During every sales interview, the interviewers are expecting to be sold to. This is both advantageous and disadvantageous to the candidate. On one hand, it is an advantage because as a salesperson, selling is one of your best-honed skills. On the other hand, since they expect it, the interviewing panel is bound to throw a wrench into the works, in order to try and throw you off balance and see what (if anything) sets you apart from other candidates.
As with any interview, your appearance and presentation plays a big role in whether or not you are going to get the sales position at your company of choice. This encompasses grooming, punctuality, body language, non-verbal signals, as well as how you engage your interviewers. Since your appearance is the first thing that speaks to the interviewers’ panel, it is wise that you take time to ensure that it is saying the right thing.
The interview questions at sales interviews are developed with a number of objectives.
- To provide the interview panel with a feel of how you communicate.
- To identify what your strengths are and how they work for you during the sales process.
- To identify your weaknesses and how you deal with them.
Thus, the manner in which you answer questions is as important as the answers themselves. The panel is also interested in your personal sales strategy as well as your track record, and these questions help to bring out these elements.
- What are some of the specific sales experiences that you have had in the past and what did you learn from them?
- In your past sales position, what were some of your best successes and what would you have done differently?
It is also important to companies that their sales team be willing and able to learn. No professional is more detrimental to business than one who believes that they know everything.
When preparing for the sales interview, it is important to understand that the panel will also be interested to know whether and how you follow up once you have closed a sale with a client. It is very unlikely that they will ask directly “Do you follow up with clients once the sale has been made?” More than likely, the question will be implied within another question like,
- Outline your process of making a sale from the moment you get the lead to the time when the deal is closed.
Regardless, prepare to work it into the conversation as it helps to show that you value clients as people who have a relationship with the company, and not merely as a means to more commission.
Research the Company Comprehensively
There are few things that destroy your chances at an interview, like failing to conduct research on the company. Interviewers ask questions related to the company because they want to know whether you see yourself being productive at their organization. Examples of such questions include:
- What do you think of the sales cycle at this company and how does it relate to what you have done in the past?
- From your point of view, what are some of this company’s strengths and what do you think would enhance sales?
Preparing for a sales interview is therefore, not about getting ready to say and do the right thing but rather, getting in the right frame of mind to be able to expertly navigate through the minefield that is the interview process, and emerge successful on the other side.