Your Sales Interview Done Right

Sales interview
Interviews are weird. If you’re looking to be a sales rep at your dream company, follow these steps to boost your first impression!

Know who you’re selling for

One of the most important factors when you’re making a sale is understanding your product. Before you go into your interview, make sure you know exactly what the company is selling. Have prior knowledge about their product to show your enthusiasm for what they specifically do. This also shows that hiring you saves them time. The less time they spend explaining the product to you, the more time they spend making money.

Perhaps even more important is to understand the company’s mission. You will be much better off in your interview if it comes across that you know what they are really about and are on board with it. In your research, be sure to also check out any content they have published. This will expand your knowledge of the company and give you great conversation points and potential questions to ask during the interview.

Beyond knowing the specific company, you should also be up to date on news in your industry. Always keep in mind the name of the last sales book you read and stay updated on the newest trends by following blogs. Setting Google Alerts on your phone will also ensure that you never come across as sounding uneducated about the sales world while you are interviewing.

Channel Your inner sales person…

Anyone who has interviewed for a sales position will tell you that the key thing to remember is that the whole meeting is a sale in itself. Your job is to sell yourself to your potential employer. Because of this, you should prepare exactly how you would for a sales call. Write down key points you’d like to bring up during the interview and stick to your plan.

Another great way to sell yourself is to consider your main strengths and ways to make them come across. One of the best ways to do this is to rethink your answer to “tell me about yourself.” So many candidates take this question and run with it in the wrong direction. Instead, frame your answer. Talk about how you got into sales and reveal what makes you passionate. Use this as an opportunity to show why you would be great for the job. 

Of course, your outward appearance should also send the message that you would be a good salesperson. Selling yourself is a lot about first impressions, so make sure you look neat and are dressed appropriately. If you’re worried about overdressing, remember that nobody has ever said “wow, that candidate looked great, let’s not hire them!” Additionally, pay attention to your body language. Business Insider blogger Mohana Ravindranath suggests using techniques to reduce natural shyness and hesitancies.

…but not too much

Bloggers at Robert Walters have reported that businesses today are looking more for sales reps that are not “salesy,” but instead come across as consultive. If you portray yourself in this light, it will show that you are less likely to be pushy and more likely to offer customers solutions (that can be found with your product!)

Similarly, being honest is way more important than being salesy. This is relevant in your interview when they ask you a question that requires you to mention your weaknesses. Someone too salesy will say something like “I work too hard.” Instead, position your negatives. Dave Stein of EyesOnSales advises giving an answer more like “You can tell by my track record that I’ve been a consistent performer. But I am always looking to improve. Right now I am focusing on improving my ability to read and interpret financial statements. I know that this will enable me to be even more.”

Qualify yourself based on the company’s needs

Understanding your value to the company is essential to being a smart hire. If your interviewer is taking a more transparent approach, they will define what they are looking for. Otherwise, it is up to you to figure it out. Once you do, qualify yourself to each need they have. Remember, making a sale is proposing a solution to a problem. They need someone who understands the product better and takes initiative? You are the solution; sell yourself and show that you have exactly what they need. If they are unclear about what they are looking for, ask in a respectable and empathetic way and then continue to qualify yourself.

Consider your network

Having great references can put you on top while applying for any job, but having good past connections is especially important in sales. Your contact book should reveal that you maintain relationships with people that can bring more business to your new company. This increases your value as a candidate. Having a wide network also shows that you possess industry experience.

Ask Valuable Questions

Your questions should show that you have done your research, care about the details of the company, and are a professional. This can be achieved using three types of questions. The first kind is asking about a specific person or product of the company. This includes questions about your interviewer or a specific press release/blog post/ article that the business has put out. The next type of question is about what it would really be like to work there. Ask about the sales team especially to show that you have considered the actual experience of being part of their squad. Lastly, be professional by asking about your qualifications. It can help you out a lot to ask if they have any concerns about something on your resume or if they are comfortable with your past experience.

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