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1. Go onto the company's website and print off all of the pertinent information - Don't just print the information on the division that you are applying to but all areas of the business.
2.Research the company's main competitors, particularly in your territory. Print off the information from their websites too and take it with you.
3. NEVER turn up to an interview empty handed - It looks as though you are not taking the process seriously. If the interviewer asks you what you know about his business, he will be expecting you to have done more than just 'google' them. Real research involves doing a SWOT analysis of the territory you will be working.
Who are the main competitors?
Who are the biggest customers?
Who are the prospects?
Where are the business parks/industrial estates that you will be targeting? Call some of the businesses on patch and speak to them. What do they think of your potential employer? Call the company itself and ask to speak to one of the other sales people. They will give you some invaluable information.
An interview is a two way process.
You are there to find out whether you want the job or not. You are also there to sell yourself and convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. Make sure that you create the right impression from the first second you meet. Be friendly to the receptionist and any other people that you come into contact with. Be smart. It sounds obvious but many people do not follow this advice! Go suited and booted. Shiny shoes, clean tie, new shirt and a haircut creates the impression that you are organised and that you are taking the process seriously. Play safe. Do not wear anything that could distract. Shake hands firmly, without breaking their fingers, and introduce yourself at the same time; 'John Brown, nice to meet you'. This is confident and professional and gives them an idea of how you will act in front of their customers.
When you take a seat, ask if they mind if you take notes.
Take out your pad and a pen and put any print outs you have on the desk so they can see you've done your homework. Hold your pad on your lap and then you won't have to think too much about your body language as you will automatically hold yourself upright and professionally.
Usually the interviewer will start the proceedings by telling you something about the company.
If you are lucky they will ask you what you know about them and this will give you a chance to impress them with a level of research that they will have rarely seen from others! During this process there will be appropriate points where you can ask the questions that you have prepared.
1.What sort of personality are you looking for to fit into your team?
2.What does the territory turnover?
3.What is the average order value?
4.What is the average account spend?
5.Who are the main customers on the territory?
6.Who are the main prospects?
7.How much time will I be doing new business and how much account mgt?
8.What is the monthly target?
9.What are the activity levels expected? Calls per day?
10.What is the company conversion rate on average?
11.What do you want the territory to look like in a year?
12.What do you want me to achieve in the first 3/6/12 months?
13.What's the company culture like?
14.Who is your best sales person?
15.What makes them the best?
16.What background did they come from?
17.Why did you join the business?
18.What are the best and worst things about working for ....?
This isn't an exhaustive list but gives you an idea of the type of questions you need to be asking. You should by now have built up a picture of what the job involves and therefore be able to sell the most relevant parts of your experience and personality.
At this point the interviewer will ask you to tell them a bit about yourself or to talk through your CV.
Try not to go through your entire history in minute detail. It is much more interesting to listen to career highlights.
Again these points need to be prepared before you go to the meeting.
List out at least 10 key achievements you have had during your career/life.
Most should be work related - winning incentives, smashing targets, learning a new market/product, setting up a territory from scratch, getting promoted.
Some should be about achievements in life - this enables the interviewer to get to know you a bit better. This is where you could come across some common ground and start to really build rapport. It all says something about you - playing competitive sports, running marathons, jumping out of planes, coaching a kids football club, doing things for charity.
Make sure you sell the benefit! If the interviewer can so 'so what'? to anything you are saying; you haven't sold the benefit...
'I ran the London Marathon'.
I ran the London Marathon, because I thought it would be a good way to get fit and raise money for Cancer Research. I trained for a year; 3 times a week which took a hell of a lot of dedication and self-motivation but I like to push myself to excel. I'm the same at work; I want to be the best I can be, so I don't rest. You can rest assured I'll be the first out and last back. You'll never have to worry about my work ethic.
For each achievement there will be a personality trait that you have displayed and there will be a benefit to your potential boss. Make sure you sell it.
Keep it brief. The worst mistake you can make here is talking too much and going into too much detail. It loses impact. These are your headlines. If they want more information, they will ask for it. Keep it short and simple. It's easier to ask for more information than it is to get someone to shut up. And if you've interviewed 5 or 6 in one day it can get tedious. It is a breath of fresh air to listen to someone who is succinct!
Once you have sold all you can you need to tell the interviewer why you want the job.
What is it about the company, the product/service and the market that appeals to you? Ask for the order! 'I really want this job because of XYZ' this leads nicely into the close... 'What do you think of me'?
Don't forget to check if there are objections....
What concerns do you have about my background or ability to do the job? If there is a skill gap 'how easy do you think it will be to bridge the skill gap'? or 'how long do you think it will take me to get up to speed'?
If you feel as though you have done well ask; 'how do I compare versus the other applicants'? or 'What are my chances'? If that feels too cheeky ask; 'how to I measure up to what you're looking for'?
Remember they want you to be able to close business. You need to prove you can!