6 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Sales Job

Determine If Your Career Goals Align With the Job Before Accepting

Dig Deeper

Sarah was offered a new sales job with a reputable company. She’s been searching for six months for a new position, and quickly snatches up the opportunity after reviewing the basic salary and benefits information.

But within a few months of accepting the position, she realizes the job isn’t a good fit for her. She doesn’t work well under the management style, doesn’t feel like her work is recognized, and wants a position where she is motivated and encouraged to bring innovative ideas to the team.

Don’t let the excitement of a new opportunity lead you to hasty decisions. When you receive a job offer in sales, it’s time to examine the details and determine if the new position is right for you. So here are the deeper questions you need to ask employers before taking a new sales job.

Question #1: “What Is the Ramp-up Period for New Sales Reps?”

Knowing what to expect from the base salary of the sales position is important, but understanding the commission structure will give you a better idea of what your income will look like. When will your hard work pay off? This is especially crucial if you’re leaving another sales position, because you’ll want to know when you will earn enough commission to make the switch worth your while.

Ask about the length of formal training and onboarding processes, how soon new reps go out in the field to close sales, and when you can expect to see the fruits of your labor.

Question #2: “What Characteristics Do Your Best Sales Reps Possess?”

Asking about the qualities of the sales team will give you insight into what the company values, and will help you decide if you’re a good fit in terms of skills and personality. If you already possess the qualities needed to be successful with the employer, you’re more likely to enjoy the position and excel in the role without too much extra effort and training.

In addition, you can get a sense for the personalities of your potential co-workers and if you’d fit in and get along with the team, which can be a major factor regarding job satisfaction. In fact, a survey of of U.S. employees conducted by Globoforce in August 2014, found 89 percent of professionals feel work relationships are important to their overall quality of life.

Question #3: “What Are the Biggest Challenges Facing Your Sales Team?”

The answer to this question may change when you’re actually on the job, but it’s important to know what obstacles to expect before you start. Understanding challenges before accepting an offer can help you better prepare and address them if you do take the job.

In addition, discussing challenges can give you insight into team dynamics. The hiring manager’s answer could point to a deficiency in team collaboration, or could indicate the team is supportive and comes together to meet problems head-on.

Question #4: “How Do You Reward High-performers?”

While incentives and perks are great, you also want to know the employer values your hard work and dedication.

Recognition can actually be a better motivator than pay raises and bonuses, a survey of more than 850 U.S. employees conducted by Kronos Incorporatedthis past February found. Among those who had received a pay raise, 40 percent said it only motivated them for six months or less, and 30 percent said the raise only boosted their motivation and feelings of appreciation for a month or less. However, when asked what gives them a high sense of satisfaction at work, 55 percent of respondents said receiving a “thank you” from their manager makes them happy.

The question can also help you determine how the employer measures performance and the amount of pressure the manager places on the sales team.

Question #5: “What Is Your Management Style?”

“It’s time to ask your potential manager the tough questions. When asking this question, pay attention to how the manager answers the question. Does he take the question seriously? Does he try to give a thorough answer?

If not, or if the manager is put off by the question, you may want to reconsider joining the team. In a survey of more than 1,000 employees published by 15Fivethis March, 81 percent of employees would prefer to work for a company that values open communication than one that offers the best health plans, free food, or gym memberships. You want to know your new manager will value your feedback and foster an open and honest working environment.

The interviewer’s tone and body language will tell you more than his words with this question, so pay close attention. And though the answer may not be subjective, how managers describe themselves can reveal quite a bit about how humble or arrogant they are – and how easy or difficult they may be to work with.

Question #6: “What Do You Expect From Employees the First 6 Months?”

Asking this question will give you a deeper understanding of the position and what the employer is looking for. Is the job all about making quota or do they want to add new ideas and a fresh perspective to the team? Is there a specific project or client the employer expects the new hire to tackle?

Determine whether your career goals align with the overall goals of the position before diving in headfirst.

Sell Yourself During Salary Negotiations

Whether you’re going for a sales job or something else, everyone should negotiate salary.

The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

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