Product Knowledge vs Natural Sales Ability

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With over 10 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, where I have focused my career on sourcing, screening and recruiting for Sales Professionals. I have developed a strong, innate understanding of the key characteristics required for a successful career as a Sales Professional.

I would begin with a simple question:

Are you a Hunter or a Farmer?

The difference between these sales professionals is very evident in the tactical methods of selling.

The Hunter “Typically thought of as ‘the doers,’ hunters aim to close as many deals as fast as possible. They often focus on deal quantity and love to explore new areas.”

The Farmer “Farmers focus on developing long-term customer relationships and working with others. Salespeople with this attitude are happy working with a few customers to create a lasting impact” (source: Sales Loft)

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However, whether you are either a “hunter” or a “farmer”, the need for product knowledge will always be the driving recruitment factor for companies. I have always believed that the ability to sell is a natural, unlearned, untaught talent. I speak about the sales professionals, who have thrived in their sales career, achieving and succeeding targets – thriving on their next win – setting and achieving personal goals without hesitation.

These Sales Professional are “born sellers” with a distinct “hunter “qualities with a strong understanding of their own skills, with the ability to sell themselves at any given opportunity.

I believe “if you cannot sell yourself, how will you sell a product”

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With this in mind, should product knowledge be the essential key recruitment criteria for companies when sourcing and selecting their salespeople?

I don’t believe it should as “Product knowledge can be learned, the natural ability to sell – cannot” 

I often tell my clients, the essence of a natural sales professional can be heard in their voice, seen in their demeanour and their presence and evident in their delivery of themselves

When recruiting for your next Sales professional, it is essential to recognise that these natural characteristics and qualities outweigh the need for product knowledge.

Product knowledge can be acquired over time.

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