As we ramp up our sales staff one of the things we find quite often in the interview process are people with great marketing knowledge, personality, and even business knowledge but sometimes are missing something that can, at times, be hard to determine in the interview process. Something a bit more intangible. The ability to close the deal when the customer is ready to buy or more importantly at the deciding point.
Being around various sales teams for years I can typically tell within 5 to 10 minutes if a person has the ability to get the deal done, it seems to be a pure personality trait that you can pick up on. People do not like to make decisions based purely in intangibles like that but more and more I think that you can tell by personality if a person has that capability.
At that point it really comes down to if they have the knowledge of the industry or general marketing and business sense to match the product or industry they are going to be selling in.
So, before I even get the the question in the title of this post, let me say, I do not think you can train someone to close a deal, some people just do not have the personality to ask someone for money even if they are giving something of high value in return. After many years thinking people were trainable in this regard I just do not think so. I think people may have minor levels of success but the time to train could be better spent using their skills elsewhere where they are more apt to excel.
That said, I think there are many people that have the ability to sell and close a deal but they are not recognized as sales people because they are in the wrong group in a company. I think it is much easier to train someone who has the natural ability to ask and close a deal to sell than it is to train someone who may have all the business knowledge but just does not have the personality to get it done.
The techniques can be taught to those who have the natural ability to hone their skill even further, but when you are starting with someone who does not innately have the skills to close the deal you are fighting against everything their psyche is telling them.
Do you think people can be taught to close? Or do you think good sales people just have the natural talent?