© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
In one sense, a sales job interview is one of the easiest interviews to excel in. In sales, results are everything. If you are up for a sales interview, you aren't going to need to worry about whether your academic credentials are impressive enough, whether you have played the office politics well enough or anything unrelated to your ability to turn prospects into sales. On the other hand, a sales job interview presents a very real challenge. Your ability to get a sales job depends on the same skills that you need to sell yourself to the interviewer. So if you have a bad day, then you can't expect for your other impressive characteristics on your resume to save you.
Because of the importance of a sales job interview, preparing ahead of time is especially important. Of all the research you do, the focus should be on discovering the kinds of information the interviewer is hoping to receive from you that will let him or her know that you would be a success on the job. Another way of conveying this information is to discover the problems that you must solve on the job and showing your ability to do it. Though it's commonly said that if you can sell, you can sell anything to anyone, not all companies and sales professionals confront the same challenges. For instance, if you are going for a sales job at a company which specializes in high-cost, specialized products purchased by high-level, sophisticated corporate customers there are a lot of different problems the sales force must solve than a company which makes simple, low-cost goods sold to individuals at the retail level.
In your sales job interview at the high technology company, you would want to discuss the success that you have had at solving the most relevant problems. For such a company, finding, developing and retaining each high-value, high-sophistication client would be imperative. Stories and examples of success at problems more common at the retail level sales job won't be as impressive. To get a better idea of what kind of problems your target company faces, research the company online, in the trade press and in your own social network. Become familiar with their product line, their customer base and the strategies they use to sell to them. All of this information should be used as a way of helping you prepare your responses for the sales job interview.
During the interview, you will respond to questions about your experience meeting the relevant challenges with stories and examples from your life. Those responses show that you aren't merely speaking from theory and ideas about what makes a sale professional successful, but rather have the real world experience of success. Just as you would prefer to talk about how your product HAS benefited its users instead of how it COULD benefit them, you will want to keep the focus on proven, vivid evidence.
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