Perseverance Can Be More Impactful Than Practical Experience In Your Interview (Part 4 of 4)

Ryan Walsh, CEO and Founder
Ryan Walsh, CEO and FounderDec 14, 2018

(Intro: It’s a question that is asked thousands of times.  Every. Single. Day. “I have a background in retail, automotive, services, healthcare, etc sales, but want to make the jump into tech sales. Is that possible?”

The short answer is YES! People make the transition all the time and do it successfully.  To get that shot, however, you’ve got to prove in the interview process that not only do you have the desire, but you’ve got the skills.)

Part 1 was “Know Your Numbers

Part 2 was “Perfect Your Personal Story

Part 3 was “All About Discovery

For the last part of our series on nailing your job interview to land that job in tech sales, we’re going to help you identify experiences that show perseverance.  Experiences that while they may not seem transferable or relevant at the time, show the interviewer that you’ve overcome significant obstacles to get to where you are now or to accomplish something major.

Experiences that show perseverance, or sticktoitiveness, or grit.

While this trait has little to do with actual sales experience, it has everything to do with potential future sales success.  

You are going to be told no.  A lot.  You are going to lose a bunch of deals.  You are going to be staring at a huge quota at some point in your career that you feel like you just can’t hit.  How you respond and attack those problems will be the difference between success and failure.

Great, makes sense, but what should you say?  How do you translate this into your interview?

If the interviewer asks about overcoming adversity to achieve something meaningful (a common thread in interviews) you are teed up.  If not, use it as the closing.  Here are a few examples that have resonated well with me:

  • Working while being a full time student to achieve a goal of graduating college (not everybody has their education paid for!).  And I’m not necessarily looking for that cool start-up internship. I’m talking grinding away waiting tables at the local Chili’s, whatever you may have had to do to accomplish your goal.
  • Playing a sport while being full time student.  This is a huge time commitment for a large chunk of the year.  How did you balance the workload?  Plus I know you’re probably pretty competitive!
  • Military service.  You may have realized that it’s hard to jump right back into the workforce after service, but why was it important to you and how has it prepared you for the next step?
  • An unforeseen family or other circumstance caused you to have to move / leave your job, etc.  What did you do, how’d you pick yourself back up?

Spend some time on this.  If you don’t feel like your personal experiences line up with something like this, stick with it a little longer, dig a little deeper and find something to relate to perseverance in a corporate environment.  It will pay off.

Stay tuned to the blog – we’ve got some great topics teed up in the next few weeks.  Oh, and if you haven’t yet rated the sales environment of your employer, what are you waiting for?

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