Congratulations, you just got your first sales interview!
Are you pumped about this new opportunity? Are you also feeling a little (or a lot) nervous about making a good impression and landing the job?
Sales interviews can definitely be nerve-wracking. Luckily, we’ve got 5 great sales interview tips that can help you walk in with confidence and show the interviewer why you’re an awesome candidate.
Let’s get started!
1. Focus On Building Relationships
If you want to be a successful salesperson, you need to go into every interview (and every other type of interaction, for that matter) with a focus on building relationships.
Strong relationships are essential in the sales world. Your interviewer knows this, and they want to know that you know it, too.
The goal should be to show them that you can be personable and that you can connect with someone right off the bat. This helps them to get a sense of how you’ll act when you’re meeting with potential clients.
How do you show off your relationship-building skills? Here are some pre-interview steps to take that can help:
- Do some digging: If possible, find out who will be interviewing you for the sales position and do some research on them; Start by checking out their companies Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles
- Make a list of common interests: When reviewing the interviewer’s personal LinkedIn presence, make note of some common interests that you two share; For example, did they attend the same school as you? Do you like the same sports team?
- Review your notes: Before the interview, go over your notes and commit a couple of talking points to memory; you don’t want to look like a full-blown stalker, but you do want to show that you’ve done your research and are prepared
Now, take this information and get ready to take the interviewer by storm.
One of the best ways to make a connection during the interview is to make some small talk. Initiate a conversation about something you two have in common, and be enthusiastic about it.
Make sure you’re adding to the conversation, too, and showing your personality. Don’t just nod along with whatever the interviewer says or give basic “yes/no” answers.
2. Be Simple And Concise When Describing Sales Experience
During any job interview, you’re going to be asked a question or two about your past experience. Sales interviews are no exception to this rule.
When your interviewer asks you to share some details about your sales experience, aim to make your response as simple and concise as possible. Remember, brevity is almost always ideal when you’re answering any type of question in a job interview.
Your interviewer is a busy person. They’ve likely already met with a lot of candidates and have more people coming in to interview for the job after you.
If you get straight to the point when talking about your experience, you’ll show that you are respectful of their time and don’t want to waste it with long, rambling stories.
To avoid overdoing it when sharing your experience, focus on answering these important questions:
- Have you ever sold anything before?
- What products or services have you sold?
- Who were your clients?
- Is your experience relevant to this particular company’s industry?
Make sure your answers are detailed enough to prove that they’re legitimate (i.e., you’re not just making stuff up as you go). However, do your best to still keep them as brief as possible.
3. Have Tangible Examples Present If Possible
When answering questions about your past sales experience, it’s also great if you can provide tangible examples. Admittedly, not the craziest of sales interview tips.
Remember, as a salesperson, you’re responsible for helping to boost the business’s bottom line. If you can give your interviewer some numbers to latch onto, it’ll be easier for them to contextualize your responses and determine whether or not you’re a good fit for their company.
Not sure what kinds of numbers you should provide during the interview? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What key metrics have my past supervisors used to measure success?
- What were the total revenues of my past sales portfolios?
- What were the total annual revenues for my past clients?
- Did I manage a budget during my last position? How big was it?
- Do I have any major wins or key projects in my past? If so, what were their numeric results?
Write down these numbers before you head into your interview. Then, if an opportunity arises, try to find a way to work them into the conversation.
For example, in response to a question about the type of workload you’ve handled in the past, you might mention that your last job required you to manage a sales portfolio of over 100 customers.
4. Showcase Your Soft Skills At Work
Tangible results and hard numbers are important when you’re interviewing for a sales position. There’s no doubt about it. Don’t underestimate the value of soft skills, too.
Soft skills are personality traits that play an important role in determining someone’s success on the job. The following are some examples of soft skills that will come in handy when applying for jobs in the sales world:
- Networking and relationship-building
- Time management
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Conflict resolution
- Creative problem-solving
Showcasing your soft skills is a good way to show that you’re a well-rounded employee who knows how to work as part of a team.
Emphasizing these skills can also be particularly helpful if you don’t currently have a lot of sales experience. If you show that you are a good collaborator, eager to learn, and good at managing your time, you can make up for a lack of tangible data and prove that you’ll still be an asset to the company.
5. Show You’re Action Oriented
Finally, you can make a better impression on your interviewer if you show up to the interview with an action plan.
Don’t just talk vaguely about how you’d like to work for the company or why you think you’d be a good addition to the team. Get specific and offer examples of how you’ll make the sales team better and help the company to thrive.
This might seem a bit presumptuous at first. Keep in mind, though, that sales jobs are all about going above and beyond for the company and the client. If you can show during the job interview that you’re willing to work hard and go the extra mile, that’ll help you stand out from the other applicants.
Your interviewer is likely meeting with dozens of people, after all. It’ll be easy for them to forget you if your responses are generic. They’ll surely remember the person who came in with a detailed action plan, though.
What kinds of points should you cover in your action plan? Start by talking about what you intend to do during your first month on the job. How will you learn the different systems or get familiar with the products or services the company sells?
Then, move on to the steps you plan to take to get to know the company’s target audience and build relationships with potential customers. Finally, offer some specific ideas on how you’ll bring in new clients and make a positive impact on the business overall.
Not only does presenting an action plan show that you’re willing to go above and beyond for the company, but it also gives the interviewer some insight into how you tackle problems. This, in turn, helps them to determine whether or not you’ll be a positive addition to their team.
Time to Put These Sales Interview Tips to the Test
It’s understandable if you’re feeling intimidated about going in for your first sales job interview. If you keep these sales interview tips in mind, though, you’ll have an easier time feeling confident and making an excellent first impression.
Do you need additional help landing a great sales role?
If so, don’t forget that Uvaro does more than just provide awesome sales interview tips! Our 12-week training program offers live classes agency services that can help you find a great job in no time! Want to learn more? Grab our course syllabus or speak with an admissions consultant to get started today!