Interview Tips for Sales Professionals

According to a Harvard Business Review study, 90% of hires are based solely upon the interview.

In fact, 63% of hiring decisions are made within the first 4.3 minutes of an interview (courtesy of the Society of Human Resource Management). The interview is the most important part of the hiring process. This is why you need to spend time with your personal recruiter to better understand with whom you are interviewing and the issues that you will be talking about during the interview. These interview tips for sales professionals can be the key to your success.

Things to Remember During Your Interview

  • People have to buy you before they buy from you.
  • People hire and accept emotionally first and justify logically later.
  • People are most sold by your conviction rather than by your persuasion.

  • Know your technology, products, business and skills, but think about relating to people.
  • The decision to hire is made in the first five to ten minutes of the interview, with the remaining time spent justifying that decision.

Candidate Preparation

Following these interview tips for sales and marketing professionals can be the difference between new opportunities and continuing your job search. Practice the anticipated questions that may be asked and your answers to those questions. Be sure to practice out loud to yourself before the interview. Have specific questions for the hiring authority based on the job description given to you by your recruiter. You should write out these questions before the interview.  Be sure to avoid questions on the topics of compensation and benefits for the first interview.

Below you will find some examples of questions:

    • What are the duties and responsibilities of the position for which I am being considered? (This is an excellent icebreaker question for the hiring authority and a great start to a successful interview.)
    • What is my number one task that has to be completed each day? Why?
    • What are the production or sales goals? What obstacles would prevent me from reaching my goals?
    • What are the short and long term goals set for the person in this position?

If asked about salary expectations, beware that these can be trap questions.  Here are some suggested responses:

“I would like as much as the position will pay.”

“I’m more interested in finding a position that’s a good fit for my skills and interests. I’m confident that you’re offering a salary that’s competitive in the current market.”

“Since this position is not exactly the same as my current job, let’s discuss what my responsibilities at this company will be and work together to determine a fair salary for this position.”

“My salary range is quite flexible. I would, of course, like to be compensated fairly for my decade of experience and award-winning sales record. However, I am very open to discussing specific numbers once we have discussed the details of the position.”

“My salary requirements are flexible, but I do have significant experience in the field that I believe adds value to my candidacy. I look forward to discussing in more detail what my responsibilities at this company would be. From there, we can determine a fair salary for the position.”

Summarize what you’ve done that ties in with the new position and ask, “Do I have the qualifications you’re looking for?” then remain silent for an answer. If the hiring authority says, “I’m looking at other people,” you say, “How do my qualifications match the people you’re considering?” Your first priority is to receive an offer, if this is a position that you desire.  Your second priority is to know the next step.

Interviewing Is Selling

Ask for the job!

“I like what I see and hear.  I would very much like to have the job, and I am confident I can do it well. Is there anything about my background that would preclude you from hiring me?” Overcome any perceived objections, and if there are none, then: “I’m prepared to accept an offer, if you are in a position to extend one.”

There could be any number of scenarios at this point of the interview. Remember that if you are interviewing for a sales position, the employer observes how you interview as a good indication of how you would be selling for him, should he hire you. If you do not ask for the job, he will think that as a sales person, you do not ask for the order.

Regardless of how the interview ends, ALWAYS SEND A FOLLOW-UP THANK YOU LETTER!

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