The Debate Continues: Is Selling an Art or a Science?

The debate continues… Can selling be taught? Or is it something you are “born with”?

Selling isn’t any more of an “art” then it is a “science” – it is a profession. Can an artist be taught? Can a scientist be taught? Absolutely!

What the “art vs. science” argument does is debate degrees of salesperson effectiveness. In other words, some would argue that effective salespeople are more scientific in their approach. Others would argue that effective salespeople are more artistic. What if both arguments are correct? What if a salesperson could be artistic one day and scientific on another day – and be equally successful?

There is no "one way" to become successful in sales.What if the people debating the art vs. science argument were to look at selling as a profession? It would be like asking “Is a doctor more artistic or scientific?” Patients just wouldn’t care — they want results, wouldn't they? In fact, doctors would probably be a little shocked about the question in the first place. In this analogy, the patient usually focuses on seeking answers to critical (and more professional) questions such as “Can this doctor get the job done?” or “Is this doctor going to do what they say they can do?” or better yet “Is this person likely to kill me?”

Sometimes, you have to wonder if buyers are asking the same about salespeople!

Can salespeople be “born” a sales superstar? Well, can someone can be born a “surgery superstar?”

Same for personality traits to succeed in selling. Just as in any other profession, salespeople should be encouraged to build their approach and style in the best way they see fit – and in the best way it serves their customers. It requires a degree of professionalism not often discussed or understood. It requires an in depth understanding of professional competencies and one’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to those competencies.The real problem contributing to the “art vs. science” argument is the lack of a true understanding of what selling is, and what skills are universally required – something that every sales manager must must work toward every day.

About Growth Matters Growth Matters is a international business founded in 2011. This consulting and services organization is focused on the development and practice of sales management and sales enablement, our team of world-renowned experts spans the globe enabling businesses to improve sales conversations through services and solutions aligned to sales strategy. Our Americas operation is headquartered in Charlotte, NC (USA). With dedicated offices in South Africa (EMEA), and Sydney (APAC), we regularly facilitate senior-level workshops in 17+ cities in countries. For more information on equipping sales managers, and aligning to sales leadership, contact the Growth Matters team at

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