How to Prepare for a Sales Interview – The Do’s and Don’ts

Working in sales has a lot of benefits with many positions offering competitive salaries plus commission, career recognition, plus extra benefits like company cars and wellness perks just to name a few! All these perks mean careers in sales are highly desirable, so to win over employers and secure a role against other candidates, a high level of preparation for a sales interview is vital. For most roles in sales, a degree isn’t necessary – a can-do attitude and ambition will be what employers look for. Interviews can be incredibly intense and stressful, however if you follow these do’s and don’ts, your interview can be a successful experience!

1. Do learn the company like the back of your hand

Interviews offer the opportunity for not only employers to meet a potential candidate, but to measure how suitable they are for the company. For candidates, now is the time to show off – prior the interview, make sure that you have researched the company. Familiarise yourself with exactly what they sell and their competition, research their plans for the future of the company, and their company targets. Look up the company website, go over their LinkedIn profile, and be confident in exactly who the company is and what they do. By being able to confidently speak about the company to the interviewer, it shows diligence and attentiveness which go a long way, especially in sales!

2. Do prepare and anticipate everything

As with every interview, in order to succeed, preparation is key. If the interview is in person, make sure you know exactly where it takes place and do a practice run travelling there. Remember, on the day there may be terrible traffic, long delays, or the weather conditions might affect the journey. Anticipate any factors which may potentially cause delays!

If the interview takes place over video, prepare a quiet place with a good, strong Wi-Fi connection. Anticipate any factors which may affect the call (a dog barking, shouting kids, or an alarm going off!) – ensure your Wi-Fi router is up and running, make sure that nobody walks in and interrupts the interview, and make sure you’re in a suitable environment – somewhere with a plain background, and with no distractions.

3. Don’t dress too casually – first impressions count!

For any interview, the way a candidate is dressed is the very first impression given to an employer. Remember that the employer will be visualising you speaking to clients and making sales, therefore presentation is incredibly important. Make sure you dress appropriately for the interview – if in doubt on what to wear, just think that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Although the company culture may be casual and the Instagram shows staff in jeans and trainers in the office, turning up to an interview in trainers may give off the wrong impression and make you look unprofessional. Stick to dressing more formal than casual when going in for the interview – first impressions matter!

4. Don’t do the bare minimum – show an interest

Although this may seem like an obvious point, a way to increase your chances of securing the role is to show a strong interest in sales and the role! When going to the interview, make a mental note or bring in evidence of your sales achievements, as this not only presents your capability of performing within a sales role, but it presents you as an organised individual. Familiarise yourself with the job description and understanding exactly what is being asked of you, and get to know what area of sales you would be in. During the interview, take advantage of any chances you may get to ask questions. Asking questions and being inquisitive in the interview will not only benefit you by finding out more about the job but can show an employer how interested you are in the role. Another way to impress your interviewer and show your interest is to research the individual interviewing you – find out about their sales background in order to establish a better connection and discover a conversation starter.

Examples of questions to ask:

“What is an average day like for a person in this position?”  This can give you an understanding of what the role involves, and what exactly you would be doing.

“What are your company values?” Unless these have not been yet discussed or not on the company website, asking about the company values enables you to understand what the company culture is like as well as showing a genuine interest in working in the company.

“What opportunities are there to grow in the company?” By asking about progression in the company, it shows your ambition as well as commitment to the job role.

5. Do explain your sales strategies and processes

When interviewing for a sales position, the employer may ask you about your sales strategies and processes. Explain your sales processes and how you have previously achieved sales in order to present the employer your diligence and confidence in the job. If suitable, draw from your previous sales experiences (keep in mind some of this information may be private) and identify potential sales opportunities for the company, as this will show initiative, present how you can add value to the role, and differentiate you against other candidates. During the interview, be prepared to discuss every aspect of your CV including key achievements and career highlights, as this can present how you reached targets and demonstrates your success within sales. Being able to confidently discuss your sales strategies, processes, and your CV will impress the interviewer and show your proficiency in a sales role. Equally, be prepared to answer any questions regarding any gaps on your CV.

If you have got a sales interview lined up, just follow these tips in order to have a successful experience! If you are looking for a career in sales, then please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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