One of the great things about a sales job is that every transaction is professional confirmation. Of course, being a skilled salesperson means you need to be able to convince others of the value of your product, whether it’s a car, laptop, or expensive commercial property.
How can you demonstrate your ability to close the deal in the most important test of all, the job interview? According to experts, there are some simple but essential strategies that can give you an edge over the competition.
Arguably the most important step takes place long before the interview appears on the horizon.
“The resume, application or covering letter is the first point of contact an applicant needs to establish with a potential employer, so we are reviewing its quality,” says Donna Rankin, Andrew Peller Limited’s area manager, who is interviewing weekly with applicants for part-time sales jobs at one of GTA West’s 25 winery outlets
“Very often we must say that we are reviewing a document that was not created to highlight a skill set that is important to us,” adds Rankin, who also has a psychology degree from the University of Toronto. “So people are applying for a job in the Wine Shop sales department, but their resume highlights the history of technical or medical work. Show minimal effort; people have this covering letter that they send out to everyone. ”
This is especially true for people pursuing sales as a second career. Just because you were the bomber in some other business does not mean you can convincingly cut it on the sales floor. You must show how your skills can be transferred. For example, if you were a legal assistant but were applying to sell display ads, emphasize your ability to simplify complex concepts or language.
And make sure you say whatever you say with feeling. Rankin says that while a candidate’s wine knowledge and retail experience are considered along with their availability, these factors are ultimately less important than their soft skills, “because we can teach people about wine.
“I’m looking for enthusiasm. Are they engaged in conversation? Do they ask questions that explore whether we will be a good fit for the candidate? You want to get the feeling that people want the job.
“Some people are intrinsically motivated and others are not. What you want out of the job interview is the feeling that, regardless of whether the manager is in the store or not, they will perform constantly to make the most of the business because that’s exactly who they are. ”
It may seem obvious in the age of the internet, but due diligence and pre-interview duties are also hugely influential on the hiring manager, according to Anne Babej, COO of the 27,000-member Canadian Professional Sales Association. And please: make sure your search doesn’t start and end with a quick look at a company’s website.
“I want to know if a candidate has read the president’s message,” Babej said. “Do they know what our organisation’s financial position is or what our goal might be in a given year? If the candidates know these things, it tells me that they are genuinely interested in this organization and have taken the time to go beyond the bare minimum to check the website. ”
Like Rankin, Babej insists that a coherent, carefully thought-out resume is the key to nailing a face-to-face interview in the first place. “Whenever a candidate makes a statement on their resume, they should think of an example to support that statement.
“If you say you’re proactive, you’re preparing an example of how you’re proactive. If you say you pay attention to detail, don’t show worn out shoes. It just happened to me recently. To be honest. If you are not, the interviewer will point out the discrepancies and you will lose all credibility. ”
Any other – and not so obvious – advice for the job interview? “Dress for the role. Find out what people are wearing in a particular environment and then take it to the next level, ”says Babej, who claims he leverages links on LinkedIn and Facebook to research a company’s corporate culture while“ fishing for the conservatives . ”
And don’t forget to follow. “Just because you’ve submitted your resume doesn’t mean your job is done,” Rankin said. “Getting a job is a job. If you can’t sell me on my own, I don’t trust your ability to sell wine. ”
The last word goes to Babej. “Try not to get too nervous. And practice active listening, focusing on the question asked and answering directly. Sales jobs require listening skills, so listen to your interviewer. “