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Interviewing is awkward, and hiring is strange. Throughout the interview process, you’re presenting your best self to a manager who is doing the same. In reality, it’s a short amount of time to truly evaluate and understand one another, particularly when it relates to your career.

In situations like this, it’s easy to get flustered or overwhelmed with concerns like “What’s the right thing to say” or ”How do I present myself in a way that shows them I’m the best fit for this job?” We’ve all been there.

As someone who has been in sales for 30+ years, both on the interviewer and interviewee side, I’ve seen my fair share of great and not-so-great sales rep candidates. Here are my three tips that will help you nail your sales interview.

This includes your quota achievements, KPIs, all of them. Now this sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many reps dance around their numbers, instead of laying it all on the table.

Your command of your numbers says a lot to your prospective manager about how you pay attention to your work. It also shows your commitment to details, and your own personal success. Those are qualities that sales managers are searching for, and will immediately take note of.

Remember that you are interested in the job you are interviewing for. Not the next job you want. This isn’t to say that you can’t have management, aspirations; it’s great to be driven and motivated to grow into new roles. But that’s not something to mention in an interview.

Interviews are tough as it is. Focus on how you would work with this manager and how you’d enjoy the challenge of the new role. And then when the time comes — after you’ve gotten the job and are crushing your quota — you can talk aspirations and professional development.  

These are the top skills you need to be successful in sales. And to be honest, if you aren’t skilled in either of these areas, you might want to reconsider your role in sales. No successful quota-achieving reps are walking around saying their biggest strength is “demoing.”

In sales, you have to be skilled in either producing opportunities to fill your pipeline, or closing your accounts and winning business. Preferably, you’re skilled at both, but you must excel in at least one of the two. These two stages of the funnel are the most important because they produce results. Sales managers look for reps who are skilled and can overachieve in these areas. So when you are asked your biggest strengths, you better produce the numbers showing your success in these areas.   

My last piece of advice: Be prepared for the one sales question that most interviewees are not prepared for. Coincidentally, it’s my favorite question to ask.

“How would you describe your selling style and your process?”

Reps always get this deer-in-the-headlights look on their face and stumble on their words.

And here’s the trick — and it’s not your answer. In fact, your answer doesn’t matter. The trick to this interview question is that you have an answer. The two biggest strengths you can show are self-confidence and self-awareness. If you’re able to demonstrate both, you will have gone a long way in getting that job offer.

In sales, you have to be skilled in either producing opportunities to fill your pipeline, or closing your accounts and winning business.”

Jeff Hoffman | Founder of Hoffman, Why You? Why You Now?® Sales Training Program
How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.