One of the most important qualities that hiring managers want to know about you in a sales job interview is your sense of customer service, and how you will represent the company on the job. Here are two important sales job interview questions and answers:
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What Is Good Customer Service?
Many people will deliver a good, standard answer to ‘What is customer service?’ that sounds like, ‘It’s about being friendly and helpful,’ or, ‘it’s about knowing the product and helping the customer make a good decision that will benefit them.’ It’s hard to disagree with an answer like these, but…
In order to stand out in job interviews and differentiate yourself from other candidates you must be just a little bit better than everyone else. So, you don’t want a standard answer…you want one that’s just a little bit better.
With this question, I think the best answer that will make you stand out has to do with ‘customer delight.’ I first heard this idea from a former recruiting client who wanted to hire a great customer service rep. When I asked what ‘great customer service’ meant to them, they said, ‘customer delight.’ What this means is that your customer is not just satisfied or pleased—your customer is delighted. How would this idea translate in a great job interview answer about customer service?
One answer might sound like: “Good customer service means that the customer is delighted. It’s totally focused on what the customer says is good—not what I think is good, or what the company says is good. You know that you’ve hit this level of customer delight when they refer you to someone else. So, when I am at the end of a sale with a customer, I always ask, ‘Did I provide what you were looking for today?’ so that I know that I am giving them what they need in order to be delighted with me and my company.”
In sales, you are the face of the company. You have a direct impact on the company’s performance and reputation, so anything you can do to provide the customer with a delightful experience they will recommend to others is powerful. Any answer that acknowledges these truths is an answer that will help you stand out from others.
How Do You Deal With Difficult Customers?
A great way to answer this question is to tell a story about a time you dealt with a particularly difficult customer. If you can round up a note from that customer or your manager complimenting you on how you handled that situation to put in your brag book
, that’s even better.
No matter what story you tell, you should use it to illustrate your customer service philosophy, so this employer knows what kind of sales rep you are. For instance, I like this answer:
“I deal with difficult customers in exactly the same way I deal with easy ones. I want all of my customers to have an exceptional experience with my company. I always correct anything that’s inaccurate, but if we haven’t met their expectations, I will take responsibility for that and try to correct the problem. If I’m not able to correct it, I still want to make the experience as positive as I can by offering something else that may make up for the inconvenience. This could be a refund, or it could be an additional benefit. The goal is to help them exit that situation as a happy customer.”
"I won’t let a customer say bad things about us, or things that aren’t accurate, but if we haven’t met their expectations, I want to take responsibility for that and see if I can fix it. If I can’t fix it, I still want to make the experience as positive as I can by doing something that would make up for the problem—maybe give them their money back, or provide some other benefit so that they exit that situation as happily as possible. I want to treat every customer as well as I’d treat my grandmother.”
An answer like this lets them know that you understand your responsibility for your customers’ experience with the company, and they can trust you to make sure their customers are well taken care of. You won’t have to just hand that difficult customer to your supervisor—you will solve the problem and end the situation on a high note. It highlights your sense of personal responsibility and your dependability.
Besides great interview answers, another way to show the hiring manager what they could expect from you on the job is to create and bring a 30-60-90-Day Sales Plan to your job interview.
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About the author
Career Coach - Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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