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Preparing for a Successful Sales Job Interview

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Sales Job Interview Interview Skills

The most important element of a great interview?

Preparation, preparation, preparation!

Even if you are the greatest sales person the world has ever known, without even a little cursory preparation before your interview, you will not be able to come across in the best way possible, meaning you will not be able to negotiate the package you deserve.

There are three key areas of preparation before a sales job interview – making sure your first impression is the right impression, preparing answers that are impressive and accurate and the practical preparation for your journey to the interview itself. Each of these areas needs your full attention to ensure that you represent yourself and your skills.

Once you have received confirmation of your interview for a potential new sales job, work through these three areas of preparation and you will be at the peak of perfection just in time to wow your new employers!

Making the Right First Impression – Get the Right Look

Think about what you want your first impression to be and then you can make sure that you are dressed appropriately. This is especially important if you are trying to find a new sales job in a different sector to that in which you have previously worked.

For example, if you are coming from a pharmaceutical sales background, where sharps suits are the order of the day, but are going for an interview to work in a creative sales role, you need to make sure that you look suitable for the new, target industry. Don’t just put on your pinstripe suit and expect the creative agency to see how you would fit in – tailor your look. Maybe add some sneakers to your suit with a printed t-shirt?

Similarly, if you are going for an interview with an ultra conservative company, don’t saunter in with a polo neck and heavy glasses.

Prepare Your Answers

Although you cannot know exactly what you will be asked, there is a fair chance that the majority of the interview will be on common topics – your sales figures, salary expectations, what you can bring to the company and so on. Popular interview questions are popular for a reason – they allow the interviewer to see if they want to employ that person.

Preparing your answers will give you a sense of calm before the interview and will enable you to present yourself in the best possible manner. Just be careful that you do not sound unnatural, as though you are reading from a script. There is no need to prepare every word of the answer, just be aware of the facts, figures and results of your career to date.

If there is a particular gaping whole on your CV, or a piece of negative information about you that they may know, have a credible answer prepared. But you don’t have to tell them – wait until you are asked.

Practical Preparation

All those Boy Scout rules are coming in handy – you really must be prepared! Think about the timing of the interview – are you likely to see someone from your current pace of work? Are you planning to take a day off, or sneak the interview into another ‘client visit’? Be careful who you may see – or may see you – at tube stations or in cabs when you said you were going in the other direction.

Allow plenty of time to get to the interview – sounds basic, but how many times have you actually checked the route before an interview?

You really do owe it to yourself to be as well prepared as possible before an interview for a sales job, as it will be a pressured situation. By preparing your interview skills and thinking in advance about how you will answer difficult interview questions, you are at least giving yourself the best chance to bag a great new sales job.

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