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A good sales job interview

A sales job interview is especially challenging for the job searcher. After all, the interview is more than just an exchange of information, in many ways it is a demonstration of how well you would perform the job you are interviewing for. Consider, for example, someone applying for a computer programming position. It is quite possible that someone could come into a computer programming interview, be nervous, answer questions incomprehensively and still get the job. The interviewer might simply shrug off that bad interview performance, and instead look at their work history and portfolio of completed work. Not so for the salesperson. In many ways, the sales job interview is selling yourself, and you should approach it as such.

Go into your sales job interview as if you are calling on a prospect. Just as before your sales call, you would want to learn as much about that prospect’s needs as possible. In the case of a customer, you want to learn what their problems are, what solutions they have tried already and get a sense of what they believe their solution will be. It’s the same for an interview. You want to learn what the target sales job is expected to sell, what results they are expected to achieve, what environment they will do it in, and any other information that you can gather. For a sales call, you would use what you know about the customer’s needs to suggest the products or services that would best solve those problems. It’s the same way for your sales job interview.
Before you go into the sales job interview, prepare your presentation of your job experience and personal attributes into short stories. Since you know what the target company is looking for, make sure that each of these short stories all highlight desired actions you have taken, results you have achieved and characteristics you have displayed. Practice giving these stories in a natural and organic manner with a friend. Just like your sales pitch, you want to be able to automatically respond to questions and objections with your prepared speeches. During the interview, pay close attention to the interviewer. If you have miscalculated the interests of the target company, you may need to readjust your responses in real time.

After the sales job interview, be sure to thank the interviewer in public and then write a polite thank you note or email. In this email convey your thanks for the interview, express continued interest in the company and invite the interviewer to contact you again for further conversation. As a final flourish, find out some piece of information that the interviewer gave indications that he or she would appreciate receiving. Maybe this information relates to something that the two of you discussed in the professional portion of interview, or the more personal send-off portion. Refer back to that conversation, and pass on that informational gift in a casual and offhand way.

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