Can Sales Be Taught?
Running a sales and marketing recruiting firm, I am consistently interacting with hiring clients looking for sales personnel, as well as dealing with sales job seekers of all levels in conjunction with training my own team on the best business development and marketing practices.
Even though we have multiple divisions in my company – one which is geared more towards selling while one is for the more analytical personality – everyone is taught sales and marketing within the organization.
After doing so for 5+ years, I have come to the conclusion that sales and marketing can be taught to an extent by an outside party (outside party being anyone other than the individual learning), or can definitely be self-taught, but still many of the skills necessary for sales or marketing success are given to us at birth and during the early formation of our personalities, thus making harder for those not given the aforementioned gift to catch up.
Why Can Sales Not Be Fully Taught?
Nobody other than the aspiring business development representative can fully teach another person sales simply because one of the biggest barriers to sales success is coming out of one’s skin – something only one can do for oneself.
Conversely, for anyone to want to learn something, there must be some sort of internal motivator and, even if sales could be fully taught, if the teacher does not have a receptive student, they can only go so far.
How Can Sales Be Partially Taught?
When teaching someone business development tactics, the teacher must not focus on things such as memorizing a scripted pitch. Rather, the teacher should focus on the sales representative learning the business, concerns and motivators of the target market.
Rebuttals will always remain unheard if the target customer does not respect the business acumen of the sales representative and they will not give heed to what the sales representative says unless the sales representative knows what he or she is saying.
I have found that the best way to train sales representatives is with patience, formal sales training that is organized as well as collaborative, and with a training program that not only allows mistakes, but encourages them as well.
In The End
Train as you must, if the business development professional is not eager to learn sales and does not have his or her heart in it, there is only so much magic one can work.