The Myth of the Natural Salesperson

It’s sad, but true, that many people think they can’t do well in sales because of The Myth of the Natural Salesperson. This common fallacy is a destructive idea that I’d like to eliminate from your mind right now.

Having trained more than five million salespeople on five continents, I’ve met a lot of strong individuals who are on the fast track. I’ve met with large numbers who haven’t put their foot on the lowest rung of their potential yet. And sadly, many of these people never will climb very high on their potential’s ladder because they are firm believers in the myth of the natural-born sales wonder.

The myth cuts two ways.

  1. A few believe they’re naturals. That’s great for confidence, but it’s often the source of raging overconfidence. When this overconfidence persuades people that they don’t have to bother learning to be competent like ordinary mortals, they trap themselves far below their potential.
  2. Many more people believe they’re not naturals, think it’s hopeless to work at becoming competent–and trap themselves far below their potential. “I’m just not a salesperson by nature. Wasn’t born with the golden touch like Joe Whizzbeau over there. If I’d been born with his wit, charisma, and bear-hug personality, I could tear ‘em up, too. But I wasn’t, so I’m never going to make it big in sales.”

Don’t be too quick to say you’re free of this myth. I hear it far too often from my seminar audiences to take it lightly. In fact, I’m convinced that most salespeople who operate far below their potential suffer from it.

Let’s attack this dangerous idea now and get rid of it.

There never has been a great salesperson who was born great. Imagine a woman in the delivery room. Her newly born infant is saying, “Make yourselves comfortable, folks, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.” Pretty silly, isn’t it? The little feller has a long way to go before he can even start learning how to walk, talk, and operate without diapers. He’s got a lot to learn, and if he’s going to be a great salesperson, he’s got it all to learn.

Psychologists still argue whether it’s instinct or learning that causes us to jump at a sudden loud noise, but they agree that everything about selling is learned. So stop excusing yourself from the hard work of learning how to be competent in your sales career. It doesn’t matter whether you think you’re a wonder or a non-wonder; you still have to pay the learning “price.”

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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