessarily make a great sales person. 

Some of the best sales people I have known have not been the natural born leaders or the loudest in the room, they are the ones that learned tactics that worked. Sales isn’t about convincing a buyer that your product is the absolute best on earth, it is about uncovering the buyer’s needs and applying your products to them. 

19. John Hill

From Adapted Growth, CEO 

Of all the sales myths out there, and there are many, “salespeople are born, not made” is one of the worst and most damaging. Managers use it to dismiss green salespeople who don’t have enough training and experience. And some salespeople use it as an excuse for why they’re not performing at the level they are expected to.  

Furthermore, it scares off potentially great salespeople. If you feel like you don’t have the “sales gene,” you’re always going to shy away from that aspect of your role within a company. 

Selling should be about communication, not manipulation or influence. With enough practice, knowledge, and self-awareness, anybody can discover how to communicate effectively. Even if you’re an introverted, task-driven person (such as myself), you can create processes and develop systems that lead to fantastic and lucrative sales conversations.  

20. Aaron Agius

From Louder Online, Co-Founder 

One of the biggest myths about salespeople is that they’re always extroverted and outgoing. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and I know plenty of salespeople who are introverted and. It’s also not a disadvantage to be an introverted salesperson as you have a completely different set of values that you bring to the table.  

Introverted salespeople can also thrive and excel at their job. The stereotype of a pushy salesperson works in their favor, and customers are also very appreciative of the different approaches to sales. In some cases, they may have to experiment and come up with a different approach that works for them, but once they’re locked in the results are always there. 

21. Solomon Timothy

From Clickx, Co-founder 

In my years of handling a sales team, I believe that sales acumen is highly teachable. An inclination to learn about shaping consumer behavior, mindset, and motivations is an excellent foundation to learn sales. Preeminence in any skill results from dedicated effort and focus on development through learning experiences.  

A learning-motivated individual is as effective as an innately charismatic one. This is because skills can be learned and be improved over time, especially when you have the right environment, directives, tools, and resources. Thus, it also means that any innate skills without support and provision can be wasted without proper guidance. 

22. Jeffrey Zhou

From Fig Loans, CEO 

I feel that this myth about salespeople is misleading, and can discourage potentially great salespeople from working in the industry because they don’t fit the charismatic, smooth stereotype we associate with success in sales. 

While it is true that some people seem to be born with more charisma or the ability to persuade those around them, the core tenet of what makes a good salesperson is consistency. 

Consistently cold-calling, networking and doing the daily grind will be much more successful in the long term than relying on charm and motivation you are born with. 

23. Nik Sharma

From Sharma Brands, CEO 

I believe that you can learn anything, including sales. 

Proper training and work ethic can overcome a lack of knowledge, and I believe in hard work over born “talent.” I wasn’t naturally born knowing how to cost-effectively drive sales for brand partners–I learned how to do so and listened to experts in the field before diving in. 

24. Jerry Han

From Prize Rebel, CMO 

Because I manage both the sales and marketing team, most of the sales people I’ve come across that are exceptional are naturally gifted. However, that doesn’t mean that the skills behind a great sales person cannot be acquired.  

In order to be great at sales, a salesperson must have the following skills:  

  • The ability to listen  
  • Storytelling abilities  
  • Create value  
  • Customize and personalize pitches  
  • Empathy  
  • Drive  
  • Networking abilities  
  • problem solving skills 

These traits help a person not only listen and identify the key to resonating with a client, but also how to grab their attention, make them feel the need for your product/service.   

While some of these skills come naturally, most of them can be learnt and acquired through practice and experience.

25. James Walsh

From JamesWalshOfficial, Entrepreneur 

As a sales trainer who has helped many individuals and companies across the US succeed, I do not agree with the notion that “salespeople are born, not made.” After all, as a sales trainer, my job is to help “make” salespeople become better at their jobs.  

The key to becoming a top-level salesperson is to admit your weaknesses. Write all of them down and organize your list from your most important weakness that you’d like to improve to your lead important weakness. 

Do not expect to generate tons of consistent sales after a few days. But if you consistently dedicate your time both inside and outside of work to improving your abilities. You’ll have a great shot at becoming a top-tier salesperson who makes big-time money. 

Final thoughts

Yes, it’s true that you certainly need a strong set of skills to become a successful salesperson. No one is born with skills, we learn, adapt and develop It. 

So, the myth “Salespeople are born, not made,” doesn’t sit right with us. You can achieve anything if you are determined if you put efforts into it. 

Jainy Patel

Being an ardent reader and content editor, Jainy draws inspiration from every situation and story. She spends her time developing creative content to invoke the reader's interest. An ambivert with an interest in art, when she's not writing, you'll find her reading or occupied in a creative project.

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