Hiring A Salesperson, Part II: Welding Skills Required

Industry members respond to claims that welding skills do not impact sales success.

Hiring A Salesperson: Welding Skills RequiredWelding & Gases Today polled people in the gases and welding industry to find out how a salesperson’s ability to weld fuels his or her success. We posed the question “Does a salesperson need welding skills in order to successfully sell welding equipment?” Industry members from across the country spoke up and shared their opinions.

The loudest response came from the Welding & Gases Today group on LinkedIn, where more than 500 industry members come together to discuss business- and industry-related topics. What better audience to ask than one where the largest job function represented is sales, at 27 percent of group members.

Members of the LinkedIn group also bring a great deal of authority and experience within the industry. 29 percent hold positions at the level of executive, director or vice president. Another 42 percent of members are manager and senior-level employees.

Last week, we heard from a range of people in the industry who say that welding skills do not make or break a salesperson. “A good salesperson, if they have the right profile and attitude, can be very successful without welding skills, and even more so than a technical person cloned as a salesperson,” says Wayne Holt, CEO of Gas Management Solutions.

However, many industry members feel otherwise. Below are some of the reasons why industry experts believe welding is an essential skill for success:

“I think welding skills go a long way in helping a salesman become a consultant rather than just a source for the products. When I hire salespeople, I ask questions to see if they are electrically and mechanically inclined. In my opinion, it makes a difference.”
- Bob Beasley, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Mid South Region at Airgas

“Never doubt the benefits of an aggressive regimen of training and refresher courses. It breaks up the monotony, helps one stay ‘fresh’ and it is just plain fun to pick up the equipment and ‘get dirty.’”
- Gary Skinner, Systems Sales Consultant at Key Handling Systems

“There are already too many salespeople who are selling coffee machines and can’t make coffee , but that’s my personal opinion.”
- Mario Van den Steen, Export Engineer at Lastek

Does a salesperson need welding skills to sell welding equipment?We’ve heard from people on both sides of the equation, but which side came out on top? Despite the fact that industry members were more vocal in commenting that welding skills are not a necessity, the votes tell a different story. Prevailing wisdom among the Welding & Gases Today group indicates that, indeed, welding skills are a must for salespeople.

In all, 65 percent of respondents voted in favor of welding skills. The minority, 35 percent, say that welding skills are not required to be a successful salesperson in the gases and welding industry. However, as revealed by the comments, many of these voters feel that the support of a technical staff goes a long way toward being able to solve customer’s problems.

What do you think? Were industry members on the mark with their votes? Respond on LinkedIn or leave a comment below.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association