Successful sales professionals tend to be multi-talented – they need to be to fulfil the many different facets of the role. Therefore, interviews for sales jobs also tend to be wide-ranging, covering several angles and topics of discussion. This is so that the recruiter can be sure that the candidate sitting in front of them really does have everything it takes to thrive in the role they are being considered for.
Sales jobs require a winning combination of suitable personality traits, such as ambition, flexibility, confidence and a growth mindset, as well as skills and knowledge around negotiating, persuasive techniques and public speaking. A sales job interview is the ideal opportunity to show that you have all of these skills – and more, as you quite literally ‘sell yourself’ to a potential employer. Here are some top tips to help you present yourself in the best possible light at your next sales job interview.
Prepare for commonly asked questions
Sales job interviews often follow a set pattern, with common questions cropping up all the time. Do some research into what might be asked, and prepare some effective answers and examples in advance. This helps you appear more confident and stops your mind from going blank at the wrong time. Practise your answers with a friend, or in front of the mirror so that you sound confident and at ease with what you are saying.
Some frequently asked questions at sales role interviews include:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Tell me about yourself – why should I hire you?
- How would you describe your sales career to date?
- What is your selling style and strategies for success?
- Tell me about a time when you failed to meet your sales targets – what did you do to improve?
- What was your toughest ever sale?
- How do you build rapport with customers? /. What is your idea of good customer service?
- What would your fellow sales professionals say about you?
It’s no good planning a set of killer answers to the questions above if you cannot back up your assertions in the interview. Prepare tangible evidence to support your application. This could include customer testimonials, published sales figures, sales awards etc. Don’t forget your contact book. Think of it like a sales meeting and bring along whatever you need to sell yourself effectively on the day. If you think that the interviewer will bring up a perceived weakness, for example in your sales figures or employment history, plan your arguments in favour of your skills and abilities and have the evidence to back up your case.
Research, research, research
A good sales professional never enters a negotiation without doing plenty of background research into what their customer needs and wants to get out of the negotiation. Make sure you research the company, its history and future aspirations. Work out where the role you are applying for fits into the overall strategy and hierarchy. What will you be selling, who will your customers be, and how will your role work – will it involve door-to-door or cold call consumer selling, business to business negotiations or online sales? How much travel will you need to do? What is the company culture like? You will come across as more trustworthy, intelligent and genuine if you can talk confidently about the company and what you can bring to it that your competitors cannot.
Have you got any questions for us?
At the end of your sales job interview, you will most probably be asked if you have any questions for your interviewer. Always have one or two up your sleeve, as this shows interest, enthusiasm for the role and, again, evidence of preparation and research.
Some good questions might include:
- What values do you / your company value in their sales team?
- How is your sales team structured?
- How much freedom and flexibility do your sales professionals have to negotiate deals?
- Why do people like working for your company?
- How many of your sales team hit their sales targets each month and how do you support them to achieve this?
At the very end, plan to ask when you might hear back from the interviewer with their decision and what the next steps will be. It could be that there will be more interviews, assessments or a trial day for you to show your sales skills in action. This not only shows your keenness for the role, but it gives you a better idea of what is to come and how you should be scheduling your diary after the interview.
If you are looking for your next opportunity in a challenging but rewarding sales role, contact Sales Net today.