What's the most important sales job interview (and resume) tip?
Quantify Your Experience!
A sales rep's job is to make the sale. So if you're looking for a new sales job, your mission is to demonstrate that you can ring that cash register, and do it well.
Quantify your resume.
In order to get the interview, your resume should be a marketing document for you....your "brochure" that draws them into calling you for an interview. If you are in sales, the numbers you pull down (in terms of customers, dollar amounts of sales, sales rankings, and more) matter a lot. A sales resume is all about the numbers. That's what hiring managers are looking for:
What kind of numbers can you pull down?
What's your sales ranking? Did it increase?
What does your customer/units sold/profit growth look like?
What was your budget?
What kind of revenue have you generated? (Either in actual dollar amounts, or percentage increases.)
Landing your first job in sales (with no experience) can be difficult, but not impossible. Here are 3 great tips for landing a sales job:
1. Work the "Do-It-Yourself" plan.
Arrange a ride-along with a sales rep. See what a typical day is like. Ask questions about the job, find out how to be competitive in the job search and once you get the job. Get a few names to call from places they sell to.
Use the field preceptorship (job shadowing) to fill your resume with keywords that will make sure it's noticed by computerized tracking systems. Your resume should have a sales focus and also highlight your technical background in your field.
To get a recruiter's or a hiring manager's attention for a sales job, you need to pack your resume with keywords relevant to the sales arena you want. Recruiters, hiring managers, and Human Resource departments use computer searches and applicant tracking systems, searching with keywords to find resumes worth looking at further.
If you have experience, this should be relatively easy--but it would be a good idea to go ahead and check out job descriptions and listings to make sure you have the keywords they will use.
If you're new to the area and don't have much experience, you'll have to be a little more creative. (That does NOT mean you should lie on your resume. That's always a bad idea, and you're sure to be found out eventually.) You'll have to look outside of traditional job histories to get the keywords you need for a sales resume.
Sales job interviews are difficult, and your competition is fierce. That means that you're going to have to work a little harder to set yourself apart from the competition and win the job. Smart hiring managers know that all sales reps can talk a good game, so they are looking for the one who can also back it up.
Here are 6 tips that absolutely will help you impress the hiring manager and boost your chances of landing the job:
1. Research the company. A job-winning sales candidate will know:
what the company does
what its current issues are
what its goals are
where its products fit in the marketplace
who the competition is
Take in this information and use it to figure out how you can help them reach their goals....and then frame your answers to interview questions accordingly.
have thought about this job and how you'd be successful
Once I had an entry-level sales candidate call me right before her phone interview. She said, “Hey, do you mind if I ask you a couple questions? I want you to tell me, without worrying about hurting my feelings, what are my weaknesses and what do you perceive are my strengths?”
Sales job interviews are different from other job interviews.
Watch this video to see how they're different, and then check out the tips below for how to prepare for a sales interview.
Prepare for a behavioral event interview. Hiring managers in sales like these because it helps them see how you'll represent the company in everyday situations, as well as in difficult situations like the ones you'll surely be in on the new job. Examples of how you've handled things in the past provide evidence they can use to determine whether you're a good fit for the job. Think about possible behavioral interview questions for a sales position and come up with outstanding examples of your fine selling and customer service skills.
Quantify your interview answers as much as possible. This means providing examples in terms of numbers, dollars, and percentages. The job of a sales rep is to ring the cash register, so show how you've done that.
Bring a 30-60-90-Day Sales Plan. Show your future sales manager how you'd attack the job in the first 90 days. It shows who you are and what you can do, and is the best tool for showing you're the one they should hire.
These questions are pulled from my How to Answer Interview Questions Series. The series contains 101 questions, so feel free to explore and get even more interview answers that will get you the job. Also, Forbes has a great list of 50 questions to ask before hiring sales employees. I encourage you to look over this list for additional questions you may be asked, and practice how you would answer them. When it comes to interviews, it's always better to be over-prepared and ready for anything.
Got a sales job interview coming up? Get ready to talk about your sales strategy. Giving the interviewer a sample sales strategy is a great way to demonstrate how you will operate on the job.
When you are asked about a sample sales strategy, it will likely come in some version of the classic challenge: "Sell me this pen." This is a role-playing exercise that many sales managers love as a part of their job interview questions. After all, there's no better way to see how you sell than to see how you sell.
There are a lot of opinions (ahem...) about this issue, but I will tell you that as a sales recruiter, I can ask this of my candidates and tell what someone's skills are like, or if they are missing skills using this strategy. So this is very valuable to hiring managers, so expect that you may be asked to role-play a sales scenario.
No matter what they ask you to 'sell' to them, the principles and the strategy are the same--just use the same principles you would use in any sales process. I am a big fan of SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implications, Need-payoff.
I received this amazing letter from Russ...with Career Confidential's help, he landed his dream job and boosted his salary and benefits by a total of 76%...plus bonuses!
Just a very satisfied customer here to thank you (and Carl) very much for your great help and advice at Career Confidential that has helped me land a dream regional sales job in the food industry. My new base salary is 48% higher than my current position's base, and if you count all the perks and benefits that my new job has that the old one doesn't, that's a 76% increase over my old baseline, and that's not including any of the performance based compensation (bonus, sales override, and profit sharing). The reasonable first year potential for this role is nearly three times my current compensation!
I could not have landed this job nor negotiated this compensation package without the great information and advice that I have received from Career Confidential. The 30-60-90 Day Plan, "closing for the job," and other tips that I learned from your bi-weekly calls and other materials, as well as the confidence I gained are directly responsible for this great outcome.
As a sales recruiter, I expect a certain kind of answer when I ask someone that during the initial phone interview. But in many cases, I don't get it. In the video below, I'll let you in on what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for when they ask you about your sales style.