Best Interviewing Tips for Salespeople, or Your Dumbest Mistakes!
When you are interviewing for a sales job, it is slightly different than other interviews. It is different because though it may be called a job interview, and you are a sales candidate, it is a sales interview. Yes, your interview is an example of your selling style so your best-interviewing tips are not your typical interview at all.
Your interview style and approach are what a good interviewer is looking for. Approach the interview like a sales call. This is how they will see how you sell.
Over the years I have interviewed many, many salespeople, for clients as well as for my own organization and there are a few things that are consistently interview fails and most people leave the interview and thinking they did great! Then to never get a call-back or get the dreaded, “thank you for your interest…” letter. Sales interviewing is not telling!! The best salesperson is the one who understands the importance of these sales interview tips.
1. Be prepared for your sales interview
It seems so simple and of course, there is no excuse for not doing this but it happens. Research is one of the most basic things to do when going on a sales job interview. Of course, look at the company’s website, that is sales interviewing 101, but what are you looking for?
a. The company history. Make sure you understand who they are, what they stand for, and who the players are. Is it a family business? was it purchased from another organization? The about is telling. Remember, they can put what they want people to know so watch for that.
b. Their blog. If a company has a blog, and most do, read what you can about what they are telling their potential clients. It is often some form of news or did you know. Read the most recent and at least the previous 60 days.
c. LinkedIn. Search the company name, employees, and often executives will come up. Search the person that is interviewing you. Read what you can about them, their background. previous jobs etc.
Put all of this in your back pocket for the sales manager interview. we will discuss this in a bit.
2. Create questions as a sales candidate
Questions should be based on the research you’ve done. This is where you will come up with questions that will be important for you to learn and more importantly, for them to see that your style is not to “show up and throw up”
When selling today, sales managers are well aware that good sales habits come from the engagement of the salesperson and the prospect. No longer is a demo of some product or service and then asking, “so do you want one or two?”
Do this right and you can have any sales job you interview
The best opportunity you have to be offered a salesperson is to remember that your interview is a sales call.
Questions are the key to differentiating you from other sales candidates. Most sales candidates think that telling all that they know is the way to get the job. Any good interviewer knows that asking the right questions will ultimately get you the job and the sale.
The sales manager that is interviewing you will see you as a good salesperson if you can relate to them, as you would with a prospect. The best way to do that is to engage with them, just like you should in a sales call.
Don’t ever mistake giving information for a good sales process. The best way to approach selling is to ask good, thought-provoking questions.
Another very important idea is to ask questions to the sales manager, or whoever is doing the interviewing, ask about them.
“Tell me, John, why are you here at ABC company? What do you think is best about the company?” etc Getting their personal interest from their own perspective. People, no matter who they are, like talking about themselves, but keep it business-oriented.
Remember that your interview is less about talking about you than it is about asking questions to them. Often they ask about you and that’s fine but have questions ready for them! This will help you land the job and teach you how to truly engage a prospect as well!!