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The” chicken or egg” question in sales is “Are salespeople born or made?” How you answer this question could have a profound impact on your future – and before you read on, think about your answer.

Sales takes a certain charisma, right? Champion salespeople are good at developing and nurturing relationships, they are good communicators, extroverted, and have a certain flair. Who can’t think of that person that could “sell ice to an Eskimo?” Fun, friendly and blessed with The Gift. Rainmakers from the womb.

We tend to attribute the skills of these “natural salespeople” to genetics or a gift from the heavens. Either you have a knack for sales, or you don’t.

What’s your answer? Born or Made?

I believe with every fiber in my being that salespeople are NOT born. I’ve never heard of a mother holding her newborn in her arms, saying, Isn’t she so beautiful! How wonderful! She is going to grow and be a salesperson! She’ll make cold calls, deal with rejection, and wear great outfits!


Salespeople are made.

If they are made, then what’s the recipe?

It starts with determining your mindset. Do you have a fixed-mindset or a growth-mindset?

A fixed mindset is a belief that intelligence around a certain area is static. You know what you know and that’s good enough. Often, it’s coupled with being concerned with “looking smart” or “looking competent” and it leads to:

  • Avoiding challenges and living in a comfort zone 
  • Giving up on things too easily
  • Fear of investing in yourself and your growth 
  • See extra effort as a waste of time or futile 
  • Sensitive to feedback and often consider it criticism; defensive 
  • Feel envious and threatened by the success of others

Before you dismiss this list and move on, take a hard look. Be brutally honest with yourself. Pretending that everything is “fine” is not going to help you get where you want to go in sales.

My estimation is that most salespeople have a fixed mindset. Not because they don’t want to be successful. Not because they don’t work hard. They have a fixed mindset because they aren’t sure what to do, how to grow, or how to get on the road to their ultimate success.

It follows a typical pattern. We learn rapidly during the first few years of our career, and then we hit a plateau. We have a certain level of competence. We’re “fine.” We fail to get better over time. In fact, we often experience a degradation of skills as the years go by.

In order to stave off our natural tendency to plateau and even decline, we must strive to have a growth mindset.

A person with a growth-mindset believes that intelligence and competencies can be developed. They may not be good at the technical aspects of a new product line – YET. They aren’t good at cold calling – YET. They have a desire to learn. It leads to:

  • Embracing challenges
  • Being persistent in the face of setbacks 
  • Is willing to invest in themselves 
  • Seeing effort as being the path to mastery 
  • Learns from failures and criticism; seeks feedback 
  • Finds lessons and inspiration in the success of others

Be honest. How do you stack up? Here are some questions to consider as you determine where your mindset is today.

In my role as a sales trainer and consultant, I sometimes run into professionals who are stuck. Often, they even know why they are stuck. They need to get better at prospecting for new business. They realize they don’t have a sales process and they are “winging it.” They look around and see competitors who aren’t as good as they are - yet they seem to be thriving.

Yet, they are afraid to take the first step. They are nervous about investing money in themselves and/or their team. They wonder if it will really make a difference. All normal. The path to greatness? No. But normal? Yes.

I challenge you to examine your mindset. Is that what could be holding you back and keeping from having the type of business you know you deserve? 

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