There have been about 2,000 studies carried out over the past 30 years in almost every industry to see whether the top sales people are born, i.e. they have an innate personality type that makes them ideal for sales, or made, i.e. they have excellent product knowledge, trained in active listening and have great processes supporting them.
A meta-analysis of these studies came to the conclusion that the reality is that it’s about 50/50 between a born salesperson and one who’s learned their trade.
There’s an element of variation according to industry. In really technical industries, such as petroleum engineering, it’s more like 40% born and 60% made, while in businesses that rely on relationships, such as the fashion industry, it’s more like 60% born and 40% made.
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