T Nation

Question for Salesmen


Got offered a sales job. On the plus side, I know a lot about the product and strongly believe in it. On the minus side, I have never been inclined toward sales and am not a "people person." Can I become a good salesman through sheer effort, or is the ability inborn? It's 100% over the phone, so that's a plus.


Certain inborn traits make sales proficiency easy but imo any one can learn. What are you selling? Direct sales, channel sales, retail, acct. mgmt...


Effort. In the beginning you'll suck because you have no natural inclination towards it but effort is really all you need to get good numbers and provisions.

That being said, I would rather cut open my stomach with a rusty nail and eat my own innards than work sales, especially over the phone.


Depends a lot on what your selling and the nature of your position and leads. One of my friends is definitely not a natural salesman, but his position is he gets leads sent to him from companies that are requesting a quote on construction modulars. All of these people actually WANT to get called by a salesman and really need the product yesterday since they usually just got a big contract to build something, which makes calls pleasant and conversions easy.

Another one of my friends leases printers and has a very natural inclination for persuading. He does well but hates it, since you have to really be pushy to actually get some company to spend 5-6 figures on a printer lease.


I agree, but this is a unique opportunity.


So... what do you sell? What type of sale?


Fluorescent condoms.


You can definitely work on specific sales skills and improve them, but it concerns me when you say you're "not a people person".

To do well in sales, you have to understand and like people - this is the one common thread that all successful salespeople share. You don't have to be a smooth-talking, "life of the party" type to do well in sales, but you DO have to show genuine interest in your customers and be concerned about their needs. You can fake it for a while, but they'll see through it soon enough.

Being an ISR (Inside sales rep) amplifies this significantly, as the tone of your voice reveals a lot more than you think.

Anyway, explain more about the job. Are you prospecting/cold calling, or is their an established client base already? Is it a complex product that requires after-sale follow-up? What is the commission structure like?


I was in sales for 4 years. I had never had a sales job before but I had the personality which made my job 100 times easier. The more people liked you the more thy would listen to your pitch.


Bingo. I bet you kicked some ass.

OP, the ability to gain rapport with your prospective customer is 90% of the job. The rest is creatively uncovering and meeting needs and then transferring the proper buying emotion to them.

I've been in sales for over 15 years and a sales trainer for the past 8 or so years.

Sales is the lowest paid easy work and the highest paid hard work.

Get materials/ books from:

Tony Robbins
Brian Tracy
Tom Hopkins




I've been in sales for 20 years, mostly advertising. Sales is hard in your 20's when you're young and have minimal experience. But if you can get over that initial challenging stage sales can be a very rewarding field. I make well into the six-figures and knock off every afternoon around 3pm to hit the gym. It's a good quality of life. I also started in inside sales over the phone. Give it a shot- you have nothing to lose.


As has been stated, the fact the job is completely over the phone is not what I would consider a perk. Being rejected in person may suck more, but you learn a lot more from it. Being rejected over the phone is basically "Ummm ok dials next number"

Sales is a very viable way to make a living if you possess the skills to mind fuck a customer and not get mind fucked yourself. The best advise I can give is develop rapport and let your personality (assuming it's a positive one) shine through or get really skilled at putting on an act which can't be detected. That's where the phone will be to your advantage, being fake is incredibly easy.