A good performance at interview is obviously vital to securing any sales job. We give some top tips to succeed and discuss potential questions you may be asked.
If you’re a good sales person, you should be able to sell yourself. Think about it from the company’s point of view – if you’re not able to sell yourself, how are you going to sell their product? You’ll also be representing them in the marketplace so bear this in mind throughout the interview.
You should approach the interview like you would a sales meeting. Thoroughly research the business you’re talking to and try to think through every possible scenario. What weaknesses may they identify? What do you offer that the competition do not?
One thing to bear in mind is that you should definitely look to be consultative rather than “salesy”. More than ever, businesses are looking for sales people who offer solutions to their clients’ problems. Few now go for an aggressive old-school sales approach.
If you’re a good sales person, you should be able to sell yourself. Think about it from the company’s point of view – if you’re not able to sell yourself, how are you going to sell their product?
You need a good grasp of relevant retail data, trends and sales cycles. So look at the latest blogs, press articles, sector-specific magazines and official information to glean as much information as possible.
Most importantly, you need to thoroughly research the business you’re interviewing with. Gain an in-depth idea of the products they offer, what the market says about these and then – armed with this knowledge – think about how you’d sell their products.
You should prepare for questions in a number of specific areas. In particular, you should be ready to be asked:
Specific questions you are likely to be asked include:
Any sales person who’s interviewed will wax lyrical about their career achievements. But not everyone will take evidence of this to the interview. Although you’ll want to be careful not to take any information along that is confidential to your existing or previous employers (as this implies carelessness), you could take along sales league tables, references, P60s or payslips if they’re appropriate.
A book of contacts is crucial to success in sales. This proves your ability to build long-term relationships with clients that can generate revenue. The ability to bring these with you to a new job is a huge advantage.
When the interview is coming to a close and you’re asked if you have any questions, don’t just say “no”. Thoughtful questions indicate to the interviewer two things: 1) your interest in the company and the role and 2) your ability to listen to what you’ve been told during the interview (they’re not going to want to hire a sales person who only talks about the product they’re selling and doesn’t listen to what they’re being told).
To avoid getting stuck, it’s safe to go in with a list of questions that you can pull out on request. Some examples include:
As you would with any sales meeting, make sure you close the interview appropriately. If you feel it’s gone well, ask the interviewer if he or she have any objections or requires any further information from you. Also make sure you ask specifically about the next steps and when you’ll know their thoughts on how the interview went as this conveys enthusiasm for the role.
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