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    How To Prepare For A Sales Interview With No Experience?

    Image showing a lady with no experience in sales preparing for a sales interview

    I see the irony of writing the answer to how to prepare for a sales interview with no experience when I already have been selling for some times. 22 years to be precise.


    Someone new who are applying for a sales job and now are called to sit in for a second or third interview would want to get solid preparation tips which only can come from those who already have gone through the process to increase their chances to make it through.


    You can read all the article about making it through interviews by doing a quick search on the Search Engine but you do need to know who you can trust for the right kind of sales jobs preparation information.


    I have been in and out of different companies selling mostly healthcare products – medicines, medical devices – to healthcare providers for a span of two decades.


    I have worked for Multinational Companies (MNCs) and locals.


    I have held different posts from executives to manager.


    So, I believe I have a tip or two to share with those who are just about to start their journey into sales and you’ll benefit the most if you just started at the very beginning – the job interview, especially when you have no prior sales experience.


    You can turn this to your advantage.


    By end of this article, you should be able to:

    • Manage your expectation before sales jobs interviews
    • How to come up with solid preparation
    • Create lasting impression on interviewers
    • Avoid biggest mistake most beginners make during the interview


    Let’s get started …


    How To Prepare For A Sales Interview With No Experience?

    How To Manage Your Expectation Before The Sales Job Interview


    You are about to enter a company's door. 


    You are about to get both feet in. 


    And that is just the beginning. 


    I won't bore you with the detail on how to look for a sales job in a company. 


    Just a few pointers to note:


    If a sales job is what you want, then search for the job at the place where it is most likely to be found.


    For example, in the case of medical sales, you go looking for opportunity at the hospitals’ compound, retail pharmacies, clinics, or general practitioners’ offices. Get your hand on one or two brochures and get the companies’ contact info.


    Start your contact plan.


    If you want a shortcut, just ask the staff, especially the receptionists, and get from them the companies' representative contact. Again, begin a contact plan.


    If everything else fails, go online. Yahoo or Google it. You'll end up looking at one eventually.


    I probably confuse myself when I wrote this point. 


    My initial intention was to touch on the beginning of a specific pharmaceutical selling which is to talk about how a person begins to sell a particular medicine or medical device.


    But then I talk about getting into a pharmaceutical sales job. 


    Looking back, I probably see the connection or how I want to approach this particular tip. 


    I mean, how can a person practices pharma sales if he/she is not in the industry, right?


    It makes sense in retrospect, but I didn't make the connection then. 


    My bad ...


    I then revert the whole point and touch on how to come fully loaded and prepared for a pharma’s sales job interview, the excellent points to be paid close attention to during the conversation, and how to best handle interviewer questions.


    Mastering the above will ensure you a key to unlock the job with income potential up to 100 K a year, fascinating incentive trips, and most importantly, minimal Manager supervision and flexible working hours.


    How's that?


    I know you can apply the same strategy for a job that requires you to sell something because the original concept is:


    “The players change but the game is the same.”


    But don’t straight away take my words for it. Test it out yourself and discover the effect. You get better at applying this strategy every time.


    How To Come Up With Solid Interview Preparation


    Now, you have move beyond the application for the sales job with the company.


    You've contacted them, you've waited, and you received a call," Mr. Lucky You, are you available 3 days from today? You are? OK. Do come to our Prestigious Sales Company office for interview 3 days from now. Thank you."


    I can hear your chest thumping!


    You better cool down, or else you'll get arrhythmia (hope you understand the term being used here). 


    Help is on its way.


    After reviewing 5 books on the successful interview, I sat thinking to myself, "I don't need all these people to tell me what to tell you. In fact, what do 'these experts' know about every industry? I've conducted countless interviews before and recruited many excellent candidates. I can tell you what's important. After all, some of the experts’ sound dry and boring!"


    So, pay close attention friend because I'm not going to be the expert.


    I will just be your friend, and here's what I'll say to you (it's not dry nor dull):


    I'm going to share with you what the interviewer is most likely to do instead of what you need to do. When you know what he or she (nowadays the interviewers are mostly 'she') will do, you'll know what to do.


    Make sense?


    Basically, these things will happen. They will...


    Review your application materials: resume (CV), application form, supporting documents, testimonials, and what not have you.




    I know you know what to do now, about that CV and stuff.


    So, get going because after that they...


    Conduct what usually called 'Key Background Review.' 


    During this process, they go deeper into your job experiences (are they relevant?), employment history (why you keep changing job or why the change now?), or any other recommendation and I guess at this point you realize why they keep you in the backseat all these years.


    After that what they do is they...


    Prepare the questions.


    It's more than one question, and it almost resembles an interrogation, only friendlier. 


    The questions target to look at your behaviours in given conditions whereby the conditions are very relevant to your role and to the companies' environment, mission, etc.




    I know you know what to do now. Go figure them now.


    In the meantime, keep your dreams of earning 100 K per year alive by going through the new cars and new house catalogues which just arrive in your mailbox. 


    Just picture yourself owning them. 


    Keep smiling. 


    You look great!


    After all, you have known how to fool proof your preparation for your sales job interview.


    How to Create a Lasting Impression On Your Interviewer 


    The job interview is the door to enter a job selling products or services for the company. 


    Now that you've applied the strategies recommended beforehand, God willing, you've been given the date to attend an interview session.

    Interview day.


    The day. D-Day.


    The moment you've been waiting for. You've prepared for this. You're ready.


    I'll just provide you with few more pointers that can assure you'll create an excellent impression that will last for a lifetime or as long as you serve the company.


    Here they are...


    Create a favourable impression upon entrance. And the most important person to impress is usually overlooked.


    Who is it?


    The receptionist or traditionally labelled as 'The Gate Keeper.'


    Project your image of confidence, prepared, and above all, friendly. That will be an added advantage to you because you can also do some groundwork and behind the scene info digging. More info means better equipped you are. More confidence and assurance to you. You need all the info you can get because...


    They asked you during the ice-breaking session. Now rather than they do all the asking which means allowing them more control, in between, you can be asked questions and show them a thing or two.


    I don't know about you, but if I'm the interviewer, I'm impressed. I'll be telling myself, "See how fast he can blend. Not bad at all."



    Not bad at all ey?




    A typical interview will generally follow this pattern...


    Ice-breaking session. You know what this is. Spelling out the interview purpose. Spell out the interview plan and the most important about this is to get enough info for them to make a sound decision.


    I also urge you to take note of something.


    Do they take notes? 


    Taking notes is a symbol of seriousness. 


    Don't take seriously those who do not take you seriously.


    There was a time when I was interviewed by a Country Manager of a multinational nutrition company for the Field Operation Manager post. The interview took place at a hotel. 3 persons plus the Country Manager interview me but none of them take any notes. 


    After 15 minutes of questions and answers, I excuse myself. 


    I just told them that I'm no longer interested. 




    They never took me seriously. 


    That's why.


    But what if it's just a screening process? 


    Screening means they want to evaluate whether you're worthy to be called in for an interview. 


    Still, taking notes is important because after this, they'll move to do your Key Background Review and the latter is imperative.


    With a note, they know what to look for or cross check from the answer you've given them. 


    Have they not jotted down anything, you can say they just assuming or perhaps recalled from faulty human memory? Your career is too precious to be left to chances like that.


    For a 100 K a year job, such practice is unacceptable, don't you think?


    Now you knew how to enter the interview and create a lasting impression during the sales interview. 


    How To Avoid The Biggest Mistake Beginners Make During Interview For A Sales Job


    By the end of this article, I'll share with you 3 tips on how to avoid committing to this deadly job interview mistake.


    They'll help you to stay on top of the game, and increase your chances to land on your dream sales rep job.


    So here goes:


    I know you might have many answers for this but what would you consider as the job interview fatal mistakes?


    What are they?


    Are they behavioural or content?


    Having succeeded in a recent sales job interview for a diagnostic pharma company myself, let me give you a head-up.


    Hint: it's NOT about the way you behave in front of your interviewer.


    It's about what you say, i.e., content.


    Sometimes candidates tend to say this because they think it's 'transparent' to do so and as a person, they see themselves as being honest but let me assure you that in hunting for better sales jobs, be it in Pharmaceutical or other industries, being 'selectively' transparent makes more sense.


    Plus, it doesn't hurt your ego as an honest person that much because you're not lying. You simply choose not to tell the whole truth, right?


    Last two weeks, after about 11 months enjoying a 'job-free-stress' life, I submit to the urge of receiving a monthly pay check. Many people said that, due to my previous job post and remuneration, I'm going to face a hard time looking for a new job.


    Through some 'old-time' contacts and Pharma company insiders, I managed to land a job in a Pharmaceutical, diagnostic company.


    But that's not the exciting part.


    The exciting part is the part of who compete with me and didn't get the job. As far as I know, she didn't take 11 months 'job-break' like I did.


    So, what could have gone wrong here?


    After I got the job and during one of the training days, I was waiting for one of my colleagues to go out for lunch. During lunch, as usual, the story got out.

    "Back at the base, you're going to have a branch office," said A.
    "Oh yeah? O.K. Is it the same old D-H office?" I asked.
    "Yup. The same area. And you're going to share it with a few other Pharma companies’ reps," said A. "One of them was the one who competes with you for your current post," she added.
    "Really? That's interesting. If that so, maybe I know him...or her..." I quipped, waiting for a reaction.


    The whole story unfolds from there on.


    Before we walked to the car, A said," It's essential to remember that point. It could make or break your new career."


    I couldn't agree more.


    So, what's the point?


    It's this:


    Don't talk 'bad' things about your boss especially if you're still working with your current company.


    My friendly 'competitor' got caught up with this question: If your new boss did the same thing like what your current boss is doing, are you going to say and do the same something like what you're doing now?


    That's a red flag. It signals a lack of persistence and initiatives on your part.


    How to avoid this mistake?


    If you're not satisfied with your Boss, talk to the right person and tell them the right thing. Your potential employer is not considered the right person.


    If you still need to talk about it, put it in general terms with no specific.


    Talk about the behaviours and not the person.


    Turn your disappointment into improvement and make it clear that you're going to get that with your future employer.


    These are some of my suggestions on how to avoid pharma job interview fatal mistake.


    I see that if more people do these, we're going to have a good, healthy competition.


    Summary To How You Prepare For A Sales Interview With No Experience


    We’ve gone through some tips to how you can best prepare yourself, despite not having any experience with selling, for a job that require you to sell. You prepare by:

    • Managing your expectation before you step into the interview room
    • Following the tips for making your sales job interviews preparation solid
    • Creating the most favourable impressions on your interviewers that increase your chance for success
    • Avoiding the mistakes many beginners make when being interviewed


    All these are not a guarantee for you that you land on the sales job you’re after but when you apply them, your chances or pulling through are going to increase four folds compared to those who didn’t apply them.


    But don’t just take my words for it ...

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