Do you have what it takes to be a sales shark?

Do you have what it takes to be a sales shark?

Business Development

Alwyn Lasrado

Alwyn Lasrado

281 week ago — 4 min read

Summary: Is a knack for sales ingrained in one's DNA or can these skills be acquired over time? GlobalLinker member Alwyn Lasrado explores what it takes to be an effective salesperson.

Are great salespeople born or made? - goes the familiar question. This poses the dilemma of whether some people are naturally good at sales or is sales a skill that can be learned by putting in the effort.

Steve W. Martin of the USC Marshall School of Business, in one of his Harvard Business Review sales research articles, estimates that over 70%of top salespeople are born with ‘natural’ abilities that contribute to their sales success.

He also posits that the balance 30% of self-made salespeople have some key abilities that define their success.


  • Deep knowledge of one’s industry, product and operations.
  • The ability to weave a story around it based on experience and relatable benefits that wins customer trust and influences buying decisions.
  • The ability to understand human nature and the internal manoeuvering in decision-making thereby influencing/motivating the buying centre decision makers.
  • The ability to ensure the finite element of time is taken into account while pushing for deal closure.


In another article, he also identified key personality traits successful salespeople exhibit naturally that impacted their selling style, by administering personality tests to 1,000 business salespeople. These are listed below.


1. Team player
Successful salespeople are modest and prefer to work and make decisions with other people, as opposed to people high on individualist trait who are accustomed to going their own way, making decisions and taking actions on their own.


2. Conscientiousness
They tend to be dominated by a sense of duty and perseverance. They feel deeply responsible towards their results and are extremely reliable.

3. Achievement orientation
They are focused on their goals and coordinate ideas and resources to achieve them by having the foresight to look at the bigger and long-range picture.


4. Curiosity
They tend to be inquisitive and ask questions to satisfy their knowledge and fill the gaps in their understanding. They like to know the truth at the earliest possible instance.


5. Dominance
They have a commanding presence that allows them to gain the trust of customers such that their advice and/or recommendations are followed.


6. Resilience
They maintain composure and self-control in stressful situations and bounce back from setbacks and failures. They do not let obstacles hamper their performance and always possess an optimistic outlook.


7. Aggressiveness
Successful salespeople tend to lack self-consciousness and are very self-assured and secure. They have an excellent capacity to deal with things and are highly action oriented.


While not all salespeople are successful, the results from the above study tend to prove that the successful ones share the common traits listed above. Behavioral assessments help you to determine whether your team has the innate abilities that drive sales success. These assessments also assist in better understanding of your current salespeople, highlighting areas for improvement that can help you set up focused training programmes for their development.


Connect with me for your sales success profile assessment and take the first step in recruiting better or identifying your team’s training needs.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.