networking for salespeople

Networking for Salespeople: 11 Steps For Achieving Personal & Professional Growth

Networking for sales professionals has long been considered sage advice and for good reason. This best practice can open up many doors for you whether in friendships, mentorships, new career opportunities and even earning referral sales opportunities.

But What Exactly Is Networking? (And How Should You Go About It?)

To network is to cultivate people around you who can help you professionally. This is something that may come naturally to some but for most, and especially for those of us who are more introverted, the task can seem much more daunting than it is appealing.

Becoming proficient at networking is synonymous to mastering the art of making friends. At the end of the day we’re all human beings and as such have a tendency to want to help one another. This is a truer sentiment when those who need help are the befriended.

However, this is much easier said than done. To walk into a room full of strangers, present yourself in a confident manner and quickly find relatable topics of conversation to build relationships is no easy task. After all, it’s not like we’re mind readers.

Here are a few tips you can lean on to help make the whole process of transitioning strangers to friends a more welcoming ordeal.

Step 1: Prepare A Personal Pitch

The first thing you’ll want to do to get ready for a networking event is to prepare a personal pitch. Your personal pitch is a quick but exemplary description of who you are and what you do.

After all, the question you’ll probably have to answer the most at any networking event is, “Who are you? And what do you do?”

Having a quick answer to these questions that is easy to comprehend is key to helping keep your interactions smooth. Stumbling through trying to explain who you are can come off as unconfident and leave a bad initial impression.

Part of your personal pitch will be driven by your goal for the event which is actually a perfect segue to our next piece of advice.

Step 2: Have A Goal In Mind

Networking, like many other endeavors in life, can prove to be ineffective without a clear objective in mind. When approaching a networking event, try and think to yourself what it is you’d like to get out of it. Are you trying to find a mentor? Are you looking for prospects to drive future sales? Or are you simply trying to meet more people in a particular field? Having a specific goal in mind will help frame your interactions and conversations.

Let your goal be your mission and let that mission drive you and let that be clear. Just as you start to understand who the people are that you meet and what they’re doing, they’ll start to understand what you’re looking to accomplish as well. Even if the person you’re talking to at that moment isn’t directly relevant to your goal, they may have just met someone or know someone in their network that can help you get to where you want to be.

Step 3: Have A Few Ice-breakers Prepared Ahead Of Time

Even the most socially adept people in the world are bound to have a few bad interactions. Simply put, it’s impossible to be on top of your game 100% of the time. Maybe you’re drained from a long day at work or perhaps there’s something pressing that suddenly pops into your mind at the wrong moment. Whatever the case, it’s very easy for us to become mentally distracted and for some it only makes the challenge of finding a conversation starter that much more difficult.

As such, to avoid that mental stress and save your energy for keeping engaged with the ongoing conversations, it’s a good idea to have some ice-breakers saved in your back pocket. That way you can just fall back on them without much thinking and get people talking quickly.

The rules of topics to avoid in the workplace also apply here. You don’t want to argue with someone you’ve just met with if you’re trying to win their favor. That means you generally want to avoid talking about politics, religion, personal gossip, death or the myriad of other topics that ay be controversial.

If your mind is running a blank, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Recent sporting events.
  • Plans for the weekend.
  • Reasons for attending the event.
  • Advice on small challenges that you’re facing personally or at work.
  • Listen intently.

It’s relatively easy for people to tell whether or not someone is genuinely listening to them. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this at some point, where we simply nod our heads as someone is talking just to let them get out what they need to say but really we’re mentally checked out somewhere else. On the flipside, I’m sure at some point we’ve been on the receiving end of this behavior as well.

The moment someone realizes that you’re mentally checked out of the conversation is the moment they’ll stop caring about you. Why? They probably feel you don’t care about them. So why should they take an interest in someone who clearly isn’t reciprocating? Needless to say, it’s no way to make a good impression.

When someone is fully engaged in a conversation there will be tell-tale signs that the person has clearly been paying attention. Outside of body language such as facing their direction and nodding your head, a good listener will occasionally rephrase parts of what they’re hearing and offer their thoughts on certain points. If you can relate some of the later topics of conversation to things mentioned earlier in the engagement, you’ll probably land a few bonus points there too.

Step 4: Bring A Friend

In fact, bring a few. Going to networking events as a group can offer several benefits over going it alone. For one, as a group you’ll be able to cover more ground and because you guys have come as a unit. This inherently means that the group already understands each other’s objectives, increasing the chances that at least one of you will find the right person to connect with.

Secondly, you can leverage each other as a social crutch. By sticking together as a pack, you may draw in others to quickly grow your cluster and get conversations started quickly. Additionally, because your group of friends are already familiar with one another the rapport building amongst the group will probably feel more natural and suave, creating a comfortable environment for others to join.

Furthermore, interacting with strangers for a long period of time can definitely prove to be a mentally draining activity. If for some reason you feel you the need to take a break from all the action, you can rendezvous with your friends for some momentary relief.

Of course, there are many other things you could try to work on to improve your chances of making a great first impression such as paying attention to the tonality of your voice and being conscious of your body language.

Why? Because it’s critical that we emphasize how important it is to be cognizant of how we are coming across to other people when we first meet them. Some of the easiest things you can focus on if you’d like to get better at making a good first impression is your tonality and body language.

Just as you can use words to convey different meanings to compel people to feel in certain ways, you can also use your body for that same exact purpose. Through his research in 1971 Professor Mehrabian famously discovered the 7% rule, which is to say that words only contribute 7% to the importance of what is being conveyed. The other 93% is comprised of nonverbal elements such body language and tonality; body language taking the lion’s share of that with 55% and tonality accounting for the other 38%.

Step 5: Make Good, Solid Eye Contact

A quick and easy way to improve your body language is to work on your eye contact. Though it may feel awkward for some, making eye contact is a great way to quickly build rapport with someone you’ve just met. Good eye contact conveys to the speaker that you really are paying attention to and are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

If you are one of those people who find making eye contact awkward or unnatural, as a general rule of thumb where you want to be looking is the triangular area of a person’s face where their eyes and mouth act as the corners of that triangle. You also want to make sure that you’re breaking eye contact naturally with the flow of the conversation from time to time because otherwise, you might just come off as really creepy. You can even try focusing on one eye at a time and alternate between the two to see if it helps make things feel a bit less awkward.

Step 6: Practice Nodding Where Applicable

Another quick nonverbal tip that can win you some easy points is to nod as someone is speaking. Just like eye contact, nodding indicates to the speaker that you understand what they are saying. This is somewhat of a mind-trick, and feel free to test this out, but when someone starts nearing the end of what they intended to say and you want to hear more, simply nod your head 3 times. This encourages them to elaborate further, which often times people do.

Step 7: Remain Aware Of Your Body Orientation

Something else you might want to pay attention to is the way you are orienting your body. You generally want to be positioned so that your chest is facing the person you’re speaking to in a one-on-one engagement or towards the center of the group when in a group setting.

Even if you’re head is facing towards the individual you’re speaking to, if your torso is facing elsewhere that person will get the sense that you are not giving them your full attention.

Slightly more advanced is making sure that your feet are properly oriented as well. Again, you want your feet to be pointing generally in the direction of the person you are speaking to or towards the center of the group when in a group context. Feet can actually say a lot about people’s intentions. When someone is about to leave a conversation, you can often tell because they’re feet will turn in the direction they intend to go before the rest of their body.

Step 8: Keep Good Posture

Confidence is a huge part of making a good impression. When people congregate together in a room, it’s not the coy individuals on the side that everyone takes notice of. No. It’s the confident individuals in the center of the room who really catch people’s attention.

One of the best ways to convey confidence is to have good posture. That means keeping your back straight and chin up. If you’re someone who happens to slouch often, trying to fix your posture can understandably feel awkward. Furthermore, some people may even over correct and strain their backs in a forced effort to keep it straight. You definitely want to be using your back muscles to support your weight but not to the point where you feel uncomfortable when holding your form.

Also, keeping your chin high just means not tucking in your chin too often. Someone who is constantly looking at the floor or otherwise in a downward direction comes off to others as shy and unconfident, which is the exact opposite of the message you want to be sending. This also shouldn’t be overdone to the point where you’re literally looking down on people but is something that you’ll definitely want to be paying closer attention to.

Step 9: Use Reciprocal Tonality

It’s not likely that this is a term you’ll find being used elsewhere but what the idea represents is the use of tone to properly respond to what is being said. For example, if someone just told you about an awesome weekend they had, it would be a great opportunity for you to add some excitement to your voice. This lets the speaker know that they’re doing a good job of sharing their experience and makes them feel that they are better being listened to.

Getting this wrong could do a lot to hurt your chances of making a good first impression. Not that I’d imagine anyone to do this but if someone were to tell you they were ill, a proper response would not be to respond with, “Hey that’s great!” Failing to have the proper response could lead to a very awkward situation so be mindful of how you choose to respond.

Step 10: Have A Strong Voice

Again the goal in your interactions should be to come off as being confident. In addition to having good posture, another way to demonstrate that you are indeed a confident individual is to have a strong voice. As with all of the advice thus far, moderation is key.

You want to be loud enough such that you can easily be heard by those you are speaking to but not so loud such that you’re basically screaming at people. Being too loud or too soft in your speech can definitely irk some people. No one likes to be yelled at and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to put in more effort just to try and make out what someone is saying.

Follow the Goldilocks Principle and find that perfect medium that will pave the path for you to sound like a complete rockstar.

Step 11: Use Hand Gestures Thoughtfully

Lastly, using your hands can be a great way to help make a lasting impression. Using your hands will allow you to be much more expressive in communicating your thoughts and also helps other more easily remember what you’re saying.

When using your hands to communicate, you want your hand gestures to match what’s being said. For example, when describing something small a pinching gesture could do well to accompany your message.

Gesturing also helps you convey a sense of enthusiasm and confidence which is exactly what you want to be doing when you’re trying to network.

So as a quick recap, the things you want to be paying attention to are eye contact, nods, posture, tone, volume, and hands. It may be a bit much to try and improve on all of these areas all at once so I recommend focusing on just 1 or 2 at a time. Once you feel well mastered in one area, move on to the next until you become a networking virtuoso.

Best of luck in growing your network!

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get high paying sales jobs at Rainmakers!

pros and cons of switching jobs

Should​ ​You​ ​Change​ Sales ​Jobs?​ ​The Full List​ ​of​ ​Pros​ ​&​ ​Cons

Should you change jobs?

Here’s a full list of pros and cons to consider when thinking of making a switch. ​​

Look on any LinkedIn Jobs Posting and it becomes apparent that it is a buyer’s market in the Tech SDR and AE talent pool. There are more sales jobs available than any other time in our history, and with good reason. A top-notch AE can be a rainmaker for a company bringing in millions to the bottom line.

SDR’s only have a market life of 18 months, but a skilled Sales Development Rep sets up an AE with solid leads to close, and this is an invaluable skill in our modern business climate. With a new tech company popping up with funding every week and savvy recruiters prowling LinkedIn’s rich waters, chances are if you are a good salesperson someone will make you an offer too good to refuse. We need to look at the pros and cons of a job offer.

However does it make sense to change? Change is good, but with any job change, you need to look at the new vs. old job with a critical eye. Try to make a pros and cons list of a job offer outlining everything that needs the critical eye before the jump.

Perceived PRO: Earning Potential = More Money

Perceived CON: Not As Much Income Security

Did you find a better job or does it just look better?

Where does it fall in the job change decision matrix?

Are the benefits, the work environment, and the income potential all in alignment?

Salespeople sell and are sold to. Which means we buy easier than the average person.

That sales manager who’s talking to you… he sells for a living, and right now he is trying to sell you this job.

That new job looks all shiny and awesome. “You can make X,” the manager says, but WILL you make that?

When you’re asked, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” This is an incredibly tough question to answer because you know what they are thinking. Well, if he would just leave the other guys, when will he leave us? If you answer for the money, then is money the only thing keeping you there? A bad job is not worth any amount of money.

Perceived PRO: It’s a better company to sell for.

Perceived CON: You could get better at your current role.

Is the old job bad, or do you just need to get better at it? Tom was never in the top percentile at his SDR position, and he sometimes felt his managers didn’t give him the best leads.

When a new job was dangled his way, he wanted to know more. His best friend (who got him the old job) cautioned him:

“You need to get better at all the things that make up this job. THEN if you want another job you can go knowing you gave it your all. Plus, you won’t leave with a good recommendation; you have never hit your quota.”

Big take away: The grass always looks greener, and perhaps it is green, but leaving before you have the numbers might leave you at a disadvantage.

Perceived PRO: It’s the job I want now.

Perceived CON: It doesn’t lead to the job I want in 5 years.

Which job will let you grow to your highest potential?

Where do you want to be in 4 years?

An SDR’s life is not easy; it’s daily grunt work! Lots of email. You’re texting, cold calling, sending white papers, doing social media work. In the long run, it has a logical payout- the coveted Account Executive position. Here is the question to ask: is your SDR Position getting you there? Are you heading toward becoming an AE?

These are things to consider before changing jobs. What is the current agreement you have with your Sales Manager about getting you to the AE position? Do you believe her? Letting your current Manager know how hungry you are for the AE position might change the dynamics of your current position. Your manager could fast track you; quitting would cut off that path.

Perceived PRO: It’s a hungry startup with lots of potential.

Perceived CON: Last Hired Is Often First Fired.

When Martin came in to his new AE position everything looked great. Then, the last quarter numbers came in lower than expected and the funding dried up. His position was the first to go. “I wish I had spent more time looking at the bottom line details. They were struggling, but all I saw was the money.”

Startups can be heavy with egos struggling to survive. Is it the environment? Is the sales floor an uncomfortable, competitive, and toxic environment? How do you explain this? Try outlining the environment you work best in. Do you thrive in silence, or does the loudness drive you to new heights? I’ve worked with many salespeople who actually struggled in quiet environments. Personally, I love them. Making a move to find a place where you can work better is a narrative that works.

Perceived PRO: A New Product, A New Sales Process

Perceived CON: You Are Now The New

How long will it take to get you up to superstar speed? Spend time on the floor or mirroring a top performer. Ask them point blank, “How long until I can do what you do?” Then double it, just to give yourself breathing room. Is that a comfortable amount of time? Pros: You get to learn a new product, a new system. It’s a basket full of new. I personally thrive on this; I’m a quick learner. I’ve worked with several reps who take a long time to ramp up, and this can cause stress to a new work environment.  Some people need change; new ideas energize them. When I study the numbers of reps who give up, I see a trend of not seeing the real progress that is being achieved in the daily grind. Did you give up too early to even make a good decision?

Perceived PRO: Feels Good To Be Wanted

Perceived CON: Ignore your ego. Why do they want you?

What is real reason you want to leave? It’s an incredible ego rush to hear from a recruiter saying all the right things? “We have heard great things about you!” Being wanted by another company just feels good. However, this new car smell wears off quickly if the numbers aren’t delivered. Then what happens? Are you prepared for the worst as well as the best? Asking the company why they think you would be a good fit for them. This can be very illuminating. Explain how you work best, and ask to examine the environment you will sell in before determining if it will work for you.

We are blessed and cursed in the sales profession to have such a rich and vibrant market to earn our living. With success comes the inevitable call or text from the recruiter. Whether we decide to take the job offer, or to stay depends on many factors, and a critical eye to decide which is which.

essential sales books for beginners

7 Essential Sales Books To Build A Strong Foundation For Your Career

Sales books provide a glimpse into the mind of another individual without the need for them to actively share their time. Their knowledge and experiences have already been eternally transcribed within the pages of their books for anyone to read at their own leisure. Sales just happen to be one of those things that you’d expect to be fairly straightforward but aren’t in practice. For that reason, we’ve listed 5 essential sales books for beginners. Study these to build a strong powerful foundation for your sales career! Check out this resource from Sales Hacker for a more robust list of sales books.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This book is an absolute classic and must-read for any sales professional. It’s probably the book you’ll hear referred to the most throughout your career. It’s simply that powerful. Though written over 80 years ago, much of the advice in his book still holds true to this day. The book deals mainly with how to best communicate with other people by avoiding potential conflicts and proactively working to make a good impression. As such this can be a great read for all kinds of folks, not just those working in sales. In fact, anyone who deals with people for a living would benefit greatly from reading the teachings of Dale Carnegie.

Check it out – How To Win Friends And Influence People

 

2. Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Zigler

Zig Zigler is a fairly renowned author, sales coach and motivational speaker. If you do a quick YouTube search for his name, you’ll find a long list of videos that are from his speeches, interviews or other segments where he’s given his knowledge and advice to others. If you have the time to look through a few of them, it may be worth your time as well but his book will certainly provide you with strategies and guidelines to make you as effective at persuasion as you can be. It’s also a relatively quick read so would definitely be worth adding to the reading list for those who are looking for a new book to get through.

Check it out – Secrets of Closing the Sale

 

3. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink

Here we have another book that seems to get quite a lot of love and attention from many professionals in the world of sales. I’ve heard this book get mentioned in conversations on a number of occasions from various networking events. Having only been published in 2012, it’s a very recent book as well.

Within its pages, Pink talks about the correlation between persuasion and selling. He also outlines that regardless of your profession, a challenge that comes up quite frequently in life is the ability to effectively persuade someone else of an idea. Whether it’s getting children to do their homework or convincing a significant other to eat at a restaurant of your choosing, there is always an element of persuasion or selling necessary. Thus, Pink is able to derive the name of his book from this basic principle.

Check it out – To Sell is Human

 

4. Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely

Now this book doesn’t particularly focus on the art of sales or how to improve your persuasion directly, but it does provide some very interesting insights into very common mistakes most people have in their thinking. What Dan Ariely proves in a series of experiments is that although in theory, you would think that everyone would make the most rational decision in every situation, that’s simply not the case. Even more so, people seem to make the same irrational decisions in a predictable manner.

If you’re interested in learning about these common falsehoods in people’s thinking, and possibly even your own, this is another great book to add to your reading list. As a quick bonus, if you want more from Dan Ariely and his research, he recently published another book called Payoff which dives into the hidden logic of things that shapes our motivation.

Check it out – Predictably Irrational

 

5. SPIN Selling, by Neil Rackham

This book is likely to provide you with some of the most tactical advice you can use immediately in your sales career. The book is titled after the selling methodology of the same name that it evangelizes. SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. Each part of the acronym relates to the different types of questions you should be asking to help build interest for your product or service within the prospect and effectively guide them through the sales process.

Many of you are likely already familiar with the BANT criteria for validating a sale. This is essentially taking that concept and flipping it on its head, where you can you now use the same criteria to validate the sale to the prospect rather than to yourselves internally.

Check it out – SPIN Selling

 

6. New Sales Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development, by Mike Weinberg

Mike Weinberg actually runs his own sales consultancy and it is safe to say that he knows a thing or two about sales.  He played a pivotal part in the successful growth of SlimFast in the early days, a story he talks about within his book. Outside of just his successful sales journey and the experiences that helped guide him to where he is today, he outlines a very solid framework that’s both easy to follow and leverage.

He provides best practices on how to productively kick off your sales process with ideas and tactics that have served him and his many clients well over the last several years. He goes over everything in great detail, from how to approach the whole process of prospecting to getting mentally prepared to hit the phones with the right message. This is definitely a must read for newer sales professionals and a great refresher even for those who are more seasoned.

Check it out – New Sales Simplified

 

7. Hacking Sales, by Max Altschuler

Max Altschuler was a key player in the explosive growth behind Udemy. He explains the process he used to prioritize both his prospects and key community members to get things going quickly during the infancy stages of the company. He’s since had a very successful career providing consulting work and founding an organization known as Sales Hacker. Similar to Mike Weinberg above, Max took his advice and wrote out this book for all sales people to benefit from. He presents his ideas in a very understandable fashion and offers more specific tactics around the sales technology tools available on the market and how to effectively use them to your advantage.

Check it out – Hacking Sales

 

Recap: 7 Essential Sales Books For Beginners

Of course, this is not to say that these are the only sales books worth reading. There are tons of other books you can read to improve your ability to sell like Predictable Revenue, Think and Grow Rich, The New Strategic Selling, The Challenger Sale, Endless referrals and so many more. There are even books that can teach you to be a better sales coach or leader like Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions. Truly the list of books you can read in this realm can go on and on. That said, this list should serve you well as a great starting point for your new sales reading journey. Finishing these seven books should give you a very strong foundational understanding of how to think about and execute on your ability to sell.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get approached by tech companies offering tech sales jobs at Rainmakers.

common sales interview questions and best answers

Deconstructing The 4 Most Common Sales Interview Questions

In this article, we’ll fully breakdown the 4 most common sales interview questions, and give you the best possible answers!

Conduct Your Job Interview Like You Would The Sales Process

Whether you love it or hate it, interviews are a very important part of the hiring process. That’s why it’s so crucial that you are well prepared to properly handle any interview questions that come your way when you’re trying to get a job in tech sales.

Failure to do so will not bode well as your potential employer might worry about how you will handle objections while on the job. The way you handle the questions thrown at you during the interview could make or break your chances of getting an offer, so make sure to answer them with confidence.

Keep in mind that in a sense, the interview is very much like a sale, wherein you are the product and the company is the buyer.

Leverage this dynamic to your advantage and use the interview as a platform to showcase the various strategies and tactics you would use on the job. What better way to prove you’re the best candidate than to have the interviewer see you in action?

Below is a short list of 4 very common questions asked during many tech sales interviews. Let’s take a moment to dig deeper into each one and identify the best ways to approach them.

1. Why do you want to be in sales? 

This question is an absolute classic and one that is almost guaranteed to come up during your interview. In asking this question, the interviewer is trying to understand what your motivation is. What about sales excites you and makes you want to get out of bed every morning?

There is no one right answer to this question, but there is one thing you always need to do with your answer. Be clear and convincing.

Don’t stop with simple and vague statements like:

“I live and breathe sales” or “I’m just a natural-born salesperson”.

Provide examples that back up your claims. What have you done that demonstrates your excellent sales abilities?

Why have these events influenced your decision to pursue a career in sales? What about your character and skills make you a good fit for a career in sales as opposed to another field?

In order to ace this question, you need to leave the interviewer feeling that there will be no need to worry about your motivation should you get hired.

They need to have that sense of confidence that even if they’re not always around to see you, you’ll have the ability and the self-motivation to stay focused and continuing to perform.

2. What do you know about our company?

This question can be phrased in many different ways but ultimately the interviewer is trying to see how well prepared you are. Use this question as a springboard to demonstrate your research prowess since it’s an extremely valuable skill for any tech sales professional to have.

If the company is public you can read through their annual report or 10-K to find some golden nuggets of information like what their goals are for the year or what they foresee as being some of their biggest challenges.

If instead you’re interviewing for a private company or even a startup, there are still a wide range of resources at your disposal. Crunchbase is a great website to find information on companies, especially early tech startups. Owler is another great resource you can use to find recent news about any company.

And of course, checking the company website and doing a quick Google search for the company name is a great way to get a high-level understanding of their business. At the very least you want to have a good understanding of who their customers are and how they differ from the other competitors in the space.

Try your best to piece things you find in your research together in a way that shows off your analytical skills and ability to see the bigger picture. If you can prove you have a good understanding of the environment in which the company operates and what their current situation means from a business perspective, there will be no doubt in the interviewer’s mind that you can do the same for your prospects and have meaningful business conversations.

3. When was the last time you took a big risk that didn’t pan out?

Another one that would very similar to this would be the “What’s your greatest weakness?” question. Both of these questions require you to have a strong enough understanding of yourself to recognize what your limitations are. All of us are human and none of us are perfect but to recognize where your imperfections lie requires one to have a strong sense of self-awareness.

Being able to point out where you could improve also demonstrates your ability to be coached which is something many hiring managers like to see in their candidates. Someone who is completely stuck in their ways and unwilling to re-evaluate their approach can be extremely difficult to work with and therefore if you give the impression that you’re one of these types of candidates, the hiring manager may pass on you to save themselves from future frustrations down the line.

To prove that you are indeed someone that is coachable, think back to an experience that didn’t go as you had wanted and explain the lessons that you learned from that experience. Bonus points if you can even talk about how you continue to use those lessons to this day. By doing this you’re illustrating that you are someone who inherently focuses on self-improvement and embraces change for the better.

How this particular question differs from the ‘greatest weakness’ question is that it goes one step further by also gauging your risk tolerance and ability to take calculated risks. When listening to your experience the interviewer is trying to understand how you approach a risky situation, what you take into consideration and how you ultimately factor everything into your final decision.

Just like with question 1 on this list, there is no one right answer or approach to this question, and possibly even more so on this one because it depends greatly on the company’s and interviewer’s tolerance for risk. Whether they are risk loving or risk averse, you want to provide an example that falls as closely in line with their preferences.

Your research can sometimes provide you with a good sense of the company’s risk tolerance. Additionally, if you’re good at reading people, you can often tell by the interviewer’s body language how aggressive of a personality they have. The more aggressive they seem, the more likely they’ll have a higher tolerance for risk. If all else fails and you really just can’t get a sense of where they stand, err more on the side of higher risk. After all, you are trying to work in sales. Sales managers would rather hire someone who can take action on a well thought out scenario than the other way around, especially if the candidate has already proven that he or she is very coachable.

4. Do you have any questions for me?

Though seemingly innocuous, this question can actually be pretty loaded. The way a candidate answers this question can say a lot about their character.

A lot of the time there may be legitimate questions you have about the job that are left unanswered and this is absolutely the right time to ask those questions. However as a fair warning, it would be highly advisable to not make every question about the company’s benefits or what you stand to gain from the position. Though they may be important, try to sprinkle in some additional questions around anything that was unclear around how you’d actually do your job. In fact, you can probably get a lot of simple answers to your benefits questions by doing a little bit of research on the company’s Glassdoor profile.

That way you can ask other questions that are more relevant to the actual job at hand during the interview. What tools will you be using? What are common struggles they see with new hires coming on board? What have others before you done to succeed? Try to think more along these lines as this will convey to your interviewer that you are serious and excited about the work to be done.

This is almost always the last question asked during the interview so don’t squander the opportunity to make a great final impression. Utilize the peak-end rule to your advantage and go out with a bang to to ensure you have the highest chance of getting that job offer.

Lastly, also remember that just as much as the company is trying to evaluate your fit into their business and available role, you should also be evaluating the fit of the position to your personal preferences. Everyone is different and so if there are certain things about a job that are extremely important for you, make sure to touch on those as well. The last thing you’d want to do is hastily join an organization just for the sake of getting a new job only to find out soon after that you made the wrong decision and, even worse, may have to go through the whole job search process again because you joined the wrong company.

PS – Check out this guide for a more robust list of sales interview questions and answers.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

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