Can Sales Be Taught?

Dec 13, 2021

The Strengths and Weakness of a Great Salesman

I was recently involved in a very complicated real estate deal that involved four top real estate agents. We all had to read and study various documents before we came together to discuss.

In our discussion, it was clear that all of us had scanned the various documents and picked up an understanding of parts of the document, but not all of it. All bullet points were read and discussed but the details were clearly not. In my opinion, this is exactly why good real estate attorneys are necessary, as they are trained to review such important details that real estate agents tend to overlook or misunderstand.

Real estate agents, like all great salespeople, have a certain skillset that sets them apart from the pack. However, it’s important to understand their weaknesses as well.

Outstanding salespeople have the following strengths:

Think quickly

Abe to develop proposals and solutions “on their feet”

Ability to multitask

Have tremendous energy and come across as relatable and personable

Are always “on the go”

Never down on themselves

Able to adapt in any situation

Can make strangers their best friends

Enjoy challenges that rely on quick decision-making

Compete to win

Great salespeople also have the following weaknesses:

Get anxious and unable to sit still

Has a hard time paying close attention to details

Can develop a plan, but often won’t follow- through with execution

Often won’t dive too deep into a conversation, as great salespeople move on quickly between conversations

Don’t expect files to be perfect

Not the most team-oriented and work better solo

Can’t take no for an answer, which can sometimes lead to tarnished relationships

In today’s larger firms, individual sales efforts have been replaced by collaborative sales teams. Collaborative teams can mix and match strengths and weaknesses to create a more effective sales approach, while also allowing these firms to have better control over the client. However, organizations such as Salesforce, are beginning to understand that these teams fail in the same ways that individual top salespeople can perform.

Many companies don’t provide professional sales training. And those that do, most of the time the training is incomplete, outdated, and/or focuses on the wrong things. That’s why enterprises like Salesforce are working hard to partner with colleges and universities to incorporate sales training into classes. In the past, sales have never been a part of a college’s curriculum. Schools have always regarded sales as a skill that wasn’t “teachable” and therefore not a profession to educate. Yet, the top firms are asking for sales training because the employee pool lacks qualified candidates.

The fact is that the great salespeople were naturally gifted with the ability to sell. These skills can be enhanced through education, but the basic skills are built into salespeople from birth.

Those who “fall” into a sales position may be good at building strong relationships, but they also may lack the “sales DNA” – a skillset that supports successful sales outcomes. If you have salespeople, and you have repeatedly had to coach them on the same issues, it’s more than likely sales DNA that is causing the problem, not a skill gap.

Corporate America wants to streamline sales efforts and has ignored the very nature of what great salespeople are all about. They have ignored a study of salespeople’s strengths and weaknesses and have tried to change the way the sales process is performed.

All of us in sales and those that rely on sales must grasp each of their salespeople’s strengths and weaknesses to create environments where each of us can excel. In today’s world, we need great salespeople more than ever and with a pool of qualified candidates quickly declining, those who have the sales DNA can truly “knock it out of the park.”

Photo Credit: aqeelarif Flickr via Compfight cc


Written by: Hans Hansson

[email protected]

Hans Hansson is President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email [email protected] or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,