This One Exercise Tells You Everything You Need to Know

There are thousands of questions that can come up in an interview.

There are standard questions: “Tell me about yourself.”

There are abstract questions: “What’s your favorite fruit and why?”

There are behavioral questions: “Tell me about a time when you encountered a difficult client. How did you handle it?”

No question can tell you everything you need to know about a job applicant.  However, this one exercise should sum up how a promotional products rep sells.

Hand the sales rep a blank promotional product and tell them, “Sell this to me.”

The sales rep’s response will to you a lot about how they approach promotional products. Responses will fall into one of three categories.

Product-based responses will focus on the specifics of the item that you hand them. They’ll talk about the imprint area, decorating options, or the great quality construction of the item. This is the worst of the three responses. These reps love and know the products, but don’t sell solutions.

Solution-based responses will address the business need that the product can fill. They’ll talk about the results achieved from using promotional products, such as an increase in trade show traffic, a boost in employee morale, or higher brand recognition.

Inquiry-based responses focus on questioning. These reps will need you to tell them more. What events do you have coming up that this product might be a fit for? What business challenges are you facing now? They’ll ask questions that give them all the ammo they need to sell you the item.  In fact, they might even have you sell yourself.

This exercise will give you a terrific insight into the thought process and value proposition utilized by a promotional products sales rep. Here are five additional questions that will help to fill out the picture even further.

  • “What do you like about prospecting?”
  • “What’s your social media skill level?”
  • “How do you feel about face-to-face networking?”
  • “How long do you think it will take you to put together a sales plan and begin to execute it?”
  • “What is the first thing you would do when you realize that you’re in a sales slump?”

To read more on how to evaluate promotional products sales reps read our article on the “6 Traits of Top-Performing Sales Reps”.

What are your go-to questions when interviewing sales reps?

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