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Few people actually look forward to the interview part of getting a new job, but for Pharma sales rep the added pressure of potentially having to partake in a sales role play can be enough to put off some people from applying for a new position altogether.

As a job in sales involves lots of face-to-face interaction with healthcare professionals, hiring managers often use the sales role play technique to test your problem solving, decision making and communication skills, as well as your professionalism and persuasion.  So we’ve put together our top tips to help you ace a sales role play (should you face one) and calm those jittery nerves in advance:

1.      Sales role plays can be a stressful experience as, unlike some other aspects of the interview process, they are difficult to prepare in advance for. So think back to any role plays you may have previously completed and how you could have improved on that performance. If you’ve not done one before chances are someone you know has – so speak to them and get their advice!

2.      Be yourself as best you can – remain professional, but at the same time don’t be afraid to let your personality/humour shine through. Remember, sales roles are hugely personable and the hiring manager will want to see that you can build a good rapport with the clients you meet. Try to avoid going off on a tangent: although you’re technically acting during a role play this isn’t an audition for a Hollywood movie so try to stick to the sale and avoid any disputes that may arise if the “customer” isn’t interested in your product.

3.      Role plays in these situations are usually one-on-one and only tend to last between just 10 – 15 minutes. But you might not always be asked to make a Pharma sales call – you could be asked to sell anything from a TV to a pen. By using an everyday item all interviewees are given a level footing in the interview process, so try to prepare for this by asking a friend or family member to pick a common product and attempt to sell it to them.

4.      You may be provided with a script or you might be asked to improvise ad-hoc. If you’re given a script make sure you read through it- twice! – and use as much of the information that has been provided to you as possible. The same can be said for any briefs you are given about the role prior to the interview. Know both the company and role you’ve applied for inside out before the interview.

5.      Try to incorporate questions into your role play, as opposed to just talking at the potential client. This will not only show the hiring manager that you’re trying to build a relationship with the customer, which in the long run could see a better return on sales for you, but by asking the right type of questions you can better gauge what your client is looking for, enabling you to tweak your pitch accordingly. Use both open and closed ended questions to gather as much information as possible from the client.

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