If you think about it, a job interview is a lot like a sales meeting. You do have something to sell—you! Your resume is your sales brochure, complete with product knowledge, experience and testimonials. Your conversation and answers to questions are your sales pitch. Prospective employers will be interviewing you for a position, but also listening to how well you “sell” yourself. It gives them an idea of what your sales approach will be with real customers.
To be effective in sales, you have to know your product well. The same applies to interviews. In the space of an hour or so you have to let the hiring manager clearly know what you have done and can do for them. If you aren’t clear as to what you have to offer, you won’t make the sale…get the job.
Prospects don’t like a sales person who isn’t sure of what he/she does, says an article in Sales Training Advice. Neither do they like what the article calls “ramblers” or people who go on and on without knowing how they are affecting their prospects. In an effort to impress a hiring manager, sales candidates can do the same thing. More isn’t always better, and the article talks about two specific types of sales ramblers that can drive prospects crazy.
If you’ve had a lot of sales experience with different jobs, you may be the first type of rambler. These individuals have done so many things, that they really don’t have a concentration or specific expertise in anything. These sales people have a lot to say, and may try to tailor their sales pitch to what they think a prospect is interested in.
The same for goes for interviews. Trying to be everything to everyone is a mistake. After a certain amount of time, an employer would expect a sales candidate to have acquired some specialized knowledge and expertise. Generalists can be successful, but the higher up the ladder, the more targeted sales experience an employer is looking for. Why take a chance on someone who knows a little bit about a lot of things instead of someone who has specific experience in your line of business? In the interview, show how your sales experience fits the employer’s product, service, or industry.
The other side of the coin is a sales person who is so married to a particular sales technique or process that he/she tries to fit every situation into his particular techniques. These individuals can be very knowledgeable but seem rigid in their approach. One size doesn’t always fit all. Employers are looking for flexible individuals that are willing to learn their company’s particular product and sales process. Sure, you bring your expertise, but you need to be open to suggestion and adaptation.
Neither extreme will get you the job. Ramblers by nature talk too much. They go on and on, as if talking more and filling the silence is what an employer wants to hear. The problem is, the more a person rambles, the less he says. Sales professionals have to know how to present information in a compelling way, listen to objections and answer those objections in such a way to convince a prospect to buy. Leave the rambling for social functions. Stay on track to let an employer know you know exactly where you’re going.
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