Avoid These Sales Mistakes to Interview Your Best

The following list of sales no-nos is written by Geoffrey James and posted on bnet. I have included them here because they are almost completely applicable to an interview. With the exception of #8 (although these days there are stories of candidates bringing their mothers to interviews) each of these sales warnings should be heeded for an interview.

#1: Discuss politics or religion. Such subjects are almost always a trap into opinionated quicksand that’s hard or impossible to get out of.  Fix: keep the discussion on business or neutral ground.
#2: Dive into your product pitch. Sure you’ve got something to sell, but if you pitch too soon, you’ll get pitched out the door. Fix: Ask questions to understand needs, before you pitch.
#3: Arrive late to the call. If you don’t arrive on time it tell the customer clearly that you don’t give a damn about them or their time.  Fix: Always arrive 15 minutes ahead of time.  If you drive to calls, get a GPS.
#4: Appear flippant or sarcastic. A good-natured laugh at a joke might be taken personally by someone watching out the window, without hearing the context.  Fix: Watch your demeanor at all times.
#5: Lack requisite product knowledge. The prospect doesn’t want to hear “I need to get back to you about that”…over and over. Fix: make sure you’re trained on your current products and policies…before the call.
#6: Fail to plan the call. Sounds simple, but trying to close when should be qualifying (for example) is a lost sale.  Fix: Never enter a door without first thinking about what you plan to accomplish.
#7: Be too business-like at first. Remember you’re building bridges with another human being, not just a notch in your sales gun.  Fix: Smile and be friendly… but don’t get too gushy.
#8: Show up with a crowd. If you bring too many people, it will draw customer’s comments about why your costs so high  Fix: Use webconferencing when you need to include additional resources.
#9: Fail to check your appearance. Don’t show up with something amiss that a quick stop in the client’s bathroom could head off.  Fix: Make a quick pit stop – with a look-over – before the call.
#10: Forget the customers’ names. What could be more embarrassing than actually forgetting whom you’re talking with?  Fix: Write down the names down of everyone in the room with a small table diagram.
#11: Be rude to the admin. No flirting, of course, but if you act all arrogant and superior, you’ll just antagonize the help.  Fix: Be friendly and respectful of the staff – admin and otherwise.
#12: Ask personal questions. You may think that the customer is your friend, but you can easily screw up if it gets too personal.  Fix: Keep the conversation focused on business issues, especially the customer’s needs.

The appropriateness of this warning list further supports the InterviewBest philosophy – an interview is a sales call.




One Response to Avoid These Sales Mistakes to Interview Your Best

  1. Nice observation that interviewing is like selling. It’s a shame that very few business schools teach sales skills. And that so many people look down on “selling” as if it’s something manipulative rather than helpful.

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