How to tackle a sales roleplay in an interview - 3rd March 2016

If a singer wants to join a band then it’s highly likely they will have to have an audition first. It is the only way to test their singing abilities (and their ability to do it under a bit of pressure!). The same can be said for many other things whether that’s sports teams or sales jobs.

We believe in doing role plays with all our potential candidates. Many of our clients do the same. In my time with Sales Talent, I have heard many of these and there are a few things that can go wrong.

Maybe you can avoid them by reading on!

From the moment a sales role play starts, it should be approached as if it is a real sales meeting and so you should do everything that you would normally do in a meeting. Stand up when they enter the room, look them in the eye, firm handshake, clear first few words etc.

One of the main things that the interviewer will be looking for is questions in your sales role play. Questions are a vital part of any sales meeting, of course, as 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. Whilst 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 (everyone loves to talk about themselves) and then you have lots more information to listen to and about which to probe. Plus, you’ll build trust through showing interest.

If you’re having a role play with a company, chances are they will want you to sell one of their products. LEARN THE PRODUCT. Really well! 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 very obvious and you will not do well. Plus, you’re unlikely to be relaxed with little product information.

Just like the beginning of the role play, end it as you would any sales meeting. Discuss next steps or, if suitable, try to close a deal. Good luck folks!