1 year ago
April 13, 2016

5 Steps to Successful Sales Interviews

Sales interviews do not need to be a stressful experience. Follow these five steps to sales interviews to ensure interview success.

Rhys Metler

Sales interviews do not need to be a stressful experience. By preparing adequately for your sales interviews you can free yourself to focus on what matters the most, showcasing your talents and fit for a desirable sales position that will advance your career. Follow these five steps to sales interviews to ensure interview success.

1. Research

You never want to go into sales interviews without adequate information about your potential employer. This can be especially damaging when questions arise about your knowledge of the company and particular interests. When researching the company in question, go beyond a casual perusal of the website. Note articles or information that catch your attention and dig deep:

  • What is the company history and where do they plan on directing their business?
  • What services and products do they provide and how do they differ from others on the market?
  • What competitive advantages has the company gained, and what future competitive advantages might the company be aiming to achieve?

2. Focus on Outcomes and Preparing Your Answers

Naturally, phrasing is key when in a sales interview dialogue. You might be asked not only to describe your greatest successes but your greatest missed opportunities as well. Instead of answering negatively or passively, phrase your answers in a way that touches on how your qualifications and good qualities were more strongly developed from such experiences. Redirect the conversation to show that in the end, those experiences came out as successes. Additionally, make sure that during sales interviews you focus on your goals for the position and what results you’d strive for. How will your work affect the company’s desired outcomes? Plan an assertive outline of your goals on a defined timescale: 30/60/90 days, 6 months, a year, and beyond.

3. Bringing More To The Table Than Your Resume

You have done your research and prepared to articulate how you are a great fit for the role; you have written a cover letter and readied multiple copies of your resume. Yet to keep a competitive edge in sales interviews, you need to include additional documented materials to submit for the interviewer’s reference. While any sales candidate can provide sales quotas, presenting these written materials together as a “brag book” during sales interviews expounds your achievements and character. Items that can be included are:

  • Resume and references
  • Outlined goals within a framed time period
  • Sales quota certifications
  • Client letters and letters of recommendation
  • Intercompany documentation reflecting increased revenues and ranking sheets
  • Published articles and/or other sample work

Keep in mind, it’s best to bring at least one “brag book” for professional presentation in a binder or portfolio to discuss during sales interviews and a second you can leave behind for the interviewer.

4. It’s About Your Needs Too

Sales interviews are a route to learning more about the company as well as a route to the company learning more about you. Prepare questions ahead of arriving to sales interviews so that you can lead into inquiries about the company. When you ask questions during sales interviews, you can better determine whether the company is the right fit and will provide the challenges and experience you are looking for.

5. Closing the Interview With Your ABC’s

Sales interviews are prime opportunities to showcase your “Always Be Closing” skill set. Like any sale, be aware of your delivery; aggressively over closing tells the interviewer you may be uncertain that you’re the right candidate for the position. Instead, display soft closing techniques. Include statements in your dialogue to gently elicit responses from your potential employer on how they view your skills, education, and accomplishments. Further develop the conversation by bridging back to your qualifications, and move forward by asking what other factors are important to them. Lastly, as with all closings, end your sales interview questioning what step you should take next. 

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.