The Hardest Sell of All: Top Sales Interview Tips

Searching for a new job is never an easy task. With cover letters, CVs and applications galore, securing your next opportunity takes time and effort. For those in the sales profession, selling a product or service is second nature. An interview is essentially a sales pitch; you’re selling yourself as an employee, hoping the interviewer will buy it. So, it’s a situation you should feel comfortable with. The bad news is that your competition is likely to be just as ready to sell, sell, sell themselves. Luckily, here you’ll find sales interview tips that will help you steam ahead of your competitors!

Sales interviews are always going to challenge you. Can you build rapport? Can you sell a product? Do you know your stuff about the business? The interviewer will put you through your paces! This means that a sales interview isn’t always the easiest to prepare for. However, there are some general sales interview tips that will stand you in good stead.

Know your stuff

In any interview, it’s vital to do your research into the company you’re applying to work for. When it comes to sales interviews, making sure that you’ve really brushed up on all the facts is even more crucial. Yes, you need to do general research on the company history, values and culture but you also need to dig deeper.

Try and find out what you can about the company’s turnover, their clients/competitors and, most importantly, the products or services. How can you sell the product, if you don’t learn as much as you can about it? You can then showcase all of your knowledge throughout your interview.

Show them the figures

It’s all well and good telling the interviewer what a great salesperson you are. Take it to the next level by bringing cold, hard evidence with you to your interview. Bring anything that will show your potential employer what you can achieve.

Sales reports, payslips detailing your commission or bonuses and any proof of achievements/awards will only boost your application. Just be careful not to share anything that’s confidential to any previous or your current employers.

Make it personal

The best salespeople use their influencing skills, personality and ability to build relationships and seal the deal. People want to buy from people they like and trust, so building rapport is key. One of the most important sales interview tips to bear in mind is this one: try to create rapport with your interviewer.

The employer will want to know if you can sell, of course, but also if you’re someone they want to represent their business. Show your ability to build relationships and allow your personality to shine. The interviewer should think you’re someone they’d be happy for their clients to meet.

Your plan of action

What will you bring to the table? Don’t be afraid to talk about what your plans would be if you got the role. If you have a sales strategy in mind, tell the interview all about it! How would you reach your targets? Which prospects will you target?

This is a great opportunity to talk about your contacts, too (maintaining confidentiality as necessary). Your interviewer will be keen to hear about customers you could bring with you or your relationships with key industry players.

Don’t forget to close

If an interview is a sales pitch, you need to close. Round everything off by asking the interviewer if they need to know anything else to help them make their decision. This is also a great time to ask your own questions or enquire about the next stages.

Negotiate

If these sales interview tips pay off and you’re invited to discuss a job offer, there’s nothing wrong with a little negotiation! You’re a salesperson, the employer is going to expect you to barter when it comes to package or salary.

However, only dive in if you feel confident that you will be able to do this well. Remember that you are now working with the employer, so any negotiation needs to be collaborative rather than offensive.

Questions to prepare for

There are generic interview questions you should always be ready to answer before you walk into that meeting. Some additional questions you may be asked during a sales interview include the following.

  • What is your approach to selling?
  • Can you tell me about the most difficult sale you made? How did you achieve it?
  • What is your technique for dealing with ‘gatekeepers’ or unresponsive customers?
  • How do you define good customer service?
  • What is your main motivation?
  • How do you deal with rejection?

You may not be faced with some, or any, of these questions during your sales interview. Don’t write them off, having your answers prepared will undoubtedly help you along the way!

Sell me this pen

It’s old school, and a little cheesy, but this tactic is still used during sales interviews. It may be a pen, a chair or a piece of paper your interviewer asks you to sell. Either way, be ready to sell, in one form or another, during your interview.

Bringing it all together

Employing these sales interview tips will help you to wow your interviewer and close the deal! Remember to know your facts, bring evidence, showcase your personality and be prepared to sell. Bringing all of this together will ensure that the employer buys into you.

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