Author Profile Picture

Philip Piletic

Blogger, writer and editor

Read more from Philip Piletic

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Is a great salesperson born or self-made?


Companies love great salespeople! And it’s not just those in the management who appreciate their particular charisma; clients give into it as well. They know that a persuasive conversation translates to wallet operations – still, they willingly play the game.

The Perfect Mix

Size and scope are irrelevant; salespeople typically serve as the main connection line between companies and the outside world - the sharper their skills, the wider their reach. A good salesperson is the ideal combination of natural traits and input from external sources, such as training and constant learning for example.

Let’s paint the whole picture though: if you are now, or have ever been in the past, a salesperson, chances are you’ve been the cockiest person in the room at least once. Nothing new you could learn, no scenario you couldn’t overcome - right? Wrong.

Whether you like it or not, all jobs and trades are shaped by and evolve with the world they function in. People become more sophisticated, they change preferences and turn into someone just a little bit different than they were yesterday. To stay top-dog, a salesperson has to understand and relate to all consumers’ personas they interact with. Intuition and ‘reading-the-room’ skills can give you a head start, it’s true but, sustained results require education, energy and commitment.

Chimera Chasing

Finding the best equipped salesmen is obviously every company’s dream. But the (human) truth is ‘best-match’ salespeople can’t be good at selling everything to everyone - this statement should be posted on the dashboard of every HR department.

Recruiters rarely have the hands-on experience and/or process understanding to ensure an objective short-list of potential employees. Many times candidates are selected according to a ‘gut feeling’ and a satisfactory ‘must-have’ percentage of the job requirements.

There are nonetheless situations when specific experience should carry the most weight in the recruitment process and adding to the sales department’s headcount is just such an example. Savvy in selling snickers is quite irrelevant when heavy machineries are the object of attention and selling industrial cranes isn’t the same as selling office supplies.

Though some skills are transferable, long term experience is definitely decisive. Remember: hiring the right salespeople is instrumental to increasing profits. Also remember: salespeople are not magicians (despite the fact they will always try to persuade you otherwise).

If the company doesn’t have a sound vision, a strong operational department and solid marketing plan, proficient salespeople will make little difference. So make sure your business planning muscles are constantly working and your resources are invested in strategically wise directions.

Will-Power Fuel

Being (or not being) gifted with selling skills is one part of the package, will power is another important one and it has a lot to do with inner motivation. Maybe it’s all about the rush of winning arguments, or chasing profits or finding out how far you can push limits - it matters little per se. What really matters here is the drive, the personal fuel that keeps salespeople going even if odds are against them.

It has been frequently said that type A personalities make great salespeople as they are ambitious, competitive, relentless and somewhat aggressive. Truth be told, alpha-salespeople tend to be self-centric individuals; they love to be the centre of the attention and are not easily scared by unfamiliar situations. Tough skin and a sturdy optimism source are also common place with top (sales) performers.  

A company that wants to attract such professionals must know that they’re not easily persuaded and are always seeking challenges and training. Since that’s the case, be prepared to revise your salary budgets, on-the-job qualifications while making sure you set clear, quantifiable business growth objectives in return.

The ‘Certain Something’ Factor

Most salespeople enter this field in their 20's, which means they’ve had little time (a decade or so) to develop their personality and ‘attitude’ for sales. That requires intent and a deliberate effort which makes it a poor candidate for "born" instincts - it’s more likely a cultivated ability.

Some may enter selling jobs with an already developed frame of mind; others are still working on defining it - they are the so called ’self-made’ salespeople.

It’s certainly easier to label everything and everyone but that doesn’t mean we’re right to do so. It takes time to acquire and master that ‘certain something’ – be sure you’ve got it figured out when you:

  • want to see returns for every significant action,
  • are driven to beat out the competition,
  • want to be paid based on performance,
  • use resources wisely,
  • can boast consecutive Mr./Mrs. ‘Practical’ titles.


Successful ‘born’ or ‘self-made’ salespeople alike base their (re)actions and plans on a trustworthy method of storing and retrieving verbal, nonverbal, factual and intuitive patterns that occur during sales cycles. This is how they deliver results that contribute to and constantly consolidate business returns and footprint.

Author Profile Picture
Philip Piletic

Blogger, writer and editor

Read more from Philip Piletic

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!