Sell Yourself: 10 Expert Tips For Acing Your Next Sales Interview

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Your resume, CV or LinkedIn profile is almost like a company brochure. It’s the marketing that attracts people to you. Maybe they either reached out to you cold, or perhaps you responded to an ad, and you’re applying for this position. While a resume gets your foot in the door, once you get that interview, now you have to sell yourself. For the last few months, we have been actively hiring sales reps and so have been doing a lot of interviews. In this time, we’ve seen it all. That’s not to say it’s impossible to succeed and get the job you want. You just have to prepare. That’s why In this episode of the Selling in Asia Podcast, Elaine Brindamoor, COO at SOCO Sales Training, joins CEO Tom Abbott to discuss several expert tips for acing your next sales interview.

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What to Avoid During Sales Interviews

Before we dive into tips for acing your sales interview, let’s first explore what you should avoid doing at all costs:

1. Making a Bad First Impression

A sales interview is more like a sales call or sales meeting. So you’ve got to put your best foot forward by ensuring you’re presenting yourself in the best way.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Tom Abbott, SOCO Sales Training

A sales interview is more like a sales call or sales meeting. So you’ve got to put your best foot forward by ensuring you’re presenting yourself in the best way.

Making a solid first impression with your interviewer can demonstrate that you have the skills necessary to earn customers’ trust and business. Ways to do so include:

  • Dressing professionally
  • Speaking confidently and clearly
  • A warm, genuine smile
  • Maintaining appropriate eye contact
  • An introduction that acknowledges the interviewer’s position and name

2. Not Knowing the Interviewer’s Name

Believe it or not, Tom has had a fair share of interviewees call him “Tim” or “Tony.” Not only does this show that they didn’t research the company or even check out his LinkedIn profile, but it also easily frustrates interviewers. No one wants to correct someone they just met, as it causes tension for the rest of the meeting.

3. Not Doing Company Research Beforehand

Following on from our last point, why even have a sales interview if you don’t research the company beforehand? Before your meeting, it would be best to learn everything you can to make yourself knowledgeable about the role, the company and potential colleagues. Not doing so will be a direct waste of the interviewer’s time, and they will likely not take you seriously.

What to Do Before Sales Interviews

4. Practice Mock Sales Interviews

If you struggle in interviews, do mock interviews or do role plays in the same way that our training programs do. We get people to do role plays and mock sales presentations to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Overall helping them to get comfortable with those natural feelings that come up during interviews.

You can easily do these on zoom, with a camera or even on your handphone to just record yourself in an interview situation. That way, just like a sales meeting, you can go back and review it. For example, do you say too many “ums” or “ahs”, pause too long or sweat during the interview?

Practice your answers by looking up common sales interview questions, and practice your answers. Doing so will ensure your interviewers understand your answers and think you’re confident in what you’re saying.

What to Do During Sales Interviews

5. Look Professional & Be Confident

This best practice applies to every interview, let alone sales jobs. Making a positive first impression with customers, leads and clients is a crucial aspect of any sales position.

“The way you are with me on an interview is probably how you’re gonna’ be on a sales call.”

Tom Abbott

By making a strong, personable and confident first impression with your interviewer, you’ll demonstrate that you have the skills necessary to earn customers’ trust and business. Including:

6. Be Punctual

While it really should go without saying, you must be on time. That’s why Tom advises that being on time is actually being late. Ideally, you want to arrive 5-10 minutes early for the sales interview. Not only does this demonstrate your forethought and respect for the interviewer’s time, but you will show clients and customers the same courtesy.

Remember, everything takes longer than you think. If you’re meeting in person, account for all the barriers like parking, checking in and finding the room. If you’re meeting virtually, ensure your audio, video and internet connection are working sufficiently, allowing time to ensure you’re also early to join the call.

7. Ask the Right Questions

Remember, a sales interview works both ways. You’re also there to interview the company and see if they’re the right fit for your career and aspirations.

While your interviewer will naturally answer some questions during the interview, here are some potential questions to ask your interviewer when asked:

  • What are your quotas?
  • How do you recognise employee achievements?
  • How would you describe your company culture?
  • How long is each stage of the sales cycle?
  • Do you sell high-end products that require a long relationship with a prospect?

8. Know your Long-Term Goals

Interviewers always want to know how ambitious you are, especially in a sales role. We want to know how much dedication you have to stay in that role, or we may wonder if you will be looking for another opportunity quickly.

Unfortunately, if you are a perpetual job hopper, it may appear that you’re always looking for the next best thing. Yet not willing to invest the time and effort in the role that you’re in to grow.

Preparing 2-3 long-term goals will demonstrate how you see yourself integrating into the company and position. Bonus points if you can align them with the company’s mission and vision.

9. Demonstrate a Passion for Learning

Interviewers expect sales candidates to be life-long learners. They want high-performance sales professionals who thrive on discovering new knowledge. Then use it to transform their customers’ lives for the better.

When they come with that, we know that there’s serious about their role. They’re serious about getting better and that when they come on board, they will already have some great skills.

Tom Abbott

Such individuals understand that being a lifelong learner is the defining factor that will separate you from everybody else and make you a substantial asset to a company.

While some may ask you for your favourite sales book, you don’t necessarily need one. You can easily demonstrate your interest by listing your top three sales podcasts or YouTube channels you subscribe to; chances are they know them.

What to Do After Sales Interviews

10. Follow Up

A natural salesperson will ensure they follow up with the interviewer, much like they continue to contact prospects or customers after an initial pitch or purchase to encourage them to take action. 

Whether it’s an SMS, a WhatsApp, an email, or a LinkedIn message, whatever they prefer to speak and say: 

“Hey, thanks for meeting with me today. I really enjoyed our conversation about my prior experience. I think I could be a really great fit for this role.”

Doing so will have the following effects:

  • They will know you’re keen and won’t bail so quickly into employment.
  • You demonstrate your knowledge of the sales process and application skills. 

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