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How to succeed during your sales interview

Written by Kimberley Startup | November 14, 2013 | 3 Comments
Sales-interview-successSo you think you’ve got what it takes to work in sales? The art of being a successful sales person can be a challenge and isn’t for the faint hearted, but if you’re driven, enthusiastic and enjoy a challenge, it could be the perfect career for you.
It’s also worth remembering that although working in sales can be tough at times, it often comes with many added perks, including enticing bonuses.
If you’ve aced the application, next up is the interview, so how can you ensure you pass it with flying colours? Here are Webrecruit’s top tips.

Consider your personality

Being a successful sales person has a lot to do with personality; your interviewer will likely ask you how you describe yourself, so ensure you consider your traits wisely. They are likely to be looking for some traits, including passion, trustworthiness and self-confidence.

Skills and experience

When preparing for your interview list out your relevant skills and experience. Your interviewer will be looking for a natural leader so try to think of a time that you demonstrated this. If you’re good at maths, mention this and how you’ve found it helpful when being asked to offer percentage discounts at the drop of a hat.

Know your numbers

If you have previous experience in a sales role, make sure you know your numbers. Be prepared to give exact answers of your monthly sales, your percentage sales vs. target and how you compared to your previous team.

Research the company

Make sure you know what you’re selling and to whom. Dig around the company website or even ask for any helpful reading material prior to your interview. Jot down what you think are their USPs.

Dress sharp

It may sound obvious but do make sure that you dress your best. Even if the role is a telesales position, there may still be occasions where you will get to meet with clients, therefore your interviewer will want to be able to visualise you presenting to a key client.

Consider some techniques

Sales teams can often hit ruts and for that reason the input of the full team is important for pushing through during slow periods. Your interviewer is likely to ask you how you might target new clients so prepare some ideas and be ready to have them challenged.

Pressure and rejection

You will likely be asked about your experience of working to targets. From this question the interviewer is trying to gauge how you deal with pressure and also how you cope with rejection – be honest; consider the saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Who are you

In your new role it’s important that you gel with the team and your interviewer will want to know what you do in your free time. Consider your response wisely and think on your feet; if you spotted a photo of children on your interviewer’s desk and have children of your own then mention them. Also, if your interviewer is clearly physically fit, and you love sport, get that in.

End on a high note

Take charge when closing the interview; ensure you have some killer questions prepared, such as ‘What don’t you look for in a candidate?’ This question allows you a chance to save yourself, if your interviewer answers with something you stated about yourself previously. And don’t forget to give a firm handshake on your exit and then leave professionally – remember you may be being watched on your exit so make sure you don’t snog your partner who’s been waiting in the car or chain smoke whilst walking past the building.
If you’re looking for a role in sales, visit Webrecruit’s search for jobs page here.

3 thoughts on “How to succeed during your sales interview

  1. Aly on Reply

    Indeed these tips are beneficial if you are preparing for the sales interview. I have been selected as the sales employee in one of the company and most of the factors were the same that you have mentioned above. One should focus on these tips to get beneficial results these factors were judged by many once you were interviewed.

    1. Kim Startup on Reply

      Hi Nisha – great question, I would advise looking at your experience in your career and education to date and seeing how these could be suitable for a position in sales and then highlight this within your application. If you have worked with customers in a previous role, mention how this has developed your communication skills – presenting your experience to date in a relevant context to a sales role will help your recruiter see how you could fit the position. Hope this helps.

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