Why this matters:

A sales specialist candidate should have their finger on the pulse of the wide world of sales. If their approaches and methodologies lag behind the competition, many customers won’t be swayed — and may take their business elsewhere.

What to listen for:

  • How and where the candidate identifies current sales trends
  • An excitement for staying current in the world of sales
  • Willing to incorporate other modern avenues for sales information from colleagues

Why this matters:

A sales specialist’s word can only go so far in swaying some customers. Many potential customers want to see pictures, statistics, testimonials — anything that can corroborate the argument from a person being paid to sell. An ideal sales specialist candidate would understand how to leverage these resources to bolster their pitch, while at the same time avoiding reliance on them.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to describe in detail the practical utilities of different marketing contents
  • An understanding that marketing contents don’t necessarily speak for the sales representative
  • Willing to discover new ways to apply marketing contents toward productive sales encounters

Why this matters:

A sales specialist may not actively use a product they’re selling. But they should be able to demonstrate a high level of interest in its utility. Many customers will be able to recognize a disinterest in the product from the sales specialist, and may then lose interest in purchasing the product for themselves.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to answer that the candidate should care about the products they sell
  • Knowledgeable of how showing interest in a product can translate into a sale
  • Understands why a lacking interest in your product lineup can hurt their sales pitch and lead to fewer sales

 

Why this matters:

Difficult customers abound in the world of sales. Having experience working with them to create a positive sales experience in spite of their difficult nature helps demonstrate whether a candidate is truly adept as a sales specialist.

What to listen for:

  • Experience managing the high expectations of a particularly challenging customer
  • Explanation of how they overcame the barrier, and why they chose that approach
  • Can recognize where the customer’s frustration stemmed from, and how to address these pain points in the future

Why this matters:

Sometimes, making a sale isn’t just about boosting performance. Sales specialists must also materially support other members of the sales team to improve their ability to make a sale. If a sales specialist candidate doesn’t have any experience supporting the sales team they were a part of, they’re likely to struggle in this role.

What to listen for:

  • Recognizes the importance of teamwork to creating a productive and positive work environment
  • Ability to identify how a past approach to supporting their team made a positive impact
  • Explanation of the impact of their support, and that the result was a productive outcome for the company

Why this matters:

Any great sales specialist probably has a few sales under their belt which drove significant business to their organization. A sales specialist candidate should be able to understand what went right to lock in the sale. This question also gives candidates the opportunity to share key insights on how they’d improve their sales process in the future.

What to listen for:

  • Can analyze a sales achievement and the learnings of that achievement to future sales opportunities
  • Strong storytelling abilities that move listeners and impact decision-making
  • Understands what could have improved about the situation, and why that information is relevant

Why this matters:

With so many clients to attempt to manage at once, it’s inevitable there will be conflicts. A successful sales specialist candidate will be able to intuit which of their responsibilities to prioritize and what can be moved around without creating a problem.

What to listen for:

  • A clear, solution-oriented approach to managing critical scheduling conflicts
  • Can recognize important responsibilities for the organization to understand what needs to be accomplished
  • Ability to improve the candidate’s approach to resolving scheduling conflicts

Why this matters:

Many in the business world struggle to stay organized. In sales, organization is critical for keeping track of the myriad responsibilities brought upon by having numerous clients to tend to. A successful sales specialist would be able to explain practices they’ve developed from experience, which improve their organization.

What to listen for:

  • A clear explanation of how the candidate applies their best practices to everyday responsibilities
  • The ability to communicate best practices in detail, and in particular why those practices are effective
  • Honesty when identifying strengths and weaknesses in organizational skills

Why this matters:

This question demonstrates the candidate’s personality and their long-term career goals. It provides an opportunity to see how their goals align with those of your organization, and demonstrates what excites the candidate about the role. If the candidate can see themselves at your company, you’ll know they’re a strong mutual fit.

What to listen for:

  • Clear career goals that are attainable in the sales specialist position at your company
  • A firm understanding of why they want to work at your firm specifically
  • An excitement about salesmanship and interest to grow in this role
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