How to prep for a mock sales pitch interview + creative ways to stand out
You can include all the fancy words and accolades you want on your resume. What interviewers actually want to see is your sales skills in action.
If you’re gunning for a sales job, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be asked to do a mock sales pitch for your interview. Nail this pitch, and you’ll have a much better shot at that job you want.
So, how can you set yourself up for success at your next sales interview? Let’s talk about:
- What is a mock sales pitch in an interview & why do you have to do one?
- How to prep for the mock sales pitch interview
- 3 sales pitch examples for your interview: learn how to pitch yourself
- Creative mock sales pitch ideas for an interview
By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to walk into that office (or log into that Zoom meeting) with full confidence in your mock sales pitch skills.
What is a mock sales pitch in an interview & why do you have to do one?
Your resume and cover letter explain who you are and what you’ve done, and the questions you answer during your sales interview will tell the interviewer more about your personality and whether you’ll fit with the team.
But the best way to get a sense of whether or not you can cut it as a salesperson is to watch you pitch.
That’s why—nerve-wracking as it may be—most interviewers will have you run through a mock sales pitch during your interview.
Want to ace your sales interview? Here's how to prepare a winning mock sales pitch.
How to prep for the mock sales pitch interview
Wondering what to do before your sales interview? Here are 5 tips to help you prepare successfully and woo your interviewer:
1. Have a clear understanding of the company and the product
If the hiring manager asks you to do a mock sales pitch in your interview, you should know what you’re going to be selling. In most cases, this means getting to know the product that this company sells.
Of course, the interviewer doesn’t expect you to have expert knowledge of the product, but you should know enough to sell it properly.
So, research the company and the product. Get to know their style and personality through the sales copy on their website. Watch any videos or demos they have that talk about the product. Read what customers say about them. If it’s a SaaS product, start a free trial and get to know it from the inside.
While doing research about the product, questions might come up. Ask them—shows you’re interested and taking this process seriously. In fact, here’s what Scott Schwartz, VP of Sales at HHAeXchange says about this:
I love when candidates send me questions before the presentation and collaborate with me… it shows me they’re paying attention.
The more you know about the product and industry, the better. So, why not ask someone who really knows?
2. Know the prospects you’ll be selling to
Your interviewer wants to know that you have the skills to adapt to their key audience and speak with prospective customers effectively.
So, as you learn about the company, dig into their customer base and get a sense for their ideal customer profile. What kind of companies work with them? Are their customers all in a certain industry? Is the main target market a particular department inside a company, or even a specific role?
When you walk into a mock sales pitch with a clear understanding of who the company’s main customer is, you are already setting yourself apart from other candidates. Prove to the interviewer that you can speak easily with prospective customers. Take some time to pick up on the lingo, or understand their main concerns.
Again, if you have questions about the company’s customer base, reach out before the interview and ask. This will show that you’re willing to put in the extra effort and that you really want to reach the customers, not just get the job.
3. Remember to showcase your sales strengths, not your knowledge of the product
Like we said above, no one expects you to be an expert on a product you’ve never sold. Instead, focus on this: what makes you stand out as a sales rep?
Throughout your sales career, however long or short, you’ve honed your skills and developed your unique selling style. This is what you want to showcase in a mock sales presentation during your interview.
For example, are you adept at discovering needs? Do you have a unique way of turning objections into benefits? Are your questions always spot-on? Think of the mock sales pitch as your opportunity to put your best skills on display, and prepare accordingly.
4. Think about how you’ll answer common sales interview questions
While you can never be 100% sure what you’ll be asked during a sales interview, there are a few sales interview questions you will most likely hear in some form or another.
Here are some guidelines on how to answer some of the more common sales interview questions:
Why are you interested in sales?
You want to have a clear reason why you're in sales, and have a strong narrative around it. One of my main questions, when I interview people, is to ask why.
For some people, the reason will just be that they want to make a lot of money. For others, it will be because they have a lot of experience and insight into the particular industry, because they like to communicate with people, or many other reasons. There are no good or bad reasons—but they should be your honest reasons why, and you should have clarity around this.
Why do you want to sell this product? Why do you want to work with this company?
Believing in a product is a good motivation to sell it, which is why most interviewers will ask some variation of this question. Know something about the product and the target market, and you’ll prove you took the time to develop an interest in this sales job with this company (not just any sales job with any company).
When was the last time you missed quota?
If you tell an interviewer that you’ve never missed quota, they’ll assume you’re lying. Because let’s face it, all salespeople miss quota at some point. The point of this question is to poke at your vulnerable spots and see how you handle the pressure. So, talk about missing quota, why you missed it, what you learned from the experience, and how you’ve improved since then.
What was the most difficult/most significant deal you’ve closed?
This is your opportunity to impress, so make sure you prepare beforehand by choosing the right sales story to share. Frame the story well, think about the skills you used to overcome challenges, and give real figures of the deal if possible.
5. Come into the interview with a plan of action
Hiring managers love proactive workers. So, what are your plans starting Day 1 of your new job? How do you plan to start learning the systems and products you’ll be selling? What’s your process for getting to know the unique sales process of this company? How will you get to know the customers and the competitors?
True, most companies will have specific onboarding processes that answer these questions for you. But when you come into the interview prepared with a plan of action to get yourself started, you prove you’re ready to hit the ground running and that you’re the type of worker that takes initiative.
I generally look for people who focus initially on learning—if someone tells me they'd like to start out in the new company by talking to different people on the team, to gain internal knowledge, that's always a good thing.
These guidelines are your starting point to prepare for the interview and mock sales pitch.
3 sales pitch examples for your interview: learn how to pitch yourself
At some point, the interviewer will probably ask: “So, tell me about yourself.”
This is probably one of the most common (and often most dreaded) interview questions. In a sales interview, though, this isn’t just a friendly opener. It’s an opportunity to give a pitch that sells yourself.
So, how can you develop a sales pitch that proves you’re the right hire for the position? Here are three sales pitch examples for an interview that will sell yourself as a sales professional:
1. Use common industry problems to capture their interest
How can you help solve the problems that this company is facing?
You know the common struggles and challenges facing sales teams because that’s your world. So, use that knowledge to sell yourself as the solution.
Here’s an example of this from Zety:
Photo credit: Zety
This example pulls at a common industry problem and shows how this salesperson created a solution to that problem.
2. Build a narrative with your experience
It’s no secret that stories are memorable and help get your point across better.
But that’s not an excuse to respond with your life story when asked to tell the interviewer about you.
Instead, frame your career story with a narrative that sells your skills and expertise:
3. Build a pitch based on questions
Creating a sales pitch for an interview is the same as building a pitch to hook new prospects: you need to know their needs before you can present a solution.
So, what are the needs of the company you’re interviewing with? What are they looking for in a sales rep?
Here are some questions you can ask the interviewer to better frame your responses to their needs:
- Is this a new or existing position?
- What did you like about the last person who filled this position?
- What was missing from the last person who filled this position?
- What are your goals for a new [role] in relation to the company?
- How do you hope to benefit from filling this position?
- How is the success of this position measured?
When you ask these kinds of questions, you can connect the benefits of hiring you to the needs they’ve expressed.
Creative mock sales pitch ideas for an interview
You’ve gone through the basic steps of preparing for an interview that includes a mock sales pitch.
But how can you take your mock sales pitch to the next level?
Set the stage where you can
Sometimes you may lack some context during your mock sales pitch. Roleplay can feel a bit stiff and awkward, so embrace that and roll with it. Where you lack context, create it.
For example, start the mock pitch with something like this: “I’m going into this pitch assuming you were an inbound lead and that we’ve established basic product fit on an initial phone call.”
Where you can take some control of the situation, do so. This will allow you to pitch in a more natural way since you’ve been able to set the scene and everywhere knows where they’re coming from.
Focus on qualification
Qualification is a huge part of the sales process, and the hiring manager will want to be clear that you know how to ask the right questions and weave those answers into your pitch.
So, become really good at qualifying your sales leads. Don’t fall into the trap of giving a monologue simply because the situation is a bit awkward. Focus on understanding the prospect's needs and delivering a solution that fits those needs.
And yes, this can even work for the dreaded, “Sell me this pen.” Find out why the prospect needs a pen, and what they want from a pen, then you’ll know how to sell it to them effectively.
Let your personality shine through
You are a unique soul whose style and personality shine through every day as you hit the phones. That should not change simply because you’re doing a mock sales pitch.
The pitch may be fake, but the results are just as real.
So, let your true personality shine through. Be as natural as possible, and make a conscious effort to relax before you begin. Talk to your interviewer like you talk to your prospects every single day. Treat this as a real sales pitch that you’re giving to a real customer, and you’ll feel more like yourself as you pitch.
Remember to close
While it may seem a bit obvious, you should think in advance about how you want to close this deal.
In a real-life sales environment, you would have a specific call to action prepared to move this prospect along in the sales process. Since you’re working with an imaginary sales process, set an imaginary call to action for your mock sales pitch, and push for that next step at the end.
This is part of the pitch that you would never skip or minimize in real life, so treat it the same in your mock pitch.
Show how well you take and use feedback
Many sales interviewers will provide feedback and then ask you to do a second mock sales pitch in your interview.
How you respond to this feedback tells interviewers two important things:
- Whether you’re humble enough to accept criticism from your boss or from peers
- How well you listen to and apply feedback
Basically, the hiring manager wants to know if you’re coachable. A salesperson who accepts and applies feedback will be quick to adjust their strategies and processes to best fit the customers, not cling to old strategies simply because they’re comfortable with them.
Coachability is an important quality for a salesperson, so use this opportunity to demonstrate that you know how to use feedback in a practical way.
Even if the interviewer doesn’t give you feedback, you can proactively ask for their opinion once your mock sales pitch is finished.
Nail your next sales interview and mock sales pitch
Any kind of job interview can be terrifying, but a sales interview with a mock pitch is even worse.
That said, when you’re well-prepared, you can go into that interview with confidence.
Preparation for a sales interview is more than just researching the company and getting to know the product (although that’s important). You need to be ready with the right attitude to sell yourself to the interviewer.
Think of the entire sales interview as just another pitch, and you’ll come at it with the same amount of energy and finesse that you have as you sell every single day.
But there’s always room for improvement.
Want to take your sales pitches to the next level? Take a deep dive into the Ultimate Sales Pitch Guide, with 8 chapters of expert advice on developing, scripting, delivering, and following up on a high-performing sales pitch.
One of the most important skills to master for any sales rep is the follow-up. Whenever I interview a sales rep and I see that they have great follow-up skills, that's a big plus. I've written an entire book on the subject, and you can get it free today: