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The Most Important Question You Need to Answer in the Medical Sales Interview

Martin BOULANGER; FreeImagesWhen you enter a medical sales interview, you know the employer will ask about your sales numbers — but they want you to do more than just recite your record. They want to know how you reached or surpassed your quota. Did you just get lucky, or are you a valuable sales rep who understands which strategies are the most effective in different situations?

Here’s what you need to know to answer this daunting question and ace your medical sales interview:

Why it’s important

You’re ready to head into your interview with a killer brag book. You can show that you have a long track record of meeting and exceeding your quota. That should be enough to prove your value to a potential employer, right? Not quite.

While you may have performed well in your current or previous positions, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be just as successful in a new job. Employers want to know that you can replicate your success for them, and that requires deeper insight. You need to show that you understand which strategies are effective and how you achieved success so you can do it again in future medical sales jobs.

For pharma sales reps, demonstrating that you understand your sales methods may be especially important. Since pharma reps don’t make direct sales, some employers believe individual performance can’t be accurately measured. But if you can articulate how you were successful and show how those strategies will work for the potential employer, you position yourself as a knowledgeable and valuable asset to the team.

Where to start

Start by looking at your greatest achievement in your sales career so far. How did you get there?

Analyzing your success is a big task, so look at the little steps you took along the way. How did you communicate with the client? How did you work with your team? How did you prepare? What research went into it? What did you do differently from others on your team to succeed?

Once you have the details sorted out, compare them to another achievement. Do you notice any patterns? What worked best or didn’t work the way you expected? What did you have to do differently to accommodate the client or fit the situation? What does this tell you about your strategy overall?

Answering the question

Once you understand your sales process, how do you communicate your strategy to the interviewer?

The easiest way is to use an example. Talk about one of the achievements you analyzed and explain what you did clearly and concisely. Which steps were the most critical? Then explain what you learned from the experience and how you applied that knowledge in other situations to hit your quota.

The final step

You cannot just explain how you reached your previous success in the medical sales job interview. You need to show the employer how you would apply those strategies to benefit their company.

Research the company’s products, customers, and competitors thoroughly — how would you approach the sales process to fit the organization? Which methods would be the most successful?

Use your research and analysis to create a 30-60-90 day plan. Even if the employer doesn’t ask for one, you can summarize your plan in the interview to demonstrate that you understand how your methods can fit the company’s needs, and you’re motivated to contribute to their success.

In the medical sales interview, your goal is to show your value. Explaining your tried-and-true strategies and applying them to the demands of their open position does just that.

Have you ever been asked to explain your success in a medical sales interview? How did you answer the question? Join the conversation on LinkedIn!