Eric’s comments were so spot-on that I thought you’d benefit from knowing how misguided I can be sometimes. He’s known this for years.
From my point of view, [mock sales presentation interviews such as the ones you describe] are ineffective relative to real life. It forces a salesperson to pitch benefits to a client he has little to no idea about — rather than to test his capability to probe and do proper discovery in order to present a solution. If you are hiring a song and dance man, that idea works fine — but not in professional selling where complex products are involved and you are trying to get a customer to buy a big ticket item.
I would prefer a scenario where you tell the candidate that this is their SECOND visit. During the first visit you probed and found out the following details. (Whatever.) The scenario then changes to asking the sales professional to present a solution based on client needs and situation. That is a much more realistic scenario.
If I were the candidate, even in the current scenario, I’d start the meeting and refer to an imaginary previous meeting then carry on with presentation of a solution based on developed client need.
Okay, so I got carried away. Kudos as well to Jim Cundiff who flagged me for missing the mark on this post.