Sales job interviews can be won or lost because of one vital aspect that you may not be aware of.
I’m Stephen Craine, a working sales manager. and I've recruited sales people for over two decades. There is one thing I, and other sales managers, look for above all else in a sales job applicant.
By the end of this page you’ll know exactly what that is and how to use it to your advantage.
And you will know how you can answer sales interview questions in the best possible way.
So what’s the one thing that a sales job interviewer wants to see above all else?
Read on and learn...
Are you a Hunter or a Farmer?
A new sales prospector or an account manager?
Does your personality, your attitude, and the way an employer perceives you, show you as a new business hunter or an account manager that farms existing customers?
I interview many sales people that simply don’t know where there sales skills are on the Hunter – Farmer scale.
They don’t know if they are a long term relationship builder, or a new sales closer.
They leave the interview thinking they have done a great job of presenting their sales attributes and the job is theirs.
They are unaware that the interviewer has not seen anything that matches the skills that the role requires.
This is one of the most important things an interviewer will look for because the two sales roles are very different.
The job that is being advertised will have a definite position somewhere between account manager and new business sales.
Yet the applicant hasn’t a clue where it lies, or whether their skills and experience match it.
Some candidates try and come across as a natural expert in both new business selling and long term account relationship building.
They change their answers throughout the interview as they learn more about the job I’m interviewing for. The result is that their answers to the interview questions lose consistency and they lose credibility.
Sales job interview tips for hunters
If I’m holding sales job interviews for new sales hunters I want to hear about cold calling, door knocking, and energy and activity.
The sales interview questions will be aimed at finding out if the applicant is self motivated, high energy, and a goal setter.
The sales job interviews for new business sales look for self starters that will get up on a wet Monday morning and motivate themselves to knock on doors and make cold calls.
And all this high energy activity without the need for the sales manager to motivate, check-up, or kick ass.
I look for how they overcome gatekeepers and get to the decision makers. Their evidence of achievement should show how they hit target in all market conditions. I’m looking for someone that can get in, make an instant sales pitch, and sign the deal.
What not to say
I don’t want to hear answers that tell me what a great long term relationship builder they are. Or, see stacks of evidence that shows how they dealt with service issues and retained key accounts.
When you attend sales job interviews for new business sales don’t ramble on about your regular customers.
Don’t tell the interviewer about repeat business.
And don’t keep going on about how people warm to you over time.
The sales interview questions are looking for evidence of how you bring in new business, so show them what they want to see.
Sales job interview tips for farmers
When I ask sales job interview questions looking for account management and repeat business sales skills, I want relationship building evidence.
I want someone that can deal with any customer issues and then make a sale. These are customers I want to keep and do more business with, so I don’t want sharp sales techniques that could leave them with buyer’s remorse.
Sales job interviews for account managers, sales representatives, and repeat business sellers, are looking for people skills.
Companies often keep some of their biggest accounts because of the people the customer deals with.
And this is what you should be presenting in your answers to interview questions.
Evidence you have prepared on people skills and relationship building.
A farmer type sales person is a pleasure to be with.
They are people focused, and have a caring attitude, know how to ask questions that show they are interested in the customer.
Customers will often say, a good account manager is not a sales person. They do not see them as trying to sell to them, more as a source of advice, a consultant, and a business friend.
What not to say
In sales job interviews for repeat sales and account management, don’t try and show your high pressure selling techniques.
No sharp closes, no manipulation or mind control, and don’t waste precious interview time on how you prospect.
When you prepare for a job interview for a farmer type sales role, keep it simple.
I see many applicants that bring in complete customer files and expect me to look over years of communication and customer activity.
Pick out the highlights and make them simple to take on board. Consider what sales skills you are trying to show ...more on evidence preparation later.
Now I’m not saying you can’t be good at both new sales and account management. It just takes flexibility and sales skill to adapt your selling techniques, but it can be done.
You will however have a natural tendency towards hunting or farming. Also many sales job interviews are for a role that combines both new sales and account management.
The key is to target the requirments the interviewer is looking for.
Know your own sales personality
I see many sales job applicants that have no idea about which type of sales role their personality, experience, and sales training, naturally lean towards.
Know yourself and be honest about where your talents are. Are you really comfortable cold calling, pushing for a close today, and then moving on to the next prospect.
Or do you actually care about a customer, the service they receive, and enjoy closing sales because of building a long term relationship with them.
Know your strengths, where on the Hunter – Farmer scale you are most comfortable. Discuss it in the interview, it may be what makes you stand out.
Tips for sales job interviews:
Know your own strengths
Know your strengths, weaknesses, and the selling style you are comfortable with in a sales role.
Are you a Hunter or a Farmer
Know if you are naturally a hunter or a farmer. A new business prospector and closer, or an account manager and repeat business expert.
What's the interviewer looking for
Make sure you know what the interviewer is looking for before the interviewer, a Hunter or a Farmer.
Present your attributes for Hunter and Farmer separately if both are required. Be honest and say what your preferences are. A good interviewer will see this anyway and will be impressed.
Prepare well for the sales job interview
Good interview preparation gives you a massive advantage over other candidates. See job interview preparation course below
Predict the interview questions
Focus your answers and evidence on only what the role requires. To score well in an interview you must predict the questions you will be asked and have your answers ready.
Get the job you want
The quickest and best way to prepare your answers to interview questions and know which evidence to present
Get the job you want is written by me, Stephen Craine, and gives you the facts about being successful in a sales job interview.
It takes you step by step through a fast and effective exercise program to prepare for your important job interview.
60 pages of job interview tips, and how to prepare for job interviews.
I give you secrets from my experience as a sales manager interviewing sales people.
It takes you through an exercise program, using accelerated learning techniques that fully prepare you for the interview questions.
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Shows you how to select and present information about you, and your experience, during the interview.
15 exercises that bring all you can offer an employer into your conscious focus and prepares you to anser questions onfidently.
As an employer I can tell you that this job interview training course gives you a massive advantage over other candidates.
A workbook course that could get you the job you want, and all it will cost you is £9.95
This 60 page sales interview course comes as an instant download.
Payment is secure and uses the Pay Pal payment process. You can use your existing Pay Pal account or credit or debit card.
Any problems with the payment process or download, or questions about the course, simply contact me via the contact page on this site.
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