The question; “Are great salespeople born or made?” returns about 723 000 results on the Google search engine, this is indicative of the ongoing debate about whether one is born knowing how to sell or the skill is acquired over time. Now, before I give you my take on this subject matter, I have a little story to tell.

When I was in primary school, I used to sell sweets. And what I have come to learn is that selling sweets at primary school age is not about sales, but it’s more about entrepreneurship. Although I concede that the ability to sell is one of the most important traits of a successful entrepreneur. I must also admit that until recently I did not think of myself as a salesperson. Therefore, when I became the president of the Midrand Groundbreakers club, I was faced with a herculean task. We had 9 goals but only 8 members. One day my mentor opened my eyes to the fact that our daring goals would not be recognised unless we reached charter strength. We set out to get more members and by the 30th April, we had 13 members; end of May, 14 members and at the end of June we had 21 members.

When we took up the challenge to add more members to the club, we thought it was just that; adding more members. We didn’t realize at the time that we were actually sharpening our negotiation and sales skills. I have since become so confident that I can ‘sell ice to an Eskimo.’

The truth is that every level you graduate to will present its own fair share of challenges. As the Area Director my newest challenge is that of opening a new club, meaning sourcing 20 members. Even so, I realize that it’s a goal that can be achieved because I have walked this path before.

So, are great salespeople born or made? Everything about my story proves that they are not born but made. Selling is a skill that anyone who has the right attitude can learn. I’m a salesperson, not born but made. Toastmasters has given me the skills I need to be able to negotiate and sell. give yourself a challenge this month, test your sales skills and see how many people you can get to not only attend a meeting, but convert to being a member as well. Happy sales pitching!

Keamogetswe Molebalwa, CC, CL
Division A: Area 5 Director