Approach it like a sales meeting
You should prepare for a sales job interview in the same way that you would prepare for a sales meeting with a client. You need to be prepared and personable. As a good sales person, you should be able to sell yourself. If you are unable to sell yourself then this is will put doubts in the interviewers mind as to how you are going to sell their product or service. You will be representing them as the face of the company so think about this when preparing.
Something to bear in mind is that more and more sales roles now take the consultative approach rather than the hard sell. The old saying that people buy from people is more true than ever and clients want solutions to their problems. They don’t want someone selling to them for the sakes of selling. This applies to the job interview process too. Take the time to find out what the employer is looking for in a candidate and what solutions they need to solve and then tell them how you are the solution.
Research the company
As with any job interview, you need to research the company and its products or services ahead of time. You want to spend time on their website and on their social media profiles but you should also research recent news items about the employer. Gain an in-depth idea of the products and/or services they offer and think about how you would sell these products.
Come prepared with numbers
When it comes to sales jobs, the need to demonstrate results is even more important and for a successful sales person, this shouldn’t be difficult. All sales people have targets and therefore your interviewer will want to know how well you have performed previously and they may ask for proof so take along sales tables, P60s or payslips if appropriate. Just be careful not to take any information that is confidential to your current or previous employers.
Prepare for these questions
Whilst you can never know what questions you are going to be asked during a job interview, you can be prepared to answer some common interview questions.
- Have you consistently met your sales goals?
- What has been your biggest challenge as a salesperson and how did you overcome it?
- What motivates you?
- What makes you a good sales person?
- Talk me through how you landed your most successful sale.
Bring your own questions
When at the end of the interview, the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, one of the worse things you could do is say no. Before the interview, prepare a list of questions and be ready to ask them during your interview. Questions you might ask are:
- What kind of employee is the company looking for? You can then highlight how you fit well into this profile.
- What is the biggest challenge your sales team is currently facing?
- What are the next steps in the interviewing process?
- What does a typical work day/week look like at this company?
- What percentage of employees meet their sales targets?
- What percentage of employees exceed their sales targets?
Close the interview
As you would with any sales interview, you need to close the interview. We have written a whole article on closing an interview but essentially not closing the interview could automatically put you out of the running. Closing an interview is essentially you letting the interviewer know that you are interested in the position and finding out if they have an reservations. If the employer answers no then you could respond with ‘Great, can we go ahead and book in a meeting for the next stage’. If the interviewer has reservations then it gives you an opportunity to ask about their concerns and address each one individually with the aim of putting any worries to bed.
After the interview
The interview process doesn’t end the moment you walk out of the door. You should write a thank you note to your potential employer within 24 hours of attending the interview. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you and reiterate why you want to work for the company and why you’d be a great fit.