Nailing the sales interview

Have you ever wished you were a mind reader during an interview?  Sit back wondering what the interviewer is looking for, and how best to present yourself?  Here is some insight gleaned from our clients, over thousands of sales interviews.

Know the product and company.  Prior to your interview spend the time researching the company history, published sales history, consumer reviews of the product, and technical specs of the company and product you want to sell.  Every business owner wants to hire people that believe in their product and seem eager to present it to clients.  The more you know the better you can portray your belief that the product is the one you want to represent.

Have hard numbers and anecdotes from prior positions ready.    If you want to stand out from other sales candidates have real information about prior positions.  Everyone that earns a face to face interview is going to have some sales background on their resume.  You need to show that your prior success is greater than your competitors and more relevant to the new company.  Select one sales achievement and be sure to work it into your interview.  If the interviewer doesn’t ask, add it in when you are given some latitude in the conversation.  Pick a sales award, sales record, time you exceeded quota, or contest you won and tell the company about how motivating it was to come out on top.  Next work in a short story, keep it to under a minute, about a client you are proud you sold.  Explain how the satisfaction of selling this client motivated you to sell more.

Do they want a hunter or gatherer?  All sales organizations need two types of sales reps, hunters and gatherers.  Hunters are high impact salespeople that thrive on immediate gratification and are motivated by finishing sales.  Gatherers revel in the process of moving leads from cold to warm to hot, and are excited by the prospect of a sale in the future.  A little research will tell you which of these roles the company is trying to fill.  Many times it is right in their ad.  Do they use words like, “top closer”, or “finisher”?  Is the sales cycle short, where a sales rep may finish with a client in a single visit, such as auto sales?  This is asking for a hunter.  If the job ad mentions, “lead generation”, or has multiple mentions of, “CRM”, they want a gatherer to drive leads.  Be ready to either talk about being a patient gatherer, ready to follow leads for months if necessary, or a hunter that motivates immediate yeses.

Be proactive and ready to speak in your interview.  Many job seekers feel like the interview is a place for them to answer questions, and getting the most right answers will win the job.  Good interviewers give more weight to what the candidate chooses to ask and talk about about they have the floor.  Be prepared and confidently take the reigns when the interviewer is looking for you to speak.  The best way to convince a company to hire you on their sales department is to sell yourself to them.  If can’t sell yourself, how are going to sell their product.

Best of luck on your next interview!  We hope the tips help you sell your way to your next position.

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