3) Present Solutions. The most effective sales technique used by sales professionals combines asking questions with making a specific sales pitch. You want to make certain that the person is engaged with you and still wants or needs your services. To do that you will ask questions that help you see if the person is still willing and able to buy. In an interview you will most likely not be the one to ask the bulk of the questions. However, a good job candidate will listen carefully, ask probing questions, and present his answers so as to address the specific problems that the interviewer has. This takes skill and practice! We aren’t used to listening actively in our culture. But it’s a skill you had better learn and practice if you want to get a job. You can be certain that your most qualified competitor has taken the time to learn how to listen and ask deep, probing questions.
4) Handle Objections. This is where you have an opportunity to show your prospective employer why you are uniquely suited for the position. If you have done a good job of steps 1 – 3, you will know ahead of time what objections might come up. They typically fall into 2 categories: a) experience and b) personality.
1. Experience. Be aware that these objections may be left unspoken, so you will have to utilize your experience and intuition to know they exist. The best way to overcome the experience objection is to come back to the needs the employer has addressed and highlight your ability to help meet their needs. Use your quantified statements to show specifically how you have dealt with this issue in your past.
2. For personality objections, you will want to help the interviewer envision you in the position. They want to know how well you will work with a team, how you will interact with leadership, how well your personality fits the corporate culture. The best way to let them know this is to ask direct questions about the company, culture, and co-workers. It’s important that you are a good fit as well, otherwise you will be at this job search again rather soon. Consult with a professional career coach how to conduct such a conversation.
5) Close the Sale. Sales professionals have a variety of “closing techniques” in their sales quiver. These techniques have funny names like “the which close,” “the trial close,” “the takeaway,” and even “the red dress close.” Honestly, in my opinion, most of these techniques give salespeople a bad name (can you say, “used car salesman?”). I recommend that most job seekers refrain from the use of such techniques.
There are, however, some softer closing techniques that will help you move forward in the interview process. I recommend the following 3 step approach. This is what I call “the job interview soft close.”
1. Clarify with the interviewer that you have adequately addressed all of their needs, concerns and objections. Some good questions to use here include: “have I adequately addressed all of your concerns?” and “How do you feel my experience and qualifications meet your needs for this position?”
3. Get a firm commitment for following up. If the interviewer tells you he will call you next week, say, “Which day? I’ve got several engagements next week and I want to be sure to block out some time for you.” If they give you a day, ask what time. Ask if it is ok to check back with them directly in 3 days to see where they are in the decision making process. Get a direct phone number to call. Set a firm date and time and don’t forget to make the call at exactly that time. Treat that follow up call in the same way you did the face-to-face interview – which means you need to dress in business clothes and call from a quiet location, etc.