There is a real argument amongst salespeople that sales cannot be taught and that it is a natural skill that cannot be taught. People that are good at sales have always been good at sales and always will be. There are a number of salespeople that perpetuate this myth and claim that there is a knack of making sales that cannot be grasped by many people. They claim that it is some kind of dark art for which only a select few have the skills to do well at it. This is of course ridiculous.

This myth like many myths does have a link to reality but nevertheless it is very easy to teach skills that can be transferred to any kinds of sales and these skills can be taught to anyone. So what is it that makes a salesperson good at what they do and can it be taught to anyone?

It is said that 'sales are contingent on the attitude of the salesman not the attitude of the prospect' (W.Clement Stone). The attitude of the sales person is probably the single most important aspect that leads to success. At best it can be a really positive force in making a sale. If the sales person is genuinely enthusiastic about the product that they are selling then the customer will respond well. If they can see passion in the eyes of the salesperson they are far more likely to buy. Statistics seem to back this theory up with 75 percent of purchases made as a result of a gut feeling as opposed to being logical or rational.

The attitude depends on someone's passion for what they are selling. As a result anyone can be a great sales person as long as they are selling something that they are passionate about. 

Once the salesperson has demonstrated a great attitude and reeled the prospect in they need to be well equipped with in depth knowledge about the product or service that they are selling. It is vitally important that the salesperson can answer the questions that the prospects ask and volunteer the most important bits of information with ease. The skill is to impart this knowledge without pressing the prospect too hard and to do so by avoiding jargon.

It has to be said that sales people are not renowned for demonstrating integrity but nevertheless it is an important part of the job and those that can deliver on the promises that they make will invariably be more successful than those that let their prospects down. 

There are well publicised stories of savage door to door sales people that bully old age pensioners into parting with their well earned pensions for something that they don't need. These types of sales people will not only die a slow and painful death and be condemned to hell they will also get found out and it will inevitably affect their sales. People that buy products usually respond well to honesty from their salesperson and even if the salesperson highlights the flaws in the product they will still make a sale if it is done well.

There is a common misconception that salespeople can't be trained and that it is a skill that is purely natural. Although there is definitely a knack for sales it has to be noted that there are plenty of techniques that can be taught to anyone regardless of their natural aptitude for sales. Anyone can be taught to utilise these techniques and improve the level of sales that they make. When these skills are mixed with the right attitude and knowledge anyone will become a master salesperson.


Shaun Parker


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