Perhaps more than in any other industry, interview technique is of huge importance for sales professionals – after all, if you can’t sell yourself, how can you be expected to sell anything else? A sales interview should be approached in similar fashion to a sales pitch. You should prepare thoroughly, know your product inside out, speak with confidence and conviction, and be able to back up your claims with solid facts and figures. Here are 5 tips to help you ace any sales interview.
Know your figures like the back of your hand
It may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many good salespeople go into interviews without having a proper handle on their figures. No matter how confidently you speak or how much you charm the interviewer, they’re never going to hire you without cold, hard evidence that you can deliver results. For all of your recent positions, you should know how much revenue you generated personally, how much revenue your team generated, how often you met or exceeded your targets, and the percentage by which you exceeded them. Having a good handle on your figures shows that you’ve got a target-oriented attitude towards your work, so the more detail you can provide, the better.
Have your KPIs ready
Of course, your revenue figures are the most important thing on your CV, but most interviewers will want to know about your other KPIs – specifically what your targets were and how often you were able to meet them. Depending on your industry and the job you’re going for, this may be how many calls you made a day, how many sales visits you arranged, your average lead response time or your lead conversion rate. The important thing is to work out which KPIs are the most important for the job you’re applying for, and make sure you are ready to reel them off when asked.
Give real-life examples
Whilst figures and KPIs are the cornerstone of any strong sales CV, it’s crucial that you can back these up with real-life examples so your interviewer can see how they were achieved. Perhaps there was one account that you were particularly proud of winning, or one deal you worked especially hard to close; make sure you can speak in detail about your process, the difficulties you faced and how you overcame them.
Know your motivation
When interviewing for target-oriented roles, there’s nothing wrong with saying that your primary motivation is financial. In fact, for many commission-based roles, the interviewer will want candidates who are strongly money-motivated as this shows a real drive and desire to succeed within a competitive environment. Whatever it is that motivates you – whether that is money, personal pride or a desire to make it to the top of your industry – make sure you are able to answer the question effectively and convincingly.
Clearly, confidence is an important trait for a sales professional, but there’s a line between confidence and arrogance, and it’s crucial to remain on the right side of that line. Humility, the ability to acknowledge your weaknesses and the desire to improve are all desirable characteristics, and it’s important that you display these to you interviewer as well. After all, no one wants to work with someone who comes across as unpleasant or conceited, no matter how impressive their figures. Just like in any interview, your chances will be greatly improved if you can build a rapport with your interviewer, so make sure you come across as friendly and approachable at all times.