A sales interview should be treated no differently to the way any sales exec worth their salt would approach a new business meeting. Turn up on time, look good and want to win. It sounds like a given right?
It therefore baffles me when someone who is the perfect match for the job spec and very good at what they do goes into an interview half-cocked*. This is often due to (a) lack of focus in their job search, (b) a penchant for tyre kicking, (c) a self-inflated opinion of one’s own worth, or dare I say, all of the above!
‘But interviews should be a two way street’ I hear you cry! ‘It’s about deciding if it’s right for you too’. Sure it is, but if you don’t impress quickly then you won’t have this luxury. The decision will be taken out of your hands and the job will be offered to someone who may not have as much experience but who had the right attitude.
So, with a good helping of energy and enthusiasm, here is how you can demonstrate that you have the right attitude:
- Do your homework – Make a few pertinent comments showing you have read the analysts’ reports and have researched the hiring manager’s background.
- Ask to understand – Never assume you know what the hiring manager is looking for. Ask them to validate or expand on what the job spec or the recruiter has told you.
- Show interest – It’s not just about you. Ask good questions about the company vision with which you can align yourself. Taking a few notes will show good sales habits.
- Sell yourself – Once you have validated what they want, show them you’ve got it by the bucket load. Give specific and recent examples, with metrics if possible.
- Close – What are the next steps and have they heard enough information from you to progress? Look to gain some commitment.
- Follow up – Send a prompt email to thank them for their time, summarising why you’d be a great fit for the role and injecting some momentum for the next stage. A little ‘hook’, such as offering up a client reference, can work wonders.
It’s all about maintaining the position of power. Even if you have some reservations prior to the interview, go in to win. If it turns out to be a great opportunity, you can weigh it up against your other options. Thanks to your attitude you should now be in a strong position to negotiate.
1. Informal Inadequately or poorly prepared.
2. Being at the position of half cock. Used of a firearm.
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