How To Ace Your Sales Interview Part 2: An In-Depth Guide to Mock Pitching
Insider tips from a sales hiring leader
If you missed part 1, you can catchup here.
Preparation can make all the difference
Some of Leap's clients ask candidates to do demos about their product or a previous employer's product. If this happens to you, ask them to send over a deck they like to use when speaking with prospects. This will help front-load your research so you can make sure the presentation is on brand with what the interviewers are already familiar with.
If the company feels strongly about you putting a deck together yourself, get help cleaning it up. Many incredible salespeople are not great at building clean slides, so make sure you work hard to present something that is crisp. Get help on Upwork or Fiverr. Invest the money if presentation building isn’t your strong suit.
During the presentation, do not move from slide to slide. This can be a pitfall of the most experienced salespeople. Make it conversational and when you do have the need to show a slide, you should feel comfortable jumping around depending on where the flow of the conversation is going. Practice the presentation in advance of the interview; it takes time to build confidence with a new slide deck and having the capability to seamlessly bounce around during the call.
A final note on presenting: don't sell features, sell solutions. If your product overview goes too far into the weeds, reference the larger pain point and how it's relevant to what you discussed earlier.
Overcoming the inevitable objections
Don’t take objections personally or get defensive. Instead, use them as opportunities for further dialogue about how the product you’re offering can help solve their specific problems in the long run. The interviewers are testing you. As objections come in, be aware of the flow, and control it so the conversation doesn’t go sideways.
Here’s some sample responses to control the conversation:
"Hey, that's a great question. Let's table that for now and circle back at the end." If you do decide to take the objection and answer the questions immediately, be aware of your time limits. Feel empowered to stop the side conversation and get the agenda back on track.
"In the interest of time, I want to table this point because I believe your questions will be addressed as we keep going through the demo together." Whether the slides do or do not address the question, make sure to circle back and address it when you’re done.
If you're not getting objections, that's an immediate red flag. You want to keep the other side talking and find a way to extract concerns through pointed questions:
"Hey (Name), as the CFO I'd love to understand your perspective. If the organization did nothing about this pain point, how would this impact your business?"
"Hey (Name), as the COO, do you believe this can solve the core pain points we’ve discussed? Did I miss anything?"
Irrespective of this mock demo, every salesperson needs to understand how the product they’re selling will be measured for success once it's in the customer's hands.
Ask the question point blank: "If you bought this product today, how would you define and measure success?" After hearing the answer, ask a follow-up question: "In dollar terms, what does that mean to you?" This might seem a bit direct, but it shows that you're confident and capable of asking the hard-hitting questions.
If it’s clear to everyone on the call there is a ROI on dollars invested, go deeper on who on their side would own the product’s success. In many real-world cases the decision makers don’t handle implementation. To measure success properly you need to loop in the day-to-day owners of implementation.
Recapping next steps
Start every call with an agenda and end each call with next steps. Summarize what you've heard from the call and repeat it back to your audience to make sure you're all aligned. Take the initiative on next steps and get buy-in on them before the call ends.
Ask the participants to open up their calendars and offer two times for a follow-up call. While this is happening make the ask to loop in the person that will be measuring the success of the product. This action emphasizes you care about the success of the product while also showing the interviewers that you are working to go wider in the account to get the deal done.
Don’t be afraid to own the conversation. As the professional seller, the interviewers are walking into your arena. Show off your skills and have fun with it. The people on the other side will pick up on this and it can go a long way in helping build the case that you’re the perfect fit for their role.
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