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4 Phrases Every Sales Interviewer Wants to Hear

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Please don't think of me as a person who knows how to ace every interview in every type of situation. However, executive level sales candidates know how and I just inhale the information. Even though I know these tips and tricks, when candidates have used this on me for internal hiring purposes, I still have a tough time deciphering who is just good and interviewing and who knows the tricks.

I go with the former because to know these tricks, in the least, you have to be intelligent and, as you know, intelligence is one big part of the equation to success. Also, you have to take people at face value.

Yes, taking people at face value will open you to getting burned now and again, but the only other option is to chronically not trust others. This does not seem like the happiest life and it won't get you far when hiring or in business in general. With that being said, here are some quotes that will bring a smile to any sales manager's face upon interviewing for any particular position.

1. "I'm not looking for a job, I'm looking for a career."

How can you argue with this one? The thought of employee's leaving, to any company (if their management is any good), is stomach wrenching. Having to train a new employee is expensive, but it is also like reading the same book over and over again. It is mundane and frustrating. Additionally, in this case, for many of us, television repeats are also a good analogy.

2. "I'm more interested in the upside, not the base salary."

Before you begin interviewing for the sales job, you should know what it pays. Never go for a sales job without one. However, when it comes to sales jobs, regardless of what the base salary is listed as, always go in expecting around 20% less. It's the just the way it is. It's no reflection on you as an applicant. Instead, with the current unemployment rate, it's a reflection on basic supply and demand.

Therefore, by saying this phrase, you are considered a "hunter" not a "farmer." Companies hire salespeople to do one thing and one thing only: make them money. Like an accountant is hired to punch numbers, salespeople are brought into a company to raise revenue that otherwise would not have been available to that particular organization. This statement, in our heart of hearts, is not 100% true, but it should be said and it could get you out of the, "what do you want for a salary?" question.

Then, if the company comes in with a salary well below expectations, you can either negotiate or walk away.

3. "The main reason I want this position is because I feel that the company's products and / or services are viable in today's market."

Companies always want to hear that you like their products and / or services. If you try to sell something you don't like, you're going to be miserable and this will reflect on your work. Trust me, I've been there. Additionally, saying this phrase will show that you've done some homework on the company which is a must; however, people still don't do the legwork.

4. "I'd love to be brought back for another interview. Hopefully, I'll hear from you in the next few days."

Even though people have a perception with sales and, subsequently sales interviewing that you have to be aggressive during the final moments of that interview. This is not my style. Personally, I don't like it when applicants to try get a specific date and time out of me as to when they'll hear back regarding whether or not my client wants to move forward. To me, it's annoying and it makes the person look over aggressive and, on occasion desperate.

Being pushy is not good salesmanship. Instead, tell them your thoughts, write your follow-up email within 24 hours and you should hear back.

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About Ken Sundheim: 31 year-old business owner of an executive search firm by the name of KAS Placement based in New York City. KAS Placement was started in 2005 from studio apartment by the CEO and now has clients from over 30 countries in 100 different industries . As a business writer, Ken's articles have been syndicated or published in:,,,, (more...)
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