The world of sales is highly competitive from day one, and interviewing for a sales position is no exception. Understanding the competitive nature of a sales interview and approaching it with a winning mindset can help you to wow the interviewer and give you an advantage over your competitors in the job market.
If followed precisely, the following six tips can put you on the top of an employer's list of prospective sales candidates and move you one step closer to landing the job of your dreams.
Perhaps more than any other position, a sales interview will test your mastery of the actual skills you will use on the job. Use the interview as an opportunity to showcase the very skills you will use when speaking to the company's customers. Use eye contact appropriately. Display confident and open body language. Speak clearly and in a positive tone.
Pay attention to details such as a strong handshake, and use active listening techniques to move the interviewer towards a "buying sign" the same way you would an actual customer. Be confident enough to include a call to action, showing a confident belief that you are the right person for the job.
For example, you might say something like "This seems to be a great fit. I can start as soon as Monday if you're feeling the same!"
Familiarize yourself with the company's product line before entering the interview. Showing that you fully understand how the organization's brand and product offerings stand out from their competitors can give you a significant advantage over others who have not shown the same level of initiative.
Inadequate preparation is often times a leading contributor to failing a job interview. Avoid becoming a part of this trend by walking into the interview fully informed and knowledgeable. Although this can take a bit of extra time, it can truly pay off.
Just as you familiarized yourself with the company's products, do the same for their target market. If you can show that you understand the needs and buying patterns of the company's customers, then you can show that you're ready to step right into the position and begin speaking the customers' language in ways that resonate most effectively with them.
If you have the opportunity, describe your strategy and approach for gaining the confidence and trust of buyers in the target market, and how your approach can be more effective than others.
In addition to displaying your soft skills and strong communication, show your academic understanding of sales methodologies. For example, ask questions about the average conversion rates of the current sales force, and discuss commission structures. Discuss the roles that sales plays in the organization's overall marketing strategy.
Ask if the company uses a specific sales model, such as the relationship model, the problem-solving model, or the consultative model.
The sales world is highly driven by accomplishments and results, so make sure to showcase what you have accomplished in the past. Cite any peer-recognition awards, top-earner bonuses, or other achievements that made you stand out in previous sales roles. Talk about your goal-oriented mentality and how it drives you to reach new heights of success each and every day.
If you are interviewing for your first sales job, cite any academic achievements you've earned to show that you are a goal-oriented and highly driven individual. In sales jobs, it is especially true that simply graduating with a business degree does not guarantee your success.
Show the interviewer that you are a go-getter ready and willing to put your new skills and education to use in the real world and that you are open to coaching and mentorship for continuous personal development.
Throughout the interview process, remember that you are the product and the interviewer is your customer. You've walked into the meeting with a goal in mind: getting the interviewer to give you a "yes" to your proposition of securing employment.
Craft your messaging around the benefits that you can provide to the interviewer and the employer, and how your unique strengths can best meet their specific needs.
For a confident and experienced salesperson, nailing an interview and securing a job can be approached exactly like speaking to a customer and securing a large sale. However, unlike other sales conversations, this one could be the most important a salesperson ever has.
If you bring all of your training and skills to bear on the goal of selling yourself to the prospective customer (the interviewer), then you can gain a major advantage over competing salespeople lining up for the same position.