My favorite interview inquiry is: “Tell me about your first selling experience.” Go ahead ask someone who enjoys selling! They usually sit up and with great energy start talking about “selling rocks” or “selling newspaper subscriptions” or “selling girl scout cookies.” It is so much fun to hear the stories and their interpretation of early success.
When I was five-years old, my neighbor Irena who was a volunteer for Veterans of Foreign Wars, asked me to sell poppies on Veterans Day to “everyone” in the neighborhood. What a wonderful challenge. I remember knocking on doors and if no one was home, I would go back until they bought a poppy. When I gave Irena all the money plus tips, she was amazed and asked if I would sell more. Sure! I walked into the lobby of the car dealership in Coalville, Utah, and asked “who wants to buy a poppy?” I sold every poppy in one sales call. It was a thrill. Asking someone to buy and having them say “yes.”
On the other hand, ask someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy selling and usually their body language will say it all. Sometimes they take a deep breath or sigh and/or if not particularly disciplined — even groan.
Salespeople who enjoy the selling process are golden! They have what cannot be trained or coached into them — positive early memories that are wired into their brains.
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