Sales job interviews are unique. Instead of merely answering any questions the interviewer has, you are expected to show how persuasive you are and sell yourself. After all, this is what you will be doing for the company so you can bet they will want to preview and determine your skills. In addition to making sure you are physically presentable, articulate, and punctual, these tips will put you in a good position to landing the sales position of your dreams.
1. Research the company
There is nothing that would turn an interviewer off more than a candidate knowing little to nothing about their company. In your sales position, you will be expected to know about information such as trends and cycles. It would be beneficial to look at this data specific to the company that is interviewing you. Know the products that the company sells inside and out and how they are different from the competition. Working this knowledge into your answers will impress the people interviewing you.
2. Be prepared for situational/behavioural questions
You can count on performance-related questions being asked in the interview especially if you have previous experience in the field. These are very important as the headhunters and the company want to confirm that you are capable of making sales that will benefit them. However, do not be surprised if situational (or behavioural) questions dominate the interview. For instance, you may be asked when you had to convince someone to do something and what the outcome was.
Another example may be what your greatest challenge in sales was and how did you address it. Even if the question is intended to place you into a negative light, put a positive spin on your answer.Because it is a sales interview, there is a good chance you may be asked to roleplay and sell the interviewer a specific item. If you have no experience with sales to date, practice this with a family member or friend.
3. A good personality is key
Employers are looking for candidates who are friendly, energetic, and optimistic even in the face of adversity. Whether your job will entail working behind the scenes connecting with clients and stakeholders via telephone and email or being on the floor in face-to-face contact with people, you want to show that you are friendly and eager to help. This could be the difference between making a sale and a potential customer going to your competition.
Show that you have a positive personality in the interview by displaying positive body language such as sitting up straight, keeping your arms uncrossed, and maintaining eye contact. Making appropriate small talk will show that you are personable and can connect with others.
4. Ask questions at the end
Do not squander the opportunity to have your questions answered. Asking questions will show that you are interested in the company and besides, employers usually enjoy talking about their company. Asking questions about company goals, strategic framework, and the job itself will demonstrate that you are eager to learn.
Also, asking questions that are not as common will show the interviewer that you are different and can think outside the box. For instance, ask questions like “are you in a position right now to offer me this job?” or “is there anything that I have said today that makes you uncertain about hiring me?” You can then use their answers to address any reservations that they may have about you.
5. Have stellar references
This seems like a no-brainer but the references that you have listed can be the difference between a job offer and being turned down. Since employers want a salesperson who would be competent in the position and is friendly and personable, a good combination of employment and personal references is crucial.
It may go without saying but ensure that you ask the person if they could provide a reference; it has happened before where a candidate gives names of references, does not check with the person beforehand and the person is unprepared and provides an unhelpful reference.