In today’s competitive market, getting ahead in sales entails more than hard work and dedication. Gone are the days when sales quotas were all that mattered and going in for the hard-sell was the name of the game. It’s not about closing deals anymore so much as helping clients with problems in their lives and building meaningful relationships with them in the process.
That being said, this customer-centric philosophy can be hard to get across. This is especially true when you have an interview coming up and want to do the best you can to start your career off right. Not to worry, though. These simple but effective interview tips will help you keep a clear head when the pressure is on.
1Do Your Research
Develop a presentation where you run through how you’d sell the company’s entire product line. Go one by one and be as meticulous as possible. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to share the whole thing, the groundwork will serve you well. The material you study will eventually come up in the conversation, and when it does, you won’t need to shuffle through notes to nail those pesky sales interview questions.
You could also assess the company’s strengths and weaknesses and be ready to communicate them using digestible language. Put yourself in your interviewers’ shoes. It’s very likely that their livelihoods depend on their jobs and the company you’re hoping to join. If you find a fault, but share it in a disrespectful way, no one will be receptive to your suggestions.
Be honest about the challenges and successes you’ve faced in your career. Everyone has had ups and downs and hiding them can come off as disingenuous. While your interviewers are trying to determine if you’re company material, they also want to see you try and figure out if the company is right for you. If you’re not invested in evaluating a potential workplace, why would they trust you with a major client?
One way to show your authentic self is to write out your approach to customer service. This will prepare you to speak on your understanding of the sales process as well as your ethical principles when it comes to interacting with people on a daily basis. Here are a handful of topics you may want to address:
- Client introductions: It’s important to express genuine curiosity when meeting clients for the first time. While they are in your office to do business, they also lead their own lives by pursuing passions, raising families, and dealing with problems of all sizes. Connecting with someone on a personal level is a good way to plant the roots of a fruitful relationship.
- What it means to be of service: This comes down to active listening to determine a client’s goals so you can meet them in the smoothest and most efficient way possible. A client should not have to go to any trouble if you can go to it for them. If you convey this level of dedication and selflessness, you are sure to stand out from other candidates and increase your chances of landing the job.
- Drawing the line between perseverance and pushiness: Before you can bring in new business and assume the responsibility of maintaining existing client relationships, you need to understand that, without clients, there would be no business. There is a basic level of respect and gratitude that all clients deserve, whether or not they choose to enlist your company’s services. If they leave with a positive impression of you, they’ll be all the more likely to call when the need arises.
As a sales professional, the company will expect you to explain your style of communication and how it meshes with their client base. Be open about your personality and the motivations that propel you forward.
Making the most of an interview calls for treating it seriously so you’re at your best on the big day. That includes brushing up on the company’s history, what they stand for, and how they operate. But it also includes you. Your life as a whole is much more important than any interview could hope to be, so go easy on yourself.
Go to bed early enough so that you don’t have to use an alarm in the morning. You’ll feel more rested waking up when your body tells you to. The night before, take five minutes to book a taxi so you can just walk out the door at the appropriate time. You could also meditate or practice positive affirmations, which can be effective remedies for nerves.
There’s nothing like the confidence that comes from preparing yourself to the fullest extent. With answers to every question, and a clear mind ready to deliver them, nothing can stop you from making your best case for the job.