What is one way you can demonstrate that you are truly interested in a sales job? By asking good questions. I have conducted many sales job interviews and when it is time to hand the candidate time to ask questions, I usually take this time to gauge their level of interest as well as how well they handle this very important step in the sales interview process. This is your time to gather important intel about the sales job, dig deeper in the company’s and sales manager’s needs so that you can continue selling yourself for the sales job. Do you think you can ask bad questions when given time to ask questions? Indeed you can and trust me, I have heard them. For example, what would you think if you put yourself in the hiring sales manager’s shoes and the first question asked was, “tell me how much vacation is given”, and then the second question, “so if I wanted to take more vacation without pay, is that allowed”? In my mind, I was wondering if this person wanted to work at all. After those two impactful questions, the candidate told me that she didn’t have any other questions. So yes, preparing well thought out questions are very important.
HOW TO PREPARE GOOD QUESTIONS FOR THE SALES JOB INTERVIEW
It is important to take the time to think and write down questions you will ask during your sales job interview. Usually, the hiring sales manager will give you some time to ask your own questions and you should take this time and use it to your advantage. Start by having 5-10 prepared questions for the hiring sales manager, and cross any out that the manager answers during the sales interview. You can always add new questions during the interview if you want more clarification on something the sales manager mentioned during the interview.
Ask questions about what the sales manager think is needed for the person selected to be successful. Ask open ended questions that uncovers the topic in further detail and to help you understand the previous rep’s situation and to get a general idea of what you will need to do to succeed. You might also want to know what is expected from your potential new boss, so asking questions about his/her leadership style and how the sales manager helps the team and potentially you to succeed. Questions about the company, product, culture, team members, recent news, future, etc. are also great questions to ask.
I am usually impressed when a sales candidate mixes in their own research to the company’s products into a question. For example, if I was at a company that sold XYZ Gizmos, and the candidate stated that they did some research on XYZ Gizmos and compared it to the current market comparative products and gave me a list of why it is better than the others, and then asking me for my opinion. These types of questions show the hiring sales manager that you did your homework and you also gain important onions from the hiring sales manager.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
If you have an upcoming sales job interview, get out a blank sheet of paper and start brainstorming and create some questions. Look up the products or service you will be selling and ask questions about the market, competitors, strategy to win/expand the market etc. Read up on the “about us” page of the company and learn more about the leaders and you might ask the hiring sales manager to tell you a little bit more about the leadership at the company. By preparing good questions, you not only show your salesmanship, but also your genuine interest in the job and your ability to gather important information to use for your candidacy for the sales job opportunity.
To help you get started, here are some useful articles on questions to ask during an interview: