If you’ve reached your final interview stage for a sales role, congratulations! Now, your potential employer wants to assess your abilities, so if they've asked you to do a presentation, see this as an opportunity to really sell yourself.
Giving a presentation allows you to share your knowledge, show your ability to stay calm under pressure, and present your confidence. This is a positive! A well-crafted and delivered presentation can allow you to really stand out. (And remember, it's a short space out of your day and will be over before you know it.)
If you've been asked to present at your final interview stage, try these steps.
Gather your facts
You know the company already, you know what they want from you. When you're asked to give a presentation, start by gathering facts and learn about the topics you should present on, assess how much time you’ll have, and ask if you'll have access to technology. Ask questions. Utilise your tools.
Check who you're presenting to
What is the knowledge level of the audience? Will they be your colleagues, managers, or potential clients? Knowing this will help you determine how to angle your pitch.
Structure your presentation
Once you know the topic and who the presentation is for, you can start developing a structure of the points you want to cover.
Focus on: a clear and compelling introduction, examples of your skills and abilities and your interest in the company.
A great way to end a presentation is to briefly share your vision for the sales department with any ideas and innovative ways to reach new clients.
Prepare your assets
Use a presentation tool to highlight the key points you want to get across. But only use them as a basic guideline, don't rely on them completely. You want your audience to focus on what you’re saying, not the design of your presentation.
Add enough information to each slide to catch attention, but not so much to distract away from the point you're trying to make.
Consider preparing handouts for the audience to keep—they can serve as a reminder of you and your presentation.
Top tip: practice and rehearse - to yourself, with friends, get some feedback.
A major decision that business leaders face is hiring their very first salesperson.
Whatever the size, a business making a bad hire can be costly. Not only financially, but the impact (especially to startups and SME's) can cause detrimental effect to the business model, as well as potential effects on internal relationships and time lost during the recruitment process.
In short - this is something you want to get right. You’ll know when it’s time to bring on your first sales hire when you begin to:
- Have a clear understanding of your target buyers and their needs
- Have developed a clear sales process and strategy
- Can begin to predictably estimate if and when sales will close
Based on our internal knowledge and working in the sales recruitment industry day in, day out, here are some points to cover before you make your first sales hire and what to consider when it comes to attracting candidates.
Create the job description based on your business needs
You can’t hire someone unless you know what you’re recruiting for. Why do you require a salesperson? What is it that they need to be able to take on and ‘own’ within their role? From this, you can determine the kind of personality that you’d like to attract and the sort of skill set that you are seeking.
Think about culture fit
How your business functions in relation to core values should be the method that you want to preserve. Defining the ‘type’ of people you want on your team is a good starting point.
Don’t let valuable people pass you by. A candidate might not possess every skill you’re hoping for, but if they have the sort of personality that makes you feel enthusiastic, that’s a good sign. The chances are, if you find likeable qualities in someone, your clients will buy into them too. Good people with great mindsets can be trained and mentored.
Recognise the right attitude
The importance of someone’s outlook on sales is crucial. Finding a person that gets excited about being your first salesperson and is willing to go above and beyond is no easy venture, but it’ll be worth it when you do.
Attracting candidates is one thing, hiring and retaining them is another. You want to keep your employees, and nobody wants to feel ‘stuck’ in their role with no chance of moving forward. Traditionally, the sales industry suffers from high turnover rates. Every time a salesperson leaves, you need to start a new hiring cycle, spend money to advertise the job and train new employees from scratch. This is why investing in career development matters, you want your salesperson to have progression with your company in the back of their minds, as it will encourage them to work harder.
Don’t get caught up on industry experience
It depends on what services or products you’re selling, but usually and often in our experience, a fantastic salesperson outweighs industry experience, so don't get too caught up looking for ‘the perfect candidate’, they likely don’t exist. They can learn the industry, if they possess the qualities you’re seeking and if they’re keen - you’re likely off to a good start.
Set interview tasks to test commitment
Task-based interviews at a second/final stage are a great way to gauge how well somebody can perform under some healthy pressure. Set them a realistic task, something you’d like to see them succeed at.
It’s ok to not know where to start. If you’re unsure where to begin and need some support with finding the right salespeople for your sector, get in touch. Learn more about our expertise here.
We recently came across an article that really piqued our interest. Written by Simon Hares, Sales & Management Trainer, who shared his opinion on the topic of cold calling. He makes a bold point: “email is killing the personal interactions between salespeople and clients, and picking up the phone should be at the forefront of the mind of a sales rep, not an afterthought.“
An interesting one; particularly in the modern age of communication - with emails and messaging applications at our fingertips. We were keen to catch up with Simon to gather his thoughts and to capture his view to share with you, our clients and candidates.
enable: Simon, in your recent opinion piece you mentioned that if sales are not coming in, it’s nothing to do with sales process or closing skills, but everything to do with the sales approach...
Could you share what made you come to this conclusion, and are you able to share some practical suggestions to shift the focus from emailing to consistent cold-calling amongst sales teams? How can salespeople implement a self-managed strategy?
When the sales pipeline needs topping up, it is often the case that salespeople can be overly reliant on email as a way of cold calling. The thing that salespeople forget is that when an unsolicited email pops into an inbox, the client will do with it exactly what anyone would do - and ditch it.
The golden rule is based on the sales approach: always call first, call again and keep calling.
Only send information on email if the client has specifically requested it, or if you simply cannot reach them.
On this latter point, it is worth stating in the email that you have attempted to be in touch. The email should hold a statement that grabs their attention and is really powerful. A bit like a newspaper headline, it should include something that really makes the receiver want to know more. Make it compelling. Use the subject line creatively, use the main body of the email to get the client thinking about how you can be a resource to them that represents real value.
The key to this is to talk about the client and not yourself. Think about it, who do people like to talk about the most? Themselves right? So it stands to reason that they want to read about themselves too. This approach is refreshing to read and is so much better than the dross that usually reads, “Hi my name is XXX and I work for the UK’s largest biggest and best thing ever and we have some exciting opportunities for you that really make us different, blah blah blah.”
Do your research, talk about what you currently know about the client, their business and their website, get them intrigued. Oh and one final thing on sales approach, stop using the word ‘different’, everyone says it, and so everyone is the same.
Use something that is more applicable to the client, because if salespeople are challenged on how they are different, they usually fall back on the same things, service, cost, response and quality. Well hey, guess what, that is what everyone does so when a salesperson says the word different, the client hears the word ‘same’. Use the word ‘relevant’. Wow, what a word. It really makes you come up with something that will substantiate what you are trying to say and really differentiate yourself.
The best way to approach this is to work out what makes what you offer relevant to the client, how does it work, how can it make the client money or save them time. In training, I always bring relevance to the way training can make clients money, improve staff retention, saving recruitment costs and how easy it is to measure from an HR point of view.
As I talk to HR people mostly, this really resonates with them and is highly relevant, this gets me in.
So in short, think about your sales approach, use a great process and be relevant.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Simon!
SerialTrainer7 can offer your business effective sales training that really impacts the behaviours and effectiveness of your teams. Simon can be contacted on 07979 537824 or Simon@serialtrainer7.com