The major aim of every business, regardless of its size is to make a profit. This is why business owners tend to be particular about the type of salesperson they employ. As a sales representative, you’re expected to meet and exceed certain standards.
The duties of a sales representative are crucial to the survival of any business. This is why the vetting process for hiring sales representatives can be very tough and thorough. To give yourself an edge over your counterparts, it always helps to know what prospective employers seek in sales representatives they plan on hiring.
Core Sales Skills:
Active Listening and Empathy
Every employer knows that they can make more sales by getting closer to and understanding their clients. This is where you as a well trained and emotionally intelligent sales rep come in. They need you to be someone who can relate well with prospects and win them over by being empathetic and presenting the brand as an effective solution to the customers’ pain point.
Competitiveness and a Strong Drive to Make Sales
Most businesses look for salespersons who are highly competitive and motivated to succeed. They tend to shy away from reps whose sole motivation is monetary. Will the rep be motivated by extrinsic or intrinsic factors?
Enthusiasm and Confidence
Confidence is key. If a recruiter doesn’t see that confidence in you, they aren’t likely to take you on. Successful businesses demand a high level of enthusiasm and confidence from their sales representatives. Some parts of the sales role can take their toll mentally, it can be a lot of rejection at times. Not letting that affect your confidence is key to this role.
An Ability to Efficiently Multitask
Yes. As unfair as it might seem to you, organizations will always employ people who can multitask over people who can’t any time any day. Businesses are constantly on the lookout for sales representatives who can work on and close multiple deals simultaneously. That might seem like asking for the moon, but there you have it. Another way to break this down could be to look at it as the ability to prioritize effectively.
The backbone of thriving businesses in today’s environment is good strong networking skills. Any potential employer knows this, which is why you need to possess the ability to develop good business relationships, especially in your niche. With traditional ways of networking currently banned due to COVID like events and conferences, companies and reps are having to lean more and more on virtual networking.
Resilience and Persistence
The going won’t always be smooth sailing. There will be dry periods, no matter how hard you work. That’s life in sales. What most business owners want from their salesperson in situations like this is someone who knows how to stay resilient and goal-oriented, regardless of setbacks. it’s not about where you are, it’s about where you’re going.
A particularly important trait in any good salesperson is a strong devotion and commitment to meeting laid out business goals. Yes. Devotion to the cause of your employer is always admired and desired by businesses anywhere in the world.
Even with a glowing referral, most business owners will likely still carry out an interview. This is their way of trying to get to know you, to see if you possess all the qualities they need to further the objectives of their business. So even if you’re the best salesperson out there with tons to offer the business, if you can’t tailor your answers just right, you might not land that job you’re applying for.
Common Sales Interview Questions:
With the above skills in mind, here are some questions you’re likely to encounter in an interview and what they might mean for you as a candidate going through the interview process. Here are some common sales interview questions to get you started!
Explain anything to me?
As simple as this question might be, the answer is given and the manner in which it is delivered says a lot about you and how communicative you are. How do you organize your thoughts? How do you tell a story? How do you speak about the people involved? Your answer here will tell the interviewer more that you think.
If given this job, what do you plan on doing in your first month of employment?
This is often asked to test how proactive a thinker you are. When asked this, you should be able to come up with one or two well laid out plans for yourself in that organization upon employment. A common way to share your thought process is with a quick 30/60/90 day plan. Try to avoid keeping it to a high level. The first 30 days can’t just be your “Sponge Phase”. Include some actionable plans that show how you intend to learn some of the finer points.
Do you have any thoughts on things our business could do better?
Your response to this question should make it clear how creative and innovative a thinker you have. It lets your potential employer know what level of value you’ll be bringing into the business. While you don’t have to strip their business down and build it back up with this question, it shows the interviewer if you’ve done your homework. Is there something in their marketing or branding you could do differently? Is there something about the interview process you’ve seen that could change for the better?
What’s important with a question like this is how you frame your answer. Don’t rag on the employer and convey your idea in a negative light. Stay positive and any feedback is given in a manner to build up and not to tear down.
How do you build a working relationship with a prospect?
99% of the job involves dealing directly with valued customers. This is the business’ major source of profit. It is therefore important to show them that their customers are in safe hands. How do you build rapport? How do you handle small talk? Are you personable in a conversation? These questions can be normally answered with the interactions that happen in the interview.
Would you rather have happy clients or never miss your quota?
Your answer to this should be tendered in a way that lets the recruiter know that you equally value both objectives and wouldn’t needlessly sacrifice one for the other. Even though the question is phrased as a “one or the other”, the interviewer isn’t expecting you to choose one as they are speaking in extremes but it gives context to how you approach goals and failure.
Where do you see yourself with us in the next 5 years?
Be as truthful as you can be here. Let them know your goals in the way it aligns with theirs. If you want to move into management, tell them. If you want to earn a certain dollar amount, tell them. This is the time to see if your idea of growth will match theirs.
What is your motivation?
It is important that you let them see that your drive goes beyond simple things like money. This is one simple way to start earning trust. Like we mentioned above in the skills section, are you motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic factors? There is nothing wrong with being motivated by money, but it’s how you explain it. Your motivation might be to give you kids the “best life possible” and money can play a part in that but isn’t the driving factor.
Do you work well with a team?
Team players, on the whole, tend to achieve more. Give examples of projects where you worked successfully with other people. The interviewer is looking at how you talk about the process of teamwork, not just the result that you achieved. Are you someone who makes the people around them better?
Please give an example of a time you had to think outside the box to close a deal with a prospect?
You’re being asked to sell yourself here. Point out your most significant achievement as a sales representative. Be careful not to come across as pompous or proud. When asked this question, if you don’t have an example in your head already, think and take a few moments to ground yourself before jumping into your answer.
What’s the title of the last book you read? Or the last thing you learned?
Give them an insight into just how much value you place on improving yourself. How do you grow? Is it by reading a book every day? Is it by taking online courses? Do you still have a learning mindset and take opportunities to grow and improve?
What approach would you take to explaining complicated software to a prospect who’s not too familiar with technology?
This is another test to determine your level of patience and communication skills. This is the concept of taking a complex system like a software process and breaking it down into consumable and easy to understand chunks of information.
What traits do you feel every good salesperson should possess?
Most times, this question is asked to offer insight into the ethics you consider important. Be clear about what you represent. This way, a lot of future misunderstandings are avoided.
If you know any other common interviews or you’d like to leave answers as to how to answer some the questions here, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. At Uvaro, our specialty is helping business-oriented individuals be the very best they can be today.