The Comprehensive Guide to Sales Interviewing

Interviewing for a sales job can be complicated, though it doesn’t have to be. For this reason, the recruiters at KAS Placement have put forth a comprehensive guide for the sales interview:

Why Do You Want to Be In Sales

The Comprehensive Guide to Sales Interviewing image shutterstock 1285494 300x200Sales interview from ShutterstockWhen interviewing for a sales job, you should know why you want to be in sales. Remember, employers always look for job seekers who are passionate. Figure out some of the aspects of business development that you enjoy and touch upon them during the interview. Here are just a few reasons why employees enjoy their jobs in sales and what they can say about it:

  • I like the prospect of helping others.
  • I enjoy interacting with people on a daily basis.
  • I enjoy the competitiveness of selling.
  • I enjoy making presentations.
  • I don’t get nervous in front of decision makers.
  • I like being paid on performance.
  • I don’t mind rejection, rather I thrive on it.
  • I enjoy putting myself in the customer’s shoes and leveraging that creativity to close deals.

What They Are Going to Look For

The best sales representatives know how to deal with people, can make the company money and who have a sense of themselves. On a macro level, here are some of the traits that are going to be required by the employer:

  • Positive energy – be energetic.
  • Intelligence and knowledge of the product.
  • Edge – the ability to make yes or no decisions
  • Someone who is optimistic, upbeat, resilient, self-assured, friendly and intelligent.
  • Someone who listens and doesn’t interrupt.
  • Someone who can close deals.

What do you do to close deals? Implement consultative selling styles:

  • Listen to the client, show them the benefits that meet their needs, manage the sales cycle, establish the right relationships and close the deal w/o surprises.
  • Someone who is self-assured, but not arrogant.

Things to Discuss

If you’re interviewing for a sales job, there are going to be certain things that the interviewer is going to touch upon. Here are just a few of those topics and sample answers:

  • What your last companies did. What they sold, who they sold to.
  • How did you prospect for accounts?
  • Did you make grades for them A, B and C accounts based on their likelihood to buy, the revenue that can be generated and how much work it took to close each account?

You would make sure to establish credibility from the onset through doing company research, being knowledgeable about the products and knowing the competitor’s products.

You would make sure to ask the right questions and instead of telling the person they need the product, in a subtle manner, you would lead them to see it for themselves.

You would leverage things like networking, referrals and internet research.

You stayed on top of industry news so when there were things like mergers, or company growth, you had a point of sale to begin with.

What sales style did you use? Consultative selling perhaps?….

How did you differentiate yourself when doing sales?

-Discuss your achievements at the company. Use numbers. Exceed quota? Revenue numbers?

What did you learn working at the firm?

- The importance of impeccable customer service? The value of providing extra service to the client that was not asked for?

What did you like about the company?

-How you would negotiate contracts? i.e. making sure that the price was mutually beneficial and that you were not afraid to ask for the deal.

What Can You Bring to the Table

To make an interviewer like you better than other applicants, the secret is in taking an interest in them and discussing what you can do for them. How will hiring you be advantageous to the company?

What can you do for the interviewer?

  • Increase revenue
  • Decrease costs
  • Solve problems without handholding
  • Make the company more competitive.
  • Understand the buyer
  • Close deals

Authenticity – self-confidence and conviction should be rampant in the ideal candidate. These traits make a leader bold and decisive, which is absolutely critical in times when you must act quickly. Must be comfortable in their own skin and, if you have these traits, make it evident to the interviewer.

Instead of worrying about not getting the job, be happy thinking about how it will feel once you do get the job offer. Have faith in yourself. Your greatest weakness is lack of self-confidence.

In the End

Interviewing is 50% mental and 50% knowledge. Above is the latter. Now, all you have to do is think positively.

Author:

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales headhunting firm specializing in recruiting all levels of business development, sales and sales management candidates throughout the United States. Ken Sundheim’s blog is KenSundheim.com.

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