Beginners Guide: Sales roleplays in an interview - 17th May 2016

If you’re interviewing for a sales job, it is very likely that you’ll be required to do a sales role play. There is no better way to test a person’s ability to do something than by getting them to actually do it. You wouldn’t pick a footballer to join your team without first seeing them play so why would you do any different when it comes to a salesperson?

We usually do role plays with our candidates before submitting them for a job. Having listened to dozens of these role plays in the office, I have realised there are many things that can go wrong.

From the moment a sales role play starts, it should be treated as if it is a real sales meeting. You can’t forget the basics just because it’s a role play; so look the person in the eye, firm handshake, etc. One of the main things that the interviewer will be looking out for is the questions you ask. Questions are a vital part of any sales meeting, they help you to fully understand what your client wants. Our role play tends to be a meeting where you would sell me office furniture and so the sort of questions usually asked are how many desks I need. While this is a perfectly good question you could develop on this and ask why we need new desks. This would have me talking about my company (and probably my role in it – everyone loves to talk about themselves!).

If you’re doing a role play with a potential employer, chances are they will want you to sell one of their products. LEARN THE PRODUCT. You will have time to prepare for this role play, so do your research. If you go into the role play with very limited knowledge it will be obvious and you will not do well. It’s also insulting to the employer that you couldn’t be bothered to do your preparation.

Just like the beginning of the role play, end it as you would any sales meeting. Propose next steps, gain agreement or, if relevant, close the deal!

Good luck!