(i) Knowledge of the organization
Knowledge regarding the history, owners, plants, technicians, sales figure, numbers of customers, social contribution, etc. of the firm help the salesman before the customers. In advanced countries, the customers are influenced by the reputation of the firm. Apart from having the perfect knowledge of his own organization, the salesman should have sufficient knowledge about his rival firms so that he will be able to guard the prestige of his own firm.
(ii) Knowledge of products
The salesman starts with three types of products i.e. (a) necessities, (b) comforts and (c) luxury articles. The salesman does not require much effort to sell the staple commodities or necessities like food grains, salt, cloth, etc. Rather he has to show them the quality and price of comfort articles like radio, cycle, wrist watches are sold for their usefulness. The salesman should acquire technical knowledge in selling the comfort articles. This will help him to point out to customers the durability, service and usefulness of the product. Much selling efforts as well as through technical knowledge is required to sell luxurious articles. Generally the salesman is expected to have knowledge about the different aspects of products. They are (a) uses and advantages of products, (b) composition and construction of products, (c) services and guarantee of the products, and (d) knowledge of competing goods.
(iii) Knowledge of market condition
The market is always changing and the salesman should closely note these changes. The changes in fashion, taste, habits, etc. should be observed and the salesman should also change accordingly. Otherwise, he can not sell in new market condition. Experience in market condition also helps a salesman to forecast for future.
(iv) Knowledge of Government policies
The salesman should have latest knowledge about sales tax, and surcharge rate which vary from product to product. Government policy regarding price control and distribution system also effect sales. Therefore, a detailed knowledge of Government policies helps a salesman to sell the products with least difficulties and objections form the customers.
(v) Knowledge of competitors’ strength
In the modern age of keen competition the salesman must be aware of the competitors’ strength. A detailed knowledge of the price and products of the rivals enables the salesman to guide and advise the customers about the superiority of his products than those of his competitors. Sources of acquiring product knowledge are-
(a) Personal experiences
(b) Reading in libraries
(c) Trade journals
(d) Seniors and fellow salesman,
(f) Sales manual
(g) Sales bulletin
(h) Salesman’s portfolios
(i) Visit to factories
(j) Meeting and conferences.
(k) Motion pictures, visual aids etc.
(l) Education and training, and
(m) Traveling demonstrators.