Ask any kid between the ages of 6 and 10 what they want to be when they grow up and you will probably hear things like, fireman, professional athlete, or even a teacher. Others that are more ambitious might mention things like astronaut, doctor, or even the President.
Chances are, you probably will never hear a kid mention salesperson. In reality, no one really aspires to be a sale person when they are going up. In most cases it becomes a career by default.
So why are some sales people superstars, while others in the same situation, basically selling the same stuff, to the same customers, not as successful? Given the same sales tools, same level of education, and motivation, why do some salespeople succeed where others fail?
Is their success a result of working harder or smarter? Are they just “luckier” than their counterparts?
If you ask an extremely successful salesperson, “What makes you different from the average sales rep?” you will probably get a pretty vague answer, if any answer at all. Why? Because, the real answer is that most successful salespeople are simply doing what comes naturally.
We are all born with certain innate abilities, attributes, qualities and traits. Natural instincts that are encoded into each of us via our genetic make up. Your Distinct and Natural Abilities (DNA) determines your structure, function and behavior. It is physically what we are and genetically who we are. It also determines who we can become.
I vividly remember a situation when I was in 5th grade. I got in trouble in school for being too “social” in class. My dad was called in for a meeting with my teacher and the principal to discuss my behavior. Like most 10-year-old boys in that situation, I was in fear for my life. I knew my dad was going to be a little more than mad and this was probably the end of me. But instead of being mad, he smiled and told me that it was OK, it was just part of who I was. He said I just have Sales DNA.
Reflecting back on my father’s comment, I can’t help but wonder, is there such a thing as Sales DNA? Is there a genetic code for successful sales people? Is sales ability natural or learned? While it’s a topic that has been debated for years (and will be debated for years to come), my thoughts, it’s both.
Sales people are both born and made. Yes there are underlying traits in every good sales person. Certain “molecules” for success, natural attributes like outgoing, articulate, optimistic, assertive, and competiveness. But selling is a process that also requires learning, developing, and practicing specific skills. Understanding complex business issues, moving prospects through the buying process, and gaining commitment are necessary skills that are learned and developed over time.
When asked about his whether success is natural or learned, Hall-a-fame basketball player Larry Bird said it best, “a winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
In other words, you may have Sales DNA, (aka a God given talent) but, and it’s a big but, you have to have the will, the determination and desire to be successful. You have to commit to training and education, and above all else, you have to work your tail off!
Sales DNA . . . Is it in you?