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Sales Technique Article - Sales Interview, CV, processes, expectations and how to get better results
From the very first moment you see a job that interests you to the moment you send your CV, your entire world could be turned upside down. But before you enter this job seeking world make sure you turn it to your advantage.
There are two kinds of job seekers, those that actually read the advert, understand what it asks of the candidate, post their CV with a covering letter explaining why they feel the job would be an excellent career move and what the candidate can offer and there are those that completely ignore everything and just post their CV.
From an employers point of view (not to mention those hard working recruiters) the latter just wastes time and energy. Yet still we find candidates applying for jobs at the rate of 10 to the dozen. For an experienced recruiter the volume of CV's screened daily can be quite horrendous, sifting and sorting and deleting sometimes 100 a day. Even the ones without a covering letter are read through, "just in case"!
But the successful candidates don't follow this pattern, they grab the
attention of the recruiter/employer with the covering letter, pointing
out briefly the reasons they applied for the job, no more than one or
two sentences is required. The CV should be between 2 and 4 pages long
(although styles do change from 1 page (70's) to 7 pages (90's). No pictures,
THE CV (Curriculum Vitae)
Here is an example of a successful CV format.
then repeat for up to 10 years work experience:
If more than 10 years work experience just list briefly other industry work experience.
Why this format?
To be honest it's not the only format you can use, but it works well as it is simple, direct and keeps the CV focussed.
Professional Experience: Explained
Company Profile: Explained
Why are you leaving is not always required on a CV, but because you achieved you want to expand your horizons is a perfectly OK way to explain yourself.
The first Interview is often with a recruitment consultant or HR (Human Resources) manager. They all have completely different styles, from a simple telephone interview to just form filling and a few questions. Some will ask for tests to measure your intelligence, such as IQ tests others rely on psychometric tests. You must find out before the interview if there will be any tests, if so, do they expect you to complete all the questions within a certain time frame or just do as many as possible. This can make a difference as to how you are being assessed. For example, they may expect you to complete 50 questions in 12 minutes, but in fact they really want just 20 correct answers, so you could skip a few and complete the easier ones then return to the others if you have time. Unfortunately we can't help you with these tests but as for the questions, here are a few tips.
These are very typical questions on a first interview.
How would you sell me a pen?
These questions will follow you round like a dog with bad breath! What
they are looking for is to establish if you can discover the buyer's needs.
So in the case of the pen, what weight would your ideal pen be? Does the
ink need to be a certain colour, will you be performing any particular
In either case, the pen or fridge is symbolic of establishing the needs of the client, irrelevant of whether they live in Italy or Iceland. You can always look for open ended questions but closed questions will work also if it leads you to a point of sale.
How many cold calls will you make for how long before you make a sale?
This is a very nasty question as it can be very miss-leading that said, it might very well suggest the company recognise they expect the sales staff to make a lot of telesales calls. To answer this question: simple I have made as many as 100 calls per day for 3 days without making a sale, but that was a long time ago when I was first employed in sales and since then I have learned to network/research a company and make quality calls with stronger results. You might like to run this past anyone you know in sales and gauge their reaction, not all suggestions we make are perfect, sorry.
Often the interviewer will want to know what you have achieved so here is a list of must bring to the interview (even if you were not forewarned by the employer or recruiter, take them any way).
The BRAG FILE
This should contain:
The Second Interview
Now they are looking at you very hard indeed, there will be two main points, how do you relate to those around you and how do you relate to their business.
On a second interview even the most casual comment from an unsuspecting
corner could be there to put you off your guard. You might be asked to
join a member of the team to see how they do the job you are applying
for, the member of the team will be reporting back exactly what they thought
of you. The second interview may also include a panel interview with three
WHICH EVER IT IS BE PREPARED, ASK FRIENDS FOR ANY ADVICE, RESEARCH THE COMPANY, IT'S PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, BUT THIS TIME TRY TO WORK OUT A SALES PITCH AND A POTENTIAL TARGET CLIENT TO DISCUSS. THIS DEMONSTRATES YOUR KNOWLEDGE, SKILL & RESOURCEFULNESS.
If not then this can be a simple come and see where and how we work, accompany an existing member of staff on a client visit. Meet the sales manager (or higher) to see and be seen, essentially the second visit can be a time to explore the company and find out how you would fit in. Most interviews that fail at this stage are more often than not down to the candidate not wanting to go any further or not looking like they are particularly interested. Asking questions about the company, it's products or services is good, asking how many days holiday and where is the canteen never quite inspires a potential new employer.
The Third Interview
They like you, they think you could be a good fit, so lets just negotiate
terms! No, not really. They do like you, they do think you will be a good
fit but is there anything more about you they need to find out. This story
was told to me many years ago about a real final interview. The
Candidate has completed first and second interviews the third started in the office, agreed terms then followed by an informal drink and a bite to eat, the candidate at first behaves very well, but is offered drink after drink and informed they would be paying for a cab for him to return home and they just wanted him out for the night to let his hair down a bit and get to know his new colleagues.
HE GOT TO KNOW ONE OF HIS NEW COLLEAGUES TOO WELL!!!
The situation was clearly out of hand, he should have accepted non-alcoholic
drinks after the first two beers, kept the jokes in hand and hands off
anyone and everyone. The fact he was single as was the colleague is not
the point, it breached their code of conduct and had he started the job
This doesn't happen on all third interviews, most are very sober affairs and office based, but it doesn't mean you let your guard down completely neither.
Getting Better Results
Here is a tip for you about what you wear.
First Interview: Blue tie for men (women can do similar colour schemes).
Why the colours?
The number of interviews you attend can also help secure the right job,
for example if you apply to a single job only then it is more likely you
will not get the job as you are focussing too much of your time and energy
on a single opportunity, apply for 10 and you are too far stretched to
consider each job fully, analyse the prospects and identify the potential.
We recommend you apply for three at a time every weekday for 4 weeks.
This should be sufficient to generate enough interviews. If not go back
to your CV, double check it for spelling errors, date gaps and any anomalies
that need attention, then revisit the jobs applied for, were they right
Finally, for all interviews always be on time, 5 minutes in hand is good, 20 minutes too soon is too desperate and 15 minutes too late, you've lost your chances. If you are delayed en route, phone as soon as you can before the interview is due to start and explain the problem calmly and clearly. Plan your route well in advance to avoid getting lost. Simple rules to follow? Yes, but mistakes are easily made.
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