Sales can be a tricky business to get into, but it can also be extremely lucrative. Being prepared for an interview is essential. If you have stated on your resume that you are a confident, go-getting salesman and become tongue tied at the interview stage, you can kiss your sales opportunity goodbye. Luckily, there is a fairly standard structure to sales interviews, allowing you to prepare your witty answers and anecdotes well ahead of time.
Sell This Pen...
This request may seem slightly cliché, but it is still commonly used in sales interviews and training sessions. The object in question may not even be a pen, but whatever it is this has the desired result of putting you on the spot. It requires you to use your initiative and get creative in thinking of all the positive points you could use to sell even the most mundane object. If you do get asked a question like this in your interview, the best method is to relax and have fun with your answer.
What experience do you have in working to targets? In this question, the employer may be looking for you to convey that you are driven and confident in working to targets, and that you have the ability to meet them. If you have any experience in working to targets then draw on it – it doesn't have to be in a sales workplace; you could have targets or objectives in many professions and even in education. Detail the experience you have and comment on how you like working to targets – something like "I like to push myself to go the extra mile" or "I enjoy the pressure of a target driven environment."
When have you gone the extra mile for a customer? Although the hard sell may be one aspect of a job in sales, don't forget the other side to the coin. Employees will want to know about your customer care skills – would you listen to a customer or client's complaint or query and show understanding and respect? Would you work to find the best possible solution to their problem? Sales positions will often also require customer service skills within them, as you will need to be able to overcome any problems and keep the customer happy.
What experience do you have at objection handling? This question is looking for you to draw upon your own experience. It is best to have a couple of examples prepared of how you have overcome a specific objection and successfully won a customer over, persuading them to invest in your particular product or service. Explain how you would establish a need and deal with particular objections such as "I can't afford it" or "I don't have the time".
What are some key qualities you believe a sales person should possess? This is a fairly straightforward question, especially if you have thought carefully about what the employer are looking for before going to the interview. If you have been given a job description, check if it has a person specification, as this could provide you with some useful clues on what is expected of the company's sales people. General qualities could include confidence, people skills, self-motivation and organization skills.