I recently did an interview with a medical device sales representative who has been in sales for the past 6 years. I will be sharing different interviews with sales professionals in different industries to help those looking to land their first job in sales to learn from their experiences.
INTERVIEW WITH K.C. From Denver Colorado:
SC: How did you get your first job in sales and what did you do prior to landing your first sales job?
KC: My first job in sales happens to be in medical device sales with a global medical company selling to pharmacies and physicians. Prior to landing my first sales job, I was a pharmacy tech at a pharmacy.
SC: Did you have any prior sales experience?
KC: No, I have never held a professional sales job before.
SC: How did you land your first sales job with a major medical device company? I understand that it is hard to land one of these jobs.
KC: I actually learned about the position from one of the reps that used to visit our pharmacy. I would ask him about what he does, what his day looks like and built a trusting business relationship with this sales professional over time.
The sales rep got promoted to another role within the company and asked me if I was ever interested in a sales job or possibly taking over when he left. I thought about it, and it seemed very interested so I called him and told him that I was. Before he had left, he had helped coach me about the position and what the hiring sales manager wanted. It seemed that my resume did not meet the criteria for the position, but he had stated that my attitude and knowledge of the end customer will come into value when going for the position. He also mentioned that I had a lot of transferable skills that I can demonstrate sales, since I do work with customers when they come to the pharmacy and help them with their medications or training of medical devices.
I also got the opportunity to meet the hiring sales manager and have developed a business relationship over time.
SC: So when the sales rep got promoted, did you get the position?
KC: Actually, no.
SC: Really! What happened?
KC: The hiring sales manager did interview me, but felt that at that time, there were other candidates that had a more experience and established relationships in the territory. I did learn a lot in going through the interview and I had done a post interview review with the hiring manager to help me understand how I can do a better job in the future.
SC: Then, how did you land your first sales job?
KC: Good timing! The rep that the hiring manager had hired, went for another opportunity within the first two weeks of being hired. Because I had shown commitment and true interest in the position even after not getting the job, it demonstrated to the hiring manager that I was very serious about the job opportunity.
I had taken the sales manager's advice on preparing myself for the next opportunity and because the person who was hired quit, I was ready and much more prepared. Since the hiring sales manager, had already interviewed me and we have been in communications throughout, he called me and asked if I was still interested. I also want to add that I was very persistent but not annoying in calling the rep and the communicating with the sales manager that I am interested in pursuing the position. Prior to even getting the interview, I had called or emailed every other week once I learned that the rep was getting promoted and really prepared myself.
SC: What advice would you give others out there without sales experience, to land a sales job?
KC: My advice is that if you truly want a sales job, do your homework and know what you want to do. Just like in sales, you will be rejected and a job interview is basically a sale, where you sell yourself. Persistence and timing really helped as well as relationships, when those factors are blended together, it helps to get in front of the hiring manager.
I also did my homework and learned the sales model the company used, learned about the product, the competitors, the market etc. I showcased what I learned to the hiring sales manager and convinced him that I was serious and able to do the job.
SC: Thank you for sharing your story, I am sure this will help others learn from your experience.
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