I had a conversation recently where I espoused my belief that sales is a learned skill and almost anyone can learn it. Just like being a dentist, a doctor or lawyer—I think the skills involved in being a successful salesperson are learned ones. However, I don’t believe they can be learned by everyone. Just like some people aren’t good at math or science others don’t possess the personality and basic traits it takes to be successful in selling.
I consider myself a fairly bright guy, but I’m not going to be a chemist. It’s just not going to happen.
In this discussion I pointed out three essential elements every salesperson needs:
- Sales Skills
- Product Knowledge
- Positive Attitude
Here’s the issue: you only have to bring one of those to the table; the positive attitude. I can’t help you there.
You either have that or you don’t. Everything else can be taught.
By that I mean if I have someone with the right attitude I can teach them Sales Skills and Product Knowledge. Ideally when looking to fill a sales position an employer will understand they are looking for two-out-of-three.
Give me attitude and product knowledge and I can teach them to sell. Or, if they have sales skills and the right attitude I can teach them product knowledge.
I’ll even take someone with only the attitude as long as they are willing to learn and have a burning desire to succeed.
On the other hand, I don’t care how great your sales skills are and if you know your product backwards and forwards. If your attitude is horrible and you’re not motivated—you’ll never make it as a professional salesperson.
If you’re a sales manager remember that the next time you’re looking to fill a position. Two-out-of-three. That’s all you really need.
But, make sure it’s the right two.