Why you don’t need talent for Sales

When I started, I got told I couldn’t be in Sales. I couldn’t network; therefore, I’d be a lousy salesperson. 

Have they told you before you couldn’t do a job because you lacked the talent? Like becoming a Salesperson? Or a programmer?

“You can’t become X because you don’t know how to network, and you’re not good at math.” That’s what they told me. And it’s complete nonsense.

People think you need to have “it,” a talent. 

Before I got into Sales, I was a software developer. They tell similar stories to software developers. “No, you won’t be successful because you suck at Math.” I was never good at math, yet I became quite good at writing software.

Both professions share something. You don’t need to have the unique talent to become successful. Writing Code and selling something are both skills you build over time through training.

In Software development, you learn about statements, variables, functions and putting all of it together into a working program. Practice it often enough, and whatever problem you work on, you’ll be able to solve it. 

Sales works the same way. You learn about process, handling objections, negotiating, asking the right questions, and eventually, you’ll close deals. 

If you’re a software developer reading this, you will most likely think, “But it’s not enough to just learn foundations. There’s OOP, Functional Programming, …”. That’s right. Learning never stops in Software Development. Same for Sales.

There are so many different approaches to sell something to somebody; everything keeps evolving. 

I had an eye-opening moment in early 2019. I was attending a sales seminar in Northern Germany. During two days, we learned a lot of useful things. Eventually, we came to the topic of handling objections. 

The trainer asked, “Who here has trouble with handling objections? Raise your hand, and we’ll practice this on stage.”

A few people raised their hands, and he picked a young man, working as a photographer. Firstly, he asked the young man, “What are some common objections you hear every day?” and wrote them on a whiteboard. “Ok, then, let’s find a good answer for each of them.” and again wrote down all answers.

Next, they enacted in a role play. The trainer played the customer, mentioning one objection after another. The photographer replied with his canned response, trying to steer the conversation towards a close. 

Of course, the photographer would have to put in some more effort to practice a satisfactory reply. Yet, he learned to handle objections within 15 minutes.

I was amazed. Could that be so easy? Later, the trainer did a similar role-play with another audience member to practice closing deals on stage. Within 15 minutes, the attendee could close customers. Amazing. 

I took lots of notes and started practicing once I was back at the hotel. I learned new techniques, adopted a new mindset, yet the most crucial aspect was this:

If a small business owner can learn how to handle objections and close deals on stage within 15-20 minutes, I can learn this. 

Whenever now prospects object with “It’s too expensive” or “I need to think about this,” I know what to do. I built the confidence to handle these situations. 

Therefore, you don’t need talent. You need the right techniques and persistence to learn. 

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