(Part 2 of a 3-Part Series “So You Want a Job In Sales”)
By Barry Breit, Co-founder, Pro Resume Center, LLC
In my previous post, the first article in this 3-part series, “So You Want a Job in Sales,” I shared with you the top things you should consider if thinking of applying for a sales position.
Now that you see yourself working in sales, you should learn some of the top traits to convey to hiring managers during your interview. After years in sales, as both an associate and manager, there were certain key traits I looked for when interviewing for my next successful sales hire.
The best interviewee figured out before they stepped into my office that the interview was his or her chance to show me how well they could do in sales. They asked the right questions and listened where appropriate. They knew how to discreetly guide the interview process to a mutually successful result.
It was magical to watch the skilled sales pro go to work.
The sales job interview presents job seekers with an opportunity to sell and market themselves to hiring managers. This means that everything you say and everything you do in a sales interview is measured against your ability to sell for that company.
Nerve racking? Maybe. But, proper preparation can help give you the confidence you need to convey your competence during the interview. Read on for the top traits to convey during a sale job interview:
The Top 5 Traits to Convey in a Sales Interview
1. You know when and how to ask open-ended questions and try to apply the 80/20 rule. You know how to pose your questions in such a way that you have the customer talking 80 percent of the time and you are talking 20 percent of the time, building up to your final closing statements by getting the responses you need from the client to do so.
2. You are an active listener and understand how to use clarifying questions that not only show you are listening, but also help you get the information needed to make the pitch and your final close.
3. You have impeccable organizational skills, and can organize and prioritize your day, tasks, thoughts, and resources to increase your sales quota, continue your education in the industry and improve your selling skills. Sales positions are often self-managed position. A hiring manager wants to know that you know how to design and manage your day for success.
4. You understand relationship building: customer/brand loyalty, repeat sales, word of mouth. You get that it's cheaper to keep a customer than it is to earn a new one; that you have to work to keep someone's business, just like you have to work to earn it. This could mean, depending on the type of company and sales situation, just small ways of keeping in contact, and other times much bigger ways like stopping in for a visit to say hello every so often, taking them to lunch, inviting them to sporting events, etc.
5. That you know how to sell value, not price. No matter what company you work for, at one time or another you will encounter a situation where your prices are higher than the competition. Understand the importance of open-ended questions and follow the 80/20 rule to help them realize the value of the service or product you are providing.
Finally, understand that YOU ARE ALWAYS CLOSING – in the interview as well as throughout the sales process.
The sales process is about implementing trial closes throughout the discussion, where you ask the customer a question were you know the answer will be yes, which in turn builds a “yes momentum.” So when you do get to your hard close question, they are more likely to say yes, because they have been saying yes throughout the entire process.
Everything you say in the interview –your questions and responses – will be viewed as an indicator of how well you know how to conduct a sale. The hiring manager will catch – and admire – the subtle nuances of the skilled salesperson who can showcase their skills during the job interview. Just like you would in the sales process, everything you say during the interview should be laying the framework for you to “close the sale” during the job interview.
And the end goal for your interview, if you like what you hear and it seems like it would be a good fit for your growth and success, is to hear the hiring manager say, “Yes, so, when can you start?”
(To read Part 3 of “So You Want a Job in Sales” CLICK HERE)
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