Hard work beats talent in sales. Is that really true?
Some may think that success is only for those who are naturally talented, people who are “born lucky”.
We all agree that parents, teachers and trainers can’t teach you how to persuade and close. It’s true. Talent cannot be taught, but it can be built and fostered. That’s what the best sales managers do.
And what about people that are not naturally gifted? Well, they’ll have to work harder but they’ll eventually get to the top.
Have you ever noticed how naturally talented people are often unsuccessful? People with natural skills that have been wasted away because they didn’t practice.
Or maybe complete geniuses that out of their context can’t even separate sheep from goats? People that blow their lives up because they use their talent and success in a wrong way?
Unfortunately, history is full of these kinds of examples. People that relied only on their talent. People who became legends in their field, but couldn’t function anywhere else. These people left a lot of regrets, ifs and buts. A sort of geniuses taken halfway through.
If you go over your limits like Amy Winehouse, talent and fame will destroy you. Sometimes talent is just not enough. Without the right mindset, it can be destructive or serve as an obstacle in the achievement of personal fulfillment!
These kinds of people might be famous and well recognized, but in the long run, disappear in the background when smart and ‘hard working’ people come into play.
Hard work beats talent in sales because there is no shortcut to success. You can be an extrovert person but that’s not what it takes to exceed your monthly quota. In order to succeed you need to WORK HARD AND SMART!
Usain Bolt claimed:
I’m good at what I do, but talent’s not enough. It’s the first lesson I learned from my coach. You can be naturally talented, but if you don’t work hard you won’t become a champion.
A lot of people have great talents, but only a few stand out.
Larry “the legend” Bird, one of the greatest players in NBA history, always used to say:
Winners are people who recognize their natural talents, work to turn their limits into strengths, and use these skills to reach their goals.
I’ve mentioned only sports people because they are the most well known cases. But remember, hard work pays off in everything and everyone.
Someone with natural talent always has two choices
1. Rely only on your talent to get tangible results. Results that are better than the ones other people get to after A LOT of training.
2. Take advantage of your talent and work harder than the others to reach exceptional results!
This not only means to go down in history as a great talented person, but as someone that, thanks to their talent, changed the world establishing new standards for everyone!
In the world of sales, business and training, we see people throwing away their chances to get tremendous results because they simply rely on their talent, that although very important, is not sufficient.
Especially in an age where competences and preparation change rapidly, relying only on talent is a horrible mistake. Talent doesn’t rhyme with success and hard work beats talent in sales, always.
Today, in any kind of sector and geographical area, the criteria that clients use when purchasing are way more complex than the ones followed 30 years ago. Depending on the talent is ok, if you are a merchant of a little town where everyone knows one another for generations.
Forget about the idea that talent, DNA and having the Achilles’ heel are the only things that matter.
If you want to become a genuine sales professional, the sooner you forget about talent myths, the better it is! In professional selling, talent can be your best ally just like your worst enemy.
As always, the choice is yours: you can choose to practice or you can choose to rely upon your talent.
We started selling when we were kids
Do you remember that time when you asked your parents to buy you that toy and explained them all the amazing features it had? Or better, that time when you were trying to trade your Pokémon cards with your school buddy?
If you didn’t have some natural sales skills, you would be living in a cave sealed from the outside word. But since this is not the case, the answer is simple.
Anyone can become a salesman. Nobody can become a successful salesman without practicing.
If you weren’t born with the gift of persuading others, it’s totally fine. You do not need that! What you do need is the willingness of never giving up.
Many people when facing real challenges, instead of doubling down their effort, conclude they simply are not talented enough to do the work. The willingness of fighting is really valuable because few people have it.
Anyone can sell without any kind of training. As a matter of fact, managers tell their salespeople: “grab your sales catalogue and go hit the streets!”.
But unless you are a crazy word’s talent, we all know the results of such method. And to say the least, they are pretty bad. Folks with the gift of communication that improvise this job, quit a few months later. You can become a good sales person only by learning. The experience itself is not enough, at all.
No matter how eloquent you are, hard work beats talent in sales and always will. The sooner salesmen realize it, the sooner they’ll stop thinking that selling is difficult. Nothing is difficult if you practice enough.
Yet, you have to study real stuff. I don’t mean motivational courses, you have to study sales professional training guides and have the willingness to follow them. Otherwise, you are only going to lose time and money.
Still not sure? Hard work beats talent in sales, and not only. Take a look at this interesting international experiment featured on the BBC website: “Can you succeed at anything with enough practice?”
Learn how to be a good salesperson
One is not born a Salesman, one becomes a salesman. This might sound obvious, but let me explain why it’s not.
I’m not saying that an extrovert doesn’t have any advantages compared to an introvert. It only means to be willing to learn as much as possible and improve your skills.
Ergo, in the end, it doesn’t matter where you come from, where you got your degree from, or your past job experience. Any road can lead you to success!
If you sell something you love, you’ve already won. That's because it gets easier for you to learn every detail of the product, which is, in turn, the basis of the sale.
You have to be an expert. Know every single detail of what you are selling, as if you’d created it. This is not to inundate customers with too much technical information, but just to be confident in the quality and utility of the product.
Hard work beats talent in sales because if we work hard, we expand the possibilities and develop our abilities.
Etched in my brain is a successful sales rep, among plenty immediately forgotten. He was trying to sell my dad a water filtration system and something about what he said struck me.
Once he finished his pitch and was about to leave, he explained that he was using the system himself. Then, he added: “I could never sell something I wouldn’t use myself, or that I wouldn’t let my kids use it”. The profound personal conviction driving him was evident. This is what made him a great salesman. So, what happened? My dad bought the filtration system.
Hard work beats talent in sales when talent gets lazy
There is another amazing side of loving what you sell, and thus knowing every single aspect. It lies on what the Roman Cato the Elder used to say: rem tene, verba sequentur. Grasp the subject, words will follow! It was true thousands of years ago and still remains legitimate today.
If you know the product, you will always know what to say. You will always have strong arguments to support your sale, and you won’t ever be tongue-tied in front of your client.
Not everyone is able to talk when they don’t know what to say, but everyone can do it if they know the details of what they are talking about!
Make the client the center of attention
In a sales relationship, there are 3 key elements: the salesperson, the product, and the client.
As a salesman, who knows everything about the product and the firm’s track record, you have to focus on the client.
But what does that mean? It means being able to use empathy and problem solving.
- Empathy: adapt your behavior to the emotions and attitudes of the clients. Try to observe and listen to them. Understand their way of thinking and reasoning. Get to know them and you'll know what they need before they even do.
- Problem Solving: work through the details of a problem to reach a solution in two ways. The first one, which is more traditional, refers to the skill of solving a problem, once you have already sold the product. The second one is to expect your client's needs and create different proposals based on their existing demands. In this way, you can avoid your clients rejection of the product because you didn’t ask them what they wanted.
“Salesmen” born or made?
Still not sure how hard work beats talent in sales?
If the answer is yes, let me give you a new perspective:
- Several researchers show that selling skills are something acquired in the 90% of the cases. How does this data change your perception of sales?
- Assume that the above data is true. Do you still look at the deals you lost or at the potential client you gave up in the same way?
- Are you now interested in finding out the best way to manage the negotiations that went wrong?
I don’t know your answers but you should evaluate them based on the fact that: hard work beats talent in sales because being a successful salesman is a choice!
The truth in fact is that we are the key component of our success. It’s really upsetting when people state: “I’m not a salesperson” or “I’m not meant for selling”.
Well, nobody is! When young, most of the best salesmen never thought about getting into sales. And they still don’t think they received any natural gift.
They don't assume they were born with a charming personality or gift of communication. They have simply chosen to acquire these skills and most importantly, they’ve never stopped thinking: “Hard work beats talent!”
Salesmen and saleswomen chose to learn the art of selling because in this they saw the best way to reach their most important goals. They were proactive and decided to learn. You can do that too, it’s your choice.
After making the choice and seeing the results that this produces, you can get excited about it and decide to become a Sales Leader.
- The best salespeople are nothing but big leaders. People with a powerful urge to learn and gain competences.
- If you don’t succeed in something, it’s never because you were “not born for it”. It’s just because you don’t have YET learned what you need to be successful.
- If a prospect doesn’t respond to your emails or calls, it doesn’t mean that you are “not meant for selling”. It only means that you haven’t YET learned what to do to fire their curiosity.
- When a potential client tells you: “Thanks for all the info. I will let you know”, it doesn’t mean you are not fit to be a salesperson. It only means that you don’t know YET how to manage a sales process to avoid this inconveniences.
Let me be clear. It’s obvious that some people have a natural tendency for sales activities, but this doesn't mean that you can’t figure out what to do to improve yourself.
Hard work beats talent in sales when talent doesn’t meet determination: if you really want you can learn anything needed to become more successful in your sales career.
Talent and inclination matter, but you need more. In order to excel in what you do, you have to practice a lot. You have to understand the work style that best adapts to your skills and best develops your capabilities.
It doesn’t matter what your talent is; you don’t have to know what it is. What’s important is to put a lot of efforts and dedication in what you do. Both in qualitative and quantitative terms.
Become obsessed with working hard. Be thankful when a sale doesn’t come easy to you. It causes you to learn the importance of hard work.
Hard work beats talent in sales because when life becomes a storm, only those that have learned the value of hard work over talent will be left standing.
“If you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Ready to join the big timers? Let Badger Maps guide you down the road of success!
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