Recently I was asked to my views on the best interview questions for sales hires. It was published in a great ebook from Openview Ventures. Be sure to take a look at it, there are some great questions from some very smart people.
One of my favorite questions for an interview is, “Can you show me your plan for this interview?”
The reason I like it is that we know research and preparation for a sales call is critical to our effectiveness. If we want to move the customer through their buying process, if we want to create great value and outcomes in every interaction with the customer, planning the call is critical.
We know an effective sales call plan has goals and objectives, we know we have questions–things we want to learn. We know the customer is going to have questions or objections that we have to be prepared to answer. We know we want to present some proofs–why our solution will help the customer achieve our goals. We want to know a little bit about who we are talking to and what their hot buttons might be.
So if we are going to make high impact sales calls, we have to prepare. The very best sales people have a written plan, perhaps they’ve agreed to an agenda with the customer up front.
So sales call planning is critical to sales effectiveness.
Well, what’s this have to do with an interview?
Think about it, an interview is nothing more than a sales call. For the sales person, it may be the most important sales call they will ever make–it’s selling themselves to the hiring manager, convincing the manager they are the right person for the job.
If ever there was a time to be prepared, if ever there was a time for a top notch sales call plan, it’s in the interview process.
So that’s why I ask for their sales call plan.
If they haven’t thought enough to prepare for the most important sales call they could make, what are they going to do in their job for me? Are they going to prepare, are they going to be impactful?
A person that doesn’t have one, makes the interview process easy, and very short.
Once I have their sales call plan, I then get to see them execute it on me. So I learn more, not only the research and planning they have done, but their ability to execute the plan.
Sales managers, hiring managers, do you ever ask candidates for the “Sales Call Plan” for you? If you aren’t, you are missing an opportunity.
Sales people (or anyone going for an interview), have you prepared. Do you have a plan? Have you documented it? Remember, the interview is the opportunity for you to sell the product that’s most important to you—You! If you aren’t prepared, if you don’t have a plan, how will you be successful.
Oh, and remember, if I’m interviewing you, you know one of the first questions I’m going to ask.