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Nature, Nuture, Strategy & Sales Success

March 26, 2018
By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

Nature or nurture? This long-standing debate is about whether, and to what extent, human behavior is influenced by genetics as opposed to life experiences.

The nature vs. nurture discussion is common in child-rearing conversations. It has also been applied in the business world in efforts to understand what makes for a great sales person.

It would seem that confidence is an important ingredient to sales success. Charisma and a good sense of humor can also help. So, hiring for these traits – and, of course, a great sales track record – is a no-brainer.

But, if being a great salesperson were all about genetics, there wouldn’t be a huge market for sales success books, courses, and speeches.

A great salesperson (or, really, any salesperson for that matter) also should understand what they’re selling. And, because sales is a tough business, they need motivation to help keep them going even in the face of rejection.

“Different products call for different approaches,” according to strategy guru Tony Robbins. “Even if a potential sales partner or rep has a winning track record, you still need to train them in the art of selling your products and services effectively. Product orientation, product messaging and collaborative strategizing are all critical to getting you and your channels on the same page.”

Other sources note the importance of continuous coaching and feedback. They suggest using a coaching framework to reinforce company strategy and culture. They say that doing coaching and training in small doses is ideal to avoid fatigue and promote retention. And they emphasize the importance of having good coaching managers, saying that without them coaching can actually result in negative effects.

Staying positive was the key theme of Zig Ziglar, a celebrated sales person and motivational speaker. He talked a lot about gratitude, having good habits, and keeping on the sunny side of life.

 “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude,” said Ziglar.

The late, great Ziglar also famously said: “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Former GE leader, Jack Welch, agreed. “You want to get into people’s skin and excite them about where you’re going.”

Welch shared strategy with employees, and helped them understand how they figure into that strategy. “You can’t be too transparent with your people,” said Welch. “They must know where they stand.”

Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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