1 year ago
April 18, 2016

5 Steps to Getting That Sales Interview

By using the following five steps, you can get that sales interview and boost your career.

Rhys Metler

Getting that sales interview is your first step on a successful career path in the sales industry. Finding a new sales job can be extra challenging. Not only do you have to pass the normal hurdles that all job seekers face (such as polishing your resume and working on your interview skills), but you also have to demonstrate your sales skills to prove that you’re the best person for the job.

By using the following five steps, you can get that sales interview and boost your career.

Do Your Sales Interview Research

Before you ever send off a resume, research the firms you’re interested in gaining a sales interview with. Learn about how they view their market, who their primary customers are, and how they communicate about themselves and their sales reps. You can use online resources for much of this information, but it’s also wise to talk with people who have firsthand experience with these firms.

Through your personal network or your LinkedIn contacts, you may already know people who are employed at the firms where you’d like to land a sales interview. Ask these people what they like about working there and what the hiring managers are looking for. Also ask these people which hiring managers would be most receptive to your application. 

The information you glean from your research can help you to frame your resume and cover letter specifically for that position. Hiring managers are much more receptive to cover letters and candidates who appear interested in their companies and already know about the products and services they would be selling.

Construct Your Narrative

Everyone has a story, but not everyone can articulate it well. If you can explain in a cover letter how you would fit into an organization based on your personal narrative, you’ll be much more likely to get a sales interview. Facts and achievements are nice, but people love stories. Stories give people a better idea of who you are. A good story makes you three-dimensional, not just a bunch of data points on a piece of paper.

Additionally, if you’re able to tell a good story to sell yourself, hiring managers will figure that you can do the same to sell their products. What kinds of stories could you use in your cover letter? Think about a specific life experience that has led you to your current career interests. Maybe a high school chemistry teacher really turned your head toward chemistry, which is why you’ve been working in the chemical industry. Maybe your brother’s disability led you to working with prosthetics. Whatever your story, make it uniquely yours if you want to land a sales interview.

Polish Your Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letters are like your agents. They go out before you, trying to get introductions. Since you have complete control over these “agents,” make them as professional as humanly possible. Have friends or professional writers double and triple check these documents for spelling and grammatical errors. Professional resumes and cover letters can go far toward helping you to land a sales interview.

Be Professional

From the very first time you contact a firm about employment, be as professional as possible. If you deliver your resume by hand, pay attention to your posture, tone of voice, and dress. Be polite, use good eye contact, and be confident without being condescending. In your phone conversations and emails, don’t be overly casual, but do treat others with respect and kindness.

Be Assertive

If you’ve submitted a stellar resume to a company you’ve thoroughly researched, and it’s been several weeks with no word, be assertive and call the hiring manager. Sometimes a ten-minute conversation can go farther toward getting a sales interview than the most in-depth application. It can be scary to call a stranger and ask for a sales interview, but sometimes it’s the very best thing.

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.