November 12

How to Get a Sales Job (If You’ve Never Worked In Sales)

sales interviewLanding 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.

  • Improve your sales skills. Read about sales skills and sales call best practices online, and find some books on sales techniques (one of my favorites is SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, and watch YouTube videos for sales advice.
  • Learn to handle phone interviews. Most initial contacts with recruiters and hiring managers are conducted by phone, because it’s an efficient way to weed out candidates who aren’t going to fit. You must know how to make a good impression so you can land the face-to-face interview.
  • Learn how to write a 30/60/90-day plan. This is a key element to your job interview success–especially if you have no sales experience. It helps the hiring manager understand that you know what it takes to be successful in the job, and helps him “see” you as a sales rep. A 30/60/90-day sales plan is a written outline of what you’d be doing in the first 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days on the job–like training, customer introductions, and going after new accounts. If it’s specific to the company, it lets the hiring manager know that you’ve researched and prepared for THIS job, and you’re very interested in working for this particular company.

2.  Consider getting the How to Get Into Medical Sales kit, even if medical sales is not your chosen sales arena. The core principles of sales are the same no matter what you sell–so what works to get a medical sales job will work with other sales jobs.  In the How to Get Into Medical Sales kit, everything is organized into a a step-by-step, comprehensive guide:

* tips and tricks from my 15 years of experience in placing people in medical sales
* a resume template that will market you
* a bold and persuasive cover letter that captures interest
* a technology sheet –your “secret weapon”
* a thank you note that will be another selling tool for you
* A 30/60/90-day plan – you’ll be prepared and confident — this plan gets job seekers hired even over more qualified candidates

3.   Hire a career coach.  Because this is personalized help, an expert’s advice can move you forward faster than you can imagine–even in as little as an hour. You can talk about your specific situation in detail, to determine the most effective steps you can take to land the job.  When I coach sales job seekers, I like to split up coaching into short sessions over days or weeks, as you implement the suggestions I give you, like this:

  • First 20 minutes: Review your resume, identify your goals, and pinpoint areas you need to improve.  I’ll give you a list of sales books to read to put you ahead of the game, and we’ll set up a ride-along opportunity, if you’d like.
  • Next 20 minute session: Once you’ve read the books and made your resume changes, we’ll discuss the concepts (this makes you perform significantly better in sales interviews) and review your resume (so you can get those interviews).
  • Final 20 minute session: We’ll put together a plan for your ride-along (job shadow) and talk about how to incorporate the keywords you’ll get from it into your resume so that it will get the attention of hiring managers and their Applicant Tracking Systems.

Landing a sales job is hard work, but it’s worth it. I wish you the best of luck.


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