So You're a Sales Professional?...but can you sell yourself?!
Interviews can be tough and knowing what to say and what not to say is vital for any interviewee wanting to secure that job. Sure, you probably make sure the interviewer hears all about your skills and experience and of course your expertise...but as a Sales professional do you use your sales skills and make it simple for them? Do you outline exactly why they should hire you or just tell them what you've done or can do?
The key to successful interviews is to outline clearly your features and benefits!
In order to fully convey what your features and benefits are you need to make sure you fully understand what exactly a feature and a benefit is- this may sound much like I'm teaching you to suck eggs but it's surprising how many sales professionals forget these points when faced with an interview situation! For the purposes of interview technique a feature can be described as a "unique, inherent quality." A benefit is a pleasure or satisfaction someone gets from a given feature. A benefit is something that aids or promotes well-being. A benefit can be thought of as the result of the feature. In other words it is because of this feature that you are getting the benefits. (Oscar Adler, 2008)
People do not naturally translate features into benefits when a person speaks to them. Very rarely do they ask themselves "what will this product do for me"? Most likely they will be thinking: "so what"? The interviewer will be only listening for the benefits of hiring you. They only care that they make the right hiring decision. If you answer questions with features but fail to relate the benefits, you are not selling yourself to the interviewer. You must learn to accompany every answer with an appropriate benefit- don't assume they've worked out your benefits for themselves.
Examples of how you might apply the 'features and benefits' in your interview might include:
Feature: I am a confident, outgoing character with excellent presentation and negotiating skills.
Benefit: This means that when I meet with prospects I can confidently demonstrate the benefits of a product and more often than not, lead the sale to a close
Feature: I possess a Masters degree in business administration
Benefit: This allows me to manage various aspects of my role more effectively and understand how actions taken within my position affect the business as a whole
A common mistake that people make is that they always ask themselves "what should I say" instead of "what will the interviewer be thinking." It is vital that you stop for a moment and really consider what is relevant for the interviewer and what is just 'filling time'.
Of course an interviewer wants to know about your education, skills and experience but ensure you give them something a bit more convincing than what they are already looking at on your CV.
Ensure you practice ways in which you can link features and benefits so that you are thoroughly prepared when the time comes. In being able to convey both features and benefits confidently you will be able to control the interview and not be 'thrown off course' by a difficult question....
just remember, when it comes down to it, all the interviewer wants to know is ...
"what can you do for me?!"
Look at yourself as a SOLUTION
When preparing for an interview, you must remember that they are not ‘rocket science’, they are simply a sales meeting – an opportunity for you to sell yourself.
The employer has a need, their vacancy and you are the solution! An interview is simply a way for the interviewer to obtain information about yourself so that they can make a balanced business judgement as to whether you are right for the role.
Sell Yourself and Enjoy Yourself
Don’t be afraid to discuss your goals, dreams, ambitions and aspirations at an interview it demonstrates that you are goal oriented, taking a career move seriously and that you have drive and purpose.
Remember if you enjoy the interview you will shine at interview. The more planning that you do on yourself as a product the more succinct and prepared you will come across. Above all be enthusiastic and sell yourself throughout!