There are plenty of articles and advice on how to interview for a sales position; what questions to prepare for, how to dress and what to bring and how to close the manager. This article addresses one of the most overlooked ways to mess up on a sales interview.
Many companies have a long hiring process that entails meeting with the hiring manager, human resources, district managers and another sales representative and finally a meeting at the corporate office. Most everyone puts on their A game for a meeting with hiring managers to advance to the final meeting at corporate, but often one interview is overlooked that can get you bounced out of the process, the meeting with the sales representative!
Meeting with another sales representative is often called a ride along and is a very important step in the interviewing process. Hiring managers include an interview with other sales representatives in the territory for several reasons. Firstly, it a chance for the person interviewing to really understand what the position entails. A ride along gives the candidate a view of what the day to day job responsibilities, such as call points and product knowledge. Here is what people do not know, Sales Managers put a lot of weight on this interview. That is right it is an interview! Here are some mistakes we have seen people make: texting or using your phone, not asking questions and lack of interest and no follow up.
Texting our using your phone
Look at your ride along the same way you would your interview with human resources or the hiring manager. You would never (hopefully) pick up your phone our text anyone during an interview with them, so do not ever use your phone during the ride along. This shows lack of interest and disrespect for the person you are riding with.
Not asking questions
You always go prepared to an interview with good thoughtful questions, so do the same on your ride along. Ask the sale representative questions about the territory, obstacles and successes. If you do not ask questions or act engaged in the process chances are you will come off not interested in the position and that information will get back to the hiring manager.
We have written about the importance of follow-up a few times. After any interview, it is a must to send a thank you note thanking the person you met with. This displays respect for their time and a commitment to moving forward in the interview process. It also shows if you get the position you will follow up with internal and external customers
A person selected by the hiring manager to spend the day with you in respected by the hiring manager and their opinion matters. We have seen people knocked out of the hiring process for not treating the ride along like a interview. Showing no respect or not following up. So take our advice and on your next ride along make it a great interview!