If you are interviewing for a sales job, but you know you are going up against candidates who have more experience than you, what can you do? How can you convince that hiring manager to take a chance on you? Here are five things you can say in the interview that will help you.
Related: How To Answer 5 Tricky Job Interview Questions
Before you get to the interview, I encourage you to carefully think through each one of these options, because you will need to be committed to whatever you say.
1. “Experience does not equal success.”
You may say, “I understand that I may not come with as much experience as another candidate, but I want you to know that I understand that experience isn’t the same as success. I’ve known sales reps with 20 years of experience who haven’t achieved the same level of success that I’ve achieved in one year (or two or three). Past success predicts future success. So, I want you to know that I’ve never failed at anything that I’ve really tried to achieve in my life, and I don’t intend to start now.”
2. “Do you remember when you didn’t have sales experience?”
You can always respond to the issue of your lack of experience with a question of your own that reminds them that they were once in your shoes: “Well, Mr. Manager, there was a time when you didn’t have any experience. Would you hire you again?” When they say yes, you can say, “Well, Mr. Manager, I can be that person because I understand what kind of dedication, motivation, perseverance, and all the skill sets I’ll bring, plus I will overcome every possible hurdle to my success.”
3. “I will train myself.”
If it’s a large company, you may say something like, “I know that this company has an extensive training program, and not only will I learn everything there is to learn within that program, I will continue to train myself to make sure that I get better and better.”
If it’s a small company without an extensive training program, you may say, “I understand that it’s very difficult to train new employees, so I want you to know that I am committed to my own training. I will buy sales books—I want the ones you would recommend, but if you don’t have any, I will go and research and get the top five and read them.”
There are so many ways you can train yourself to be better at your job. Besides books, there are YouTube videos, online classes, regular classes at a university, and even hiring a coach. An expert can help you faster than you may be able to learn on your own. Talking about any or all of these methods can help impress upon that hiring manager your dedication and commitment to success in this role.
4. “I will find a mentor in this organization.”
Mentors are powerful. Hopefully you have a mentor or two outside any organization you may work for to help guide your career moves, but finding a mentor within an organization can help you more specifically in that job.
5. “I’ve written up an outline of what I would do in order to guarantee my success in this role.”
One of the best tools that I’ve found for convincing a hiring manager to hire you when you have a lack of experience, whether it’s in sales, marketing, operations, finance, accounting, healthcare, education, or any other kind of job, is a 30-60-90-Day Plan
. It takes a lot of research to write one before the interview, but the effort is worth it because it demonstrates that you have a plan, you’ve set your goals, and you will do what you say you will do. Get a proven 30-60-90-Day Sales Plan for Interviews. Get personalized expert advice for breaking into sales roles with Peggy McKee’s Career Coaching. .
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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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