Outside sales positions require you to be independent and hard working. You’ll need to know how to handle rejection, develop and maintain long-lasting relationships, present your product line, and effectively ask for the sale. This is something that is hard to do for many people, but for the right person who can develop these skills, a lucrative career in outside sales is possible.
When a sales manager is interviewing candidates, they are looking for someone who is trustworthy, personable, trainable, and a “go-getter”. The manager wants someone who is excited about spending a lot of time cold-calling potential customers and building relationships with new and existing clients to meet and exceed sales goals. This is something you have to be good at as the pay structure for an outside sales representative is usually either commissioned-based or salary plus commission. The benefit of these pay structures is the more you sell the more you earn.
The first step in getting hired for an outside sales representative position is for you to sell yourself to the hiring manager. Here’s what many hiring managers look for when hiring a representative new to the outdoor sales field.
A Warm and Personable Presentation
How you dress, talk, and greet people will have an immediate impact on your worthiness to be an outside sales representative. The interaction you have with the receptionist is just as important as the one you have with the interviewer. You always need to remember that those who work together talk about things like how impressed (or not impressed) they were by someone who came in for an interview. A positive interaction with the receptionist and other employees will show how well you represent yourself to others and can make or break your chances of getting hired before the interview even starts.
Capable of Establishing a Quick Rapport
One of the most important traits of an outdoor sales representative is the ability to immediately establish a rapport with a prospect or customer. The best way to establish rapport is by personalizing your visit. Almost every office has personal photos or mementos that will give you clues to help you start a conversation. For instance, if you see items about sailing, you know sailing is important to them and you should mention something or ask a question about it. This will show the interviewer that you know how to get people to relax and start talking.
After a brief opening conversation, show the interviewer you can control a conversation by shifting it to the reason you came – which is to get hired for a sales position. A good salesperson is always in control of the conversation and this is a trait that needs to be shown to the interviewer.
Shows the Ability to Perform Research on Companies
You can stand out in the interview process by showing you have done your homework about the company interviewing you for a sales job and the industry it serves. The sales manager understands how important having knowledge about the issues and problems in a given industry is essential to gaining the trust and confidence of purchasing agents and business owners. You should read news releases and articles about the company you are going to interview for a job and study the company’s website to learn about the principles in the company, the types of products or services the company offers, and the issues affecting the company and industry. Use the knowledge you gain to engage in thoughtful conversation about how you can fit in and be an asset to the company.
You Have the Right Qualifications
A sales background of any kind is important when getting an outdoor sales position. Even a job in retail or inside sales is helpful if you can show you met or exceeded your sales goals on a regular basis.
Some industries, like banking, insurance, pharmaceutical, and securities, require a college education and specialized licensing and/or training to become a sales representative. Many other industries don’t have stringent qualifications besides the ability to sell and be trustworthy.
Remember, you are not just going to a job interview, but you are also going on a sales call. The product you are selling is you and the services you are offering is the ability to represent yourself, and by extension the company, in a manner that makes people want to do business with you. The interview is your chance to show the sales manager you understand the process on how to make a sale.
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