Set yourself apart from the competition during the interview process
When seeking a job, “you” are the product. Keep in mind that you are selling “you and your abilities.” Just as major companies market the unique feature and benefits of their product lines, you must do the same when applying for a job.
Creating your own personal brand, starts with a professional image and continues throughout your career. Cover letters, resumes and “brag books” are just tools to help you highlight your unique achievements. Consider these tools as advertisements for “you”.
Remember, presenting yourself for employment is not unlike planning the logistics of delivering any other high quality product. For simplicity, you (the product) are of the highest quality and bring the features and benefits of any such high quality item to the interview. But there are other high quality products in the marketplace too. This begs the question, “How do I set myself apart from the other high quality “products” that the customer (interviewer) will see on the day of the interview?” Answer: Your attitude, accomplishments and most importantly, your sales ability.
Presenting yourself may be reminiscent of past sales training where you may recall the adage that “features tell” and “benefits sell”. This will be critical to your success in the process since other prospects may be “telling” the interviewer about themselves versus you “selling” the interviewer on how your qualifications or “features” will “benefit” his/her organization.
An example from another candidate might be, “I have great relationships with the decision-makers that I have called on in the past.” Your more thought out response might be, “I have great relationships with the decision-makers that I have called on in the past WHICH MEANS I feel I can quickly impact the territory and increase the sales of your widgets within thirty days. This transition from feature to YOUR benefit statement clearly sets you apart from the other candidates!
As a medical sales recruiter, we often times receive feedback concerning the performance of a candidate in the interview process. Sometimes the feedback is quite specific, but generally we are provided a broad perspective of how the candidate performed.
Frequently, an interviewer will be truly impressed by a candidate and wish to hire them, but simply cannot due to a lack of experience or a missing skill set. Many times these candidates are just getting started in their sales career and are truly on the right track by exhibiting the passion and energy for the position, particularly in the interview.
This type of enthusiasm really cannot be understated when a candidate is seeking a sales position. On occasion, and even after coaching, an interviewer will mention to us, “The candidate just didn’t seem too excited.” At that point, everything else is futile. That lack of excitement tells the perspective employer that they’re just not that interested in the job!
Let’s get back to the basics. Obviously, most companies realize that experience is important. They use this background so that they may assess a person’s successes in the sales environment. But experience isn’t everything.
We know attitude is just as critical. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to coach or teach enthusiasm. The passion and energy of a sales representative are critical and potentially contagious to a customer base. If the sales representative is not excited about their goods and services, then how is the customer supposed to get that way? In today’s world items may sometimes be perceived to be somewhat of a commodity. This can be true even in the medical field where sales representatives are highly trained, delivering very specific data or knowledge. Thus even in the scientific medical sales area, commodity sales rules may apply and the assertive, amiable; driver type sales representative will generally forge relations and win the sale!
As a final thought, you’ve heard the adage, “Control what you can control.” Well, as a candidate, an individual can control their excitement towards a sought after position. Likewise, an employer should exhibit a similar excitement level regarding the presentation of their company including their goods and services. For an appropriate hire to occur, both parties should be “sold” upon each other and be truly excited about future opportunities.
Without a doubt, we all need to remain (or get) excited about the opportunities before us. Together, we can all work on our level of enthusiasm and improve our attitude for this year! It’s infectious and important to the future of all of us in the sales world!