One of the regular techniques we see interviewers use is to initiate a sales role-play scenario. Employers get to see you in action and to assess how you approach different situations. It’s almost like a try-before-you-buy approach for employers, as they can see how you will interact with their customers and tackle whatever is thrown at you. To help you prepare for this, we’ve got four invaluable role-playing tips to share.

  1. Treat it as a real sales opportunity

Even though it’s a role-playing situation, it’s important to take it seriously and treat the situation as a real sales call. From the second you start, use your best sales approach. Treat the sales recruiter as a sales client and take them through your sales process.  We suggest using the funnel technique.  Ask a number of open-ended questions.  Aim to have the person conducting the role play to speak around 80% of the time.

The funnel graphic illustrates how this can work in practice and although you don’t want to structure your conversations in a noticeable way so that it ends up stilted as you move from level to level, it’s helpful to have this at the back of your mind and move towards that end goal.

Sales funnel infographic

And think about the sorts of open questions you can ask too… such as:

  • Tell me more…
  • How does that make you feel?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Why…
  • Can you describe that for me?
  • How…

Be ready for objections and maybe an unforeseen circumstance or two. The interviewer will want to see how you react to a variety of situations that could crop up during a sales call.

  1. Research the company beforehand

As we’ve covered previously in our Interview Presentation Tips and Essential Interview Preparation Advice articles, researching the company beforehand is always recommended. And you’ll be glad you did if you’re asked to role-play and take on the role of a recruiter at your prospective employer’s company.

Understanding what the company does, the sectors they operate in, their geographical footprint and any unique selling points (USPs) will give the interviewer a degree of confidence that you know what you’re talking about, and will subtly show that you’ve taken the time to find out more about their business.

  1. Act as if the job is already yours

In sales-focused roles, confidence is an important attribute to have and demonstrate to prospective employers or interviewers. The role-play scenario isn’t just about seeing how you respond to certain circumstances, or how much you know about the business, but it’s also an opportunity for an interviewer to gauge your potential fit with their business. So by acting as though the role is already yours, you’ll be giving the interviewer a glimpse into the future with you as an employee in their company.

  1. Attempt a close

As you’ll likely know, every sales call should either end in an attempt to close or should move the sale forward. Depending on the specifics of the scenario you’ve been asked to engage in, you should confirm the steps that have been agreed during the call or role play, and then propose what the next stages are in the process.

Make sure you get agreement on key pieces of information – so for candidates, this could be things like motivation for moving, notice periods, salary requirements, previous experience, etc. and if the timing is right, try to get them to commit. For clients, it could be more like agreeing a period of exclusivity, securing the next vacancy, confirming terms of business, or simply agreeing to a face to face visit.

You should have planned for the end from the outset, so your whole role-play conversation will have been geared towards this end goal. Make sure you recap on what’s discussed, ensuring there’s no confusion over any key points and then go for the close.

Being able to structure a conversation that demonstrates your capability to manage and close a sales call, have a logical flow from beginning to end, and showcasing your communication skills will help you come across well to the interviewer. As long as your experience, qualifications or other interview answers are good, you’ll be in a very strong position to secure the role you’re interviewing for.