A friend of mine asked for my career advice the other day as he was preparing to interview for a job — I told him: turn the tables on your employer and ask THEM all the questions.
You may recall from A Simple 4-Step Approach on How To Sell Better (SPIN Selling), that I agree with the SPIN Selling approach in which you ask lots of questions to close a deal.
And this applies to a job interview in which you’re interviewing THEM as much as they are interviewing you.
Note: “Closing” the deal can include you closing it “out” (as in you don’t want to pursue the position)).
So, I rattled off these questions below. I suggest you immediately take control of the interview by saying something like: “Thank you for investing some time in me — would you mind if I began by asking a few questions about you and your business.
*Note: If any of these answers are available through research (e.g. on Web pages), you should research them ahead of time and skip asking them.
I’ll add other questions to ask employers as I think of them…feel free to do the same in the comments section.
If you ask a lot of questions, and listen carefully, you’ll be in better shape to size up the job opportunity.
I used to consider “Sales” a bad word; until I got good at it!
In this case if you’re not comfortable with the idea of “selling’ you can replace “Sales” with “persuading” or “problem solving” — now let’s help you sell!
Neil Rackham wrote a terrific book called SPIN Selling in 1996. What I like about it is that it provides you a framework for selling better based on the results and experience of thousands of salespeople and their supervisors.
Most important tip: The more questions you ask, the more effective you will be.
So, what is SPIN Selling?
SPIN is an acronym that stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need and the book recommends that you ask questions about all four of those.
Below are some SPIN Selling questions to ask (let’s pretend you are selling vacuum cleaners):
So, when trying to persuade or problem-solve or sell, try asking lots of questions first and focus on your buyer and what will lead to their big payoff!
SPIN Selling is a must-read for any business-person; it explains SPIN selling techniques and backs it up with detailed research. Rackham later came out with the SPIN Selling Fieldbook which is also an excellent read.
I recommend you buy SPIN Selling first and then if you have people on your team who you want to share the concept with, then buy them a copy of the slightly less expensive Fieldbook.
Do you have any thoughts on the SPIN Selling technique or the topic of sales in general — if so, please make a comment below.