One of the latest cultural trends is the pursuit of games that can make an individual smarter. Many companies including Nintendo are coming out with games that supposedly increase cognitive performance. It seems that organizations of all types — from schools to the military — have embraced the concept that intelligence is a trainable quality.
In 2008, cognitive enhancement programs received a boost when a single study indicated that intelligence was trainable. The study contended that after just six hours of training, intelligence increased six points—an unheard of improvement. Most psychologists, however, are skeptical of the study and note that the results have never been replicated in other psychological studies. The traditional view is that increased intelligence is not likely unless there is a substantial commitment of resources. It takes natural talent plus time, the right environment and practice. In other words, it is not easy.
The reason I am mentioning the cognitive enhancement debate is that there are similar misconceptions about sales ability in mortgage origination. Many managers mistakenly believe that anyone can succeed at mortgage origination and that if sales professionals receive the proper training, they will excel. This may sound reasonable but unfortunately, it is not correct.
Why? Over the years, I have looked at this issue with our psychologists through different studies that we have performed and the truth is that individuals who are not matched to selling will never close the sales performance gap between those who have the personality traits linked to sales success and those who don’t. No amount of experience or training will bridge the gap. I guess this reality can be disheartening to some. I think it is liberating because it reinforces what matters: finding sales professionals who are matched to originate. It is not easy to find the right people but like anything in life, it is worth the effort!