The key to landing any job is to prepare to answer questions that are likely to come up during the application process.
If you’re interviewing for a job as an insurance salesperson, that means being ready to talk about your sales technique and to demonstrate knowledge of both the industry and the company.
Be Prepared to Give a Sales Pitch
All job interviews are at least partly a sales pitch, but sales jobs are doubly so. You can expect to be required to display your skills by “closing the sale,” so to speak.
An interview is your opportunity not only to show off your acumen and familiarity with the job, but also to demonstrate how you’d interact with clients and colleagues.
Research the Company
The more you can find out about the company culture before the interview, the better you’ll be able to show that you’re a good fit for the team. Some organizations may push their salespeople to be more aggressive, for example, or they may prize sellers who demonstrate a high degree of skill with sales management software. Others favor a salesperson who partners with potential customers.
If you can learn more about the challenges facing the organization and their preferred sales tactics before you head into the interview, you can make a better case for yourself as the candidate who will solve their problems and fit in well with the organization.
Questions About Your Background, Strengths, and Experience
Your prospective employer will want to know a lot about your background and experience. Expect to answer questions about cold calling, meeting sales goals, your motivation and passion for the job, and your strengths and weaknesses. Some questions to anticipate:
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- What's your cold call technique?
- Are you comfortable making cold calls?
- What motivates you?
- Have you consistently met sales goals?
The interviewer will also want to know what to expect out of you as a worker. Their aim will be to determine whether you’re likely to be successful as a member of the team and organization. Be prepared to answer questions about what you've done in the past. A few examples:
- How would you meet your quotas or bring in sales?
- How long would you expect to stay in sales if hired?
- How do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work as a salesperson?
- Tell me about your most successful sale.
- How would your manager describe you?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
They'll probably want to know why you personally are suited for a sales environment and how much time you would ideally spend in an office. Again, it’s important to know what will be required in this particular job.
You may also be asked to rate how trainable you are and what you think you're worth.
Be prepared to discuss the contributions to profits that you've made to justify your salary request.
Your interviewer may even ask if you've ever been fired. Be honest, especially if it was in the recent past and they'll likely find out. Be prepared to share your side of the story without dwelling on the past. Disclose how you've learned from the experience and grown into a better employee.
Questions About Industry Knowledge
Knowing your industry will make you a much better salesperson than if you're clueless about the insurance field. With this in mind, expect your interviewer to ask you questions such as:
- Which drivers will influence the market in the next 18 months?
- What are some of the thought leaders and blogs, podcasts, and websites you turn to for information about the industry?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the insurance industry currently?
- Who are some of the top competitors for our company?
The interviewer might also expect you to know information specifically about the company in question. For example:
- What do you think is a typical day in the life of an insurance salesperson at the company?
- What do you know about this company?
- What interests you about this position?
Questions About Why You Want to Work There
Be sure to study up on the company and be prepared to explain why you want to work there. You might also be asked to critique the company. But don't go overboard here. You want your criticism to be as constructive as possible, but not negative in nature. After all, you don't want to leave the interviewer feeling offended or defensive.
Consider mentioning some areas in which the company could improve and how you're the right person to contribute to those improvements.
Questions About Communication and Interpersonal Skills
They'll also be likely to ask how you build relationships with clients and handle rejection.
Be ready to share an experience you had dealing with a difficult customer and how you handled the situation.
And if you're a good communicator, you're likely to enjoy cold calling, so be prepared to discuss that. Your prospective employer might also want you to share an effective method you have used to sell insurance.
Some of the questions you can expect on your communication and interpersonal skills are:
- How do you handle prospects who initially reject the company's product?
- How do you show clients or prospects that they're valued?
- What's your preferred way to communicate with clients?
Be Ready for Curveball Questions
Lastly, be ready for curveballs. For example, it’s not uncommon for interviewers to ask candidates to sell them something in 60 seconds or less, e.g., “Sell me this pen.” Practice demonstrating your sales technique so that you can impress when the time comes.