A sales interview can be tough, especially because the interviewers already have high expectations from you, with regards to your persuasive skills. If you cannot persuade the hiring manager to hire you for a sales job, then there are little chances that you would succeed in persuading their customers in buying something.
The best way to approach a sales interview is to think of it as a sales meeting. Understand the requirements of the interviewer and see what skills you have got that can be highlighted. Keep an outline ready as to what you can offer, that others can’t, in terms of work ethics, resourcefulness, knowledge of the domain etc.
This is easier said than done. Hence, here are our hacks to market yourself in a sales interview:
1. Conduct In-depth Research Beforehand
Research on the company, the job position they are offering and their products. Visit the company’s official website, stalk through their social media profiles and check the LinkedIn profiles of the top employees of the company. Check if they have shared any posts in LinkedIn, related to the company’s products or research. This gives you a head start, as being aware of the latest services of the company portrays that you are well updated and keen on performing well in the company.
Here is another tip to amp up your research! Being aware of other competitive products in the market, and bringing your analysis upfront as to how they stand against this company’s products or services is a good idea. This effectively shows that you have spent a great deal of amount in prepping yourself to the interview, sending out positive signals to the interview panel.
Also, note that if you are in a sales interview, you must talk like a proficient salesperson. A proficient salesperson always talks about the pros and cons of products, when trying to make a sale. Hence, to portray that you have similar qualities, talk about the pros and cons of the products in the market, and scrutinise the company’s products against the market standards. This way, you not only bring in insightful details about the company, but also showcase your sales skills.
2. Emphasise On Your Updated Skill Set
Companies look forward to hiring candidates who are always eager to learn, irrespective of the job position. The old saying that learning is never ending, is especially true when it comes to the top characteristics that interviewers look in potential candidates. To sell your skills in an interview, talk about circumstances in your professional life where you messed up and what you learnt from that experience. You can also talk about another similar experience that popped up again and how well you handled that circumstance with your learning from the past.
Also, it is crucial to mention that your skills are updated as per the market requirements. It can be anything from being familiar with the latest tools to being aware of the latest research in your field of interest. Don’t forget to mention this in your interview, while talking about your strengths or success stories.
3. Highlight Your Specific Sales Metrics
Quantitative achievements are always a notch higher than achievements without numbers. For example, instead of saying “I helped in improving the sales of the company”, a much better way to put it would be something on these lines: “With the new business plan that I formulated, the sales percentage shot up by 30%”.
You can also talk about different sales metrics like the length of your sales cycle, the average deal size, total revenue generated, average response time of the customers etc. This way, you not only highlight your achievements, but also, the use of such technical words gives you a professional outlook.
4. Dig into Details
Imagine yourself selling a product. Do you tell the features of the products in detail to convince the customer, or would you rather just brief them about the abstract features? You would do the former, right? Hence, in the interview as well, dive into the deeper depths of anything that you would talk about your profile.
For example, when asked about your previous sales deals, talk about every little detail. Weave a story around it. Elaborate on the business plans that you created and how you executed them to perfection. Mention about the challenges faced during the execution phase and how you overcame them. Walk them through each and every step of the sales deal. This not only makes you sound more convincing, but also proves that you have the perfect skills for the job.
5. Aim At Answering The Unasked “So What” Question
A good quality of a person working in the sales department is for him/her to know what psych of the customer. Understanding what the customers might need, their fears and hesitations before buying a product is as important as marketing the product itself. Often, this requires you to go understand the customer beyond what they speak out. So, how do you showcase this quality in your interview? Here is how you can do it.
Sure, you have a lot of skills and past experiences where you have cracked the toughest of the sales deals. But, the interviewer might be thinking, “so what?” It becomes imperative that you answer this unasked question in the interviewer’s mind to prove that you have all the essential skills for the said job. To do this, draw connections from your previous experiences to the present job position and mention how they would help be a better sales representative. You could also talk about a few setbacks in your life and how you have learnt to handle them. This way, the interviewer knows that you are well prepared to handle unexpected situations.
Pro Tip: Apply this technique even when you are introducing yourself where you talk about your educational background. For example, if you have had a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in management, you can talk about how you can bring both your analytical skills from your bachelor’s degree and the management roles that you have learnt about in your masters, to the table.
The key here is to perceive yourself as a solution for the company.
6. End The Interview On A High Note
A good sales representative always leaves the customer on a happy and a positive note. Apply the same principle in the interview as well. Say a few sentences like that shows your eagerness for the job, like “I am looking forward to working in the team” or “I am sure my skills developed will come handy here in the company”. You could also ask them about the next step in the process, showing that you are keen on working there. You can also ask the panel if they need any other information like further documents.
Another good way to close the interview would be to ask the interviewer how you can get in touch with them, maybe on their LinkedIn profile or their work email. This is not only needed for you to contact him/her if you don’t get informed about your selection for the job, but also, this can be a great networking tool to expand your professional contacts.
Expert Tip: Leave the interviewer with a positive vibe, by giving a handshake or a smile at the end.
The least thing that you should be able to do in a sales interview is to sell yourself and your skill set to the company you want to be hired in. The above tried and proven tricks will surely help you ace your next sales interview. That’s a guarantee!
Not to forget, acing an interview also requires one to be familiar with the most common questions ever asked in an interview. Take a look at this link, where you will not only find the most common 48 interview questions, but also tips on how to answer them. The page is also loaded with sample answers to each of the 48 questions, just so that you don’t feel blindfolded while prepping your answers. Common Job Interview Questions And How To Answer Them
Best of Luck!
Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control. His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online start up for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay.com), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients. He is the chief consultant of the company and takes care of Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company. He is very passionate about writing and marketing.