Are good sales people born or made? Can sales skills be learned or are they innate? Is there even such a thing as a “natural salesperson”?
As with so many things, you will get different answers to these questions depending on who you ask. Some people are convinced that you cannot teach sales skills to a person who does not have a natural talent for sales. Others will argue the reverse of this, saying that anyone can learn to sell.
My own view is that both sides of the argument are valid. While it is certainly true that some people are more gifted with innate sales skills than others, that does not mean that the rest of the population is totally devoid of the ability to learn some of those skills. There are many individuals who would not class themselves as natural salespeople who can still learn a great deal from the right kind of sales coaching.
This is particularly true when it comes to the issue of cold calling. You will frequently hear people say that cold calling only works for people who have “natural charm” or “the gift of the gab”. Even more common is the view that cold calling doesn’t work at all!
Anyone with at least one functioning ear and a mouth can learn not only how to cold call but how to do it well.
The two key aspects to cold calling are 1) make your call relevant to the person you are calling and 2) know how to introduce yourself in a such a way that they think “this is a call I want to take” rather than “this is a caller I want to get rid of”. Good sales coaching can teach you how to do that consistently and effectively, regardless of how naturally you feel it comes to you.
And to those who say that cold-calling doesn’t work at all, I ask this. Do you mean that introducing yourself doesn’t work? Or that exchanging ideas doesn’t work? Or simply that talking doesn’t work?
Regardless of how much of a natural salesperson you feel yourself to be, you can improve your results with some good sales coaching and if you cold call effectively on a regular basis. Don’t let your competitors who DO cold call, steal those opportunities away from you!
Mike O’Hara is co-founder and producer of The Cold Calling Podcast, an audio podcast specializing in b2b sales prospecting. He also offers one-on-one sales coaching to sales professionals