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Selling exercises

You may be asked to sell something to the interviewer e.g. a pen or an ashtray. The interviewer does not expect you to be perfect, they just want to assess your sales potential. You can help yourself with this exercise by practicing in advance. Pick a household object and try and sell it to a friend or member of your family. This will feel very uncomfortable the first time you do it so practice before you have to do it under interview conditions.

There are 4 stages to the classic sales process:

Introduction

In this stage you introduce yourself and your company, the kind of products you have to offer, and establish that you can ask the customer some questions.

Questioning

This is about asking open questions to find out a bit about what your customer does and how they may need your product. For example, if you have been asked to sell pens to a hotel manager, you may want to find out if they provide stationery and pens in the bedrooms, or if they have conference facilities for which pens are provided. You will also need to know what sort of pens they use currently, in order to know how you might offer an improved product or service. As this is a role play, you can be inventive to make your job easier. For example, “I notice you have three conference rooms” or, “I noticed the pens provided for guests at reception are plain disposable pens”. Do not move on from this section until you have found a potential need or desire for your product.

Presenting

Present your product and sell it to the needs you have established in your questioning section. Discuss the product and what it might do for your customer until you hear “buying signals”. These are questions and comments that tell you the customer is interested, such as:

“how much does it cost?”

“do you produce them in other colours?”

“what is the delivery time?”

These should lead you naturally into the final stage.

Closing

In this stage you summarise those benefits of your product that are of interest to the customer and ask him to buy some. Your customer may come up with an objection, which you will need to address and then come back and ask for the order again. Negotiate this stage, invent an introductory offer, but DO NOT be fobbed off with leaving free samples, because the interviewer wants to see that you have got what it takes to close a deal!