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Sales Eye - Wanted: sales representatives (May 4th, 2004)



Wanted: sales representatives

4th May 2004


We received incredibly positive feedback from our last article on corruption (Here Come's the Bribe, WBJ, April 13-18, 2004).

We definitely struck a nerve with many of you who have been dealing with the same problems. We received dozens of letters from all types of people, expats as well as Poles. It affects all areas of life in Poland - business, personal, government, healthcare and even education. We will soon do a follow-up article and will share some of the examples and good ideas that we received. Thanks for the letters. Now back to our regularly scheduled program..


Sales Representative for Warsaw region. 3-5 years experience in business to business sales. Looking for a high achiever. Competitive salary, car, benefits and growth opportunities available.


Are you looking for a new sales job? We interview hundreds of candidates each year for sales positions and have put together this list of do's and don't's that will help you prepare for that big interview.


Do prepare a professional CV and cover letter. Your cover letter and CV have one main goal: to get you in the door. Be sure to spend the time to make it look graphically pleasing. Use the tabs on your keyboard - they help things line up correctly. And please don't make it too long! Unless you are over 40 years old, most candidates should be able to fit their CV on one page, one and a half max. If your CV is old, review it, so you are familiar with what you're saying about yourself.


Don't be late. This country is known for people being 10-15 minutes late for everything. Don't make that mistake. Being early allows you to use this time to relax, and also to observe the work environment - and even ask the secretary a few questions. After all, that is what good sales reps do.


Do dress for success. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. The first opinion about you is often developed in the initial 15 seconds; your appearance has a lot to do with people's first impressions. And leave your suit vest at home, along with your bell bottoms.


Do research the company and the position. This will help you determine how you portray yourself, and which skills and accomplishments you want to highlight during the interview. The more you know about the company, the more it will show that you are really interested in working there.


Don't waffle. Interviewers want clear and precise answers to questions. Don't spend a long time answering a simple question. Do listen carefully to the question. If you don't understand, then ask for clarification or for them to rephrase the question. We love it when people do that; it means they are listening.


Do talk about your achievements. Don't just tell us your job description (we know that already!) Tell us what you've achieved! And, by God, know your sales results. Do you know how many new clients you brought in per month? Do you know your monthly value of sales? A lack of understanding of your own sales results shows a lack of professionalism.


Don't down your last employer. No matter how much you think they are to blame, you should never criticize or talk negatively. You can mention some problems, but then explain how you dealt with them or tried to solve them. Your last company was not paying your commissions? Explain how you have had great results, how commissions were late or not paid at all, but you still achieved your sales goals and remained motivated. You are looking for a new position with a reputable company where you can achieve your goals and also help that company achieve theirs.

Don't discuss salary or benefits until they bring it up. Generally, salary is not discussed until the last interview. Many times companies will get a feel for your expectations by asking salary history and expectations on application forms. Don't be unreal. If you made zł.3,000 brutto in your last job, don't write that you expect to make zł.6,000 in this one.


Do send a thank-you note after the interview. Amazing, we receive thank-you notes from less than five percent of the people we interview. The best thank-you notes are when someone types a short note referencing something that was discussed during the interview and to confirm their interest in the position. And be sure to send this note within one day after the interview.


Do prepare some intelligent questions for the interview. Have two to three questions ready that will show the research you have done on the company. Don't ask if you get a car or cell phones. Instead, ask about training programs and the success of new products the company has added to their portfolio.


Do smile and don't let your eyes wander. Eye contact is important. Don't be looking down or at the corner of the room when you answer questions. Smile and maintain good eye contact. Keep their attention by varying the volume and tempo of your voice - it is OK to get excited. And don't slouch!


Do practice answering questions. 90 percent of the questions you will be asked you'll have probably heard before. So before the interview, make a list of questions and rehearse how you would answer them. Remember to focus on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.


Interviews are the most important part of the job search process. For many employers, the decision to hire someone is made at the interview. The follow-up of checking references and discussing salary comes after they have made their decision that they want you. Cover letters and CVs are important, but anybody can look good on paper. Interviewing is the one time you have a chance to show your professionalism, charm and communication skills while learning more about the position to make an informed decision.


Our final advice, if you are currently not working, is don't just sit around and send out a few CVs after checking out Gazeta Wyborcza on Monday morning. Treat the process of getting a job like a job. You should be spending all your resources in networking, interviewing and following up on good opportunities. A lot like selling, actually. So get out there and get an interview - and don't complain about it, just do it.


From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"