If you’re anything like me, the mere thought of a sales interview is enough to send you into a cold sweat. I remember when I was first starting out in my career and had to go through the gauntlet of sales interview questions and answers. It felt like every interviewer was trying to trip me up with their questions!
Thankfully, over time I’ve learned how to better prepare for sales interviews and now they don’t intimidate me nearly as much. If you’re looking for some help preparing for your next sales interview, look no further. This blog post covers the top 15 sales interview questions and answers!
Sales Interview Questions and Answers
Sales interview questions and answers are designed to test a salesperson’s ability to sell products or services. The questions typically focus on the salesperson’s ability to identify potential customers, understand their needs, and close the sale. The interviewer may also ask questions about the salesperson’s ability to overcome objections and handle rejection.
How to Prepare for a Sales Interview
The interview is the single most important factor when it comes to hiring. A well-written and formatted CV will get your foot in the door, but a good conversation is what gets you the job.
Your interview is your one shot where you either have to shine or risk getting overshadowed by others.
Here are our top tips to prepare for an interview.
1. Do some research about a company before calling them. Check their social media accounts, read their blog, and visit their website.
Read any reviews you can find about the company, but make sure you pay attention to any negative ones as well.
By painting yourself as an insider, you make it easier for interviewers to imagine you as part of the team.
2. If you have the name of the hiring manager, research them on both the company website and LinkedIn. This will give you a sense of their personality and role within the company.
Try to get an understanding of their personality, and their responsibilities within the company.
It’s important to be aware of the interviewer’s role in the company, as this will affect the way you answer questions. If they are directly responsible for sales, you’ll want to tailor your responses accordingly.
3. Review the job posting carefully. Then, make a list of the skills and experiences you have that match up with the sales position.
Be able to talk about these skills. If any of these skills come up more than once in the description, they’ll probably be important to the job.
4. Think about questions that the interviewer might ask you. They may ask you questions about your behavior or your feelings in certain situations to learn more about your values and personality.
Lots of open ended question examples can be brought up by the interviewer to evaluate your values and personality.
Some questions you may be asked in a sales interview include:
- What is your experience in sales?
- How would you describe your personality?
- What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you know about our company and products?
- How do you handle rejection?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you overcame an objection?
- What is your experience with cold calling?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you closed a big deal?
5. Write down bullet points of responses to commonly asked questions. This way, you have a plan, but you’re not robotically reciting from a script.
Sales is all about being able to think on your feet. This means that you should try to sound natural during the interview, even if you have practiced your answers 100 times before the interview.
6. Ask your own questions. This is your chance to find out more about the job, the pay, the hours, the work environment, and more.
Remember that the interview is as much for you as it is for the interviewer — you want to make sure that the job will be a good fit for you.
7. Practicing your pitch and mock interviews will help you sound more professional.
Find someone to help you practice for your interview. Phone a friend or do a mock interview online.
8. When you are getting ready for a sales interview, it is important to dress professionally. This will help you make a great first impression and feel confident during the interview.
9. Shake hands firmly, but not too aggressively.
10. Allow extra time to arrive so that you don’t miss your appointment. Get there early and take it easy.
11. Be sure to bring extra copies of your resume and references with you to the interview. It’s always better to be prepared!
Top 15 Sales Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
1. Tell us about yourself.
This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. As salespeople, this is the most important sales pitch of our entire careers.
Interviewers are trying to understand your ability to sell and get a sense of your personality.
Furthermore, interviewers will be evaluating how well I describe myself in alignment with my experiences and career-related details. I must be honest and passionate about what the job means to me and what different skills and achievements I stand to bring to the company.
Start by letting the person on the other end of the line know who you are and which job you’re applying for. Be sincere and explain what skills you bring to the table and why you’d be a great fit for the company.
When it comes to my core qualities, I would say that I am passionate and driven. I set goals for myself and then work tirelessly to achieve them. I also don’t shy away from challenges, which makes me an indispensable member of any team.
I believe that my relationship-building skills are key to achieving my long-term goals. My hard work and persistence will keep me striving for greater heights. I have always been driven to achieve my goals, and I believe that this quality will help me succeed in sales.
You should share relevant experiences whenever necessary.
2. Tell us about your most successful sale to date.
When an interviewer asks this, they want to know if your success was purely due to chance or if you possess the necessary skills and know-how to turn leads into sales.
This is your chance to really impress your interviewer. Don’t hold back on sharing all the details: the time, the obstacle, the people involved, how you finally won the deal, and what happened after that.
When sharing your experience, it must reflect the best qualities of a salesman.
3. Do you have any experience making cold calls?
This is an important skill to have in sales. Salespeople who are outgoing and able to start and maintain conversations have a higher chance of closing deals than those who don’t.
The interviewer is trying to get an idea of your personality by asking this question. So, answer the question with an example that showcases your research skills. Explain how you took the time to learn about the person you were calling to better understand their needs.
At my previous job, I aimed to make at least one phone call per hour, which helped me to generate one new lead.
4. Tell me about a time you failed.
What mistakes do you think you made?
One of the qualities that set successful salespeople apart is their ability to learn from failures and move forward. A good salesperson knows how to analyze what went wrong and use that information to improve their chances of success in the future.
To answer this, describe a personal experience where you had an objective, something went wrong, who was involved, and what you learned.
While explaining your lessons learned, be brief and to the point. Don’t waste their time with unnecessary details.
I feel that spending time thinking about past mistakes and what could have been is a waste of time. My lesson from it is to try to avoid making the same mistake again.
I believe that failures are simply lessons in disguise. By learning from our mistakes, we can set ourselves up for future success. Implementing the knowledge gained from past failures is key to achieving success.
5. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
People who are confident about their careers are attractive to companies. This shows that they have thought about their career choices and have made decisions that are backed by a strong plan.
This results in employees who are motivated and driven to meet goals.
Explain your short-term and long-term career goals and why they are so meaningful to you.
One way to answer this question is by saying that you are excited to gain on-the-job experience and improve your core competencies as part of a mission-driven organization. This will show the interviewer that you are motivated to learn and grow in your role and that you see the company as more than just a place to work.
I am excited to take on more challenging responsibilities and show what I am capable of. I believe that this will help me to grow and develop my skills further.
My long-term goal is to be in a management position to focus on developing my leadership skills. I have confidence that achieving my short-term goals will help me reach my long-term objectives. To maintain a healthy balance between work and life, it is important to set realistic goals and manage your time efficiently.
6. How do you manage your time so that you can balance work and life?
Interviewers often ask this to see if your private life affects your work ethic.
They want to know how much you care about your job.
Answer this question based on your research into the company’s values, culture, and mission.
Work-life balance is incredibly important, and I understand that.
I’ve realized that work becomes effortless when you enjoy it and it gives you a sense of contentment. This allows you to pursue your personal life in peace, without having to carry office pressures.
It allows you to pursue your personal life without having to carry office pressures.
My family is very important to me and I make sure to spend my days off with them. I believe that it’s important to have a good worklife balance and my family is a big part of that for me.
It’s great that you find sales exciting and that it keeps you enthusiastic about going to work every day!
7. If your coworkers were to describe you, what would they say?
The interviewer wants to know if you would be a good fit for their company and if you would contribute positively to their office culture. They want to know your strengths, and what makes you popular amongst your peers.
My clients know that I am persistent and that I work hard to build and maintain good relationships. They also know to expect some disagreement from time to time.
My past experiences have shown that I am able to positively and cordially influence the work atmosphere when it comes to conflict resolutions. This is due to the fact that I am honest and confident in my abilities, which allows me to stand up for what I believe is right. Furthermore, my peers have also appreciated my ability to resolve conflicts in a constructive manner.
I think my colleagues would appreciate my honesty, as well as my willingness to stand up for what is right.
8. How would you describe your professional experience?
This test is designed to assess your attitude and understanding of the importance of your chosen profession, as well as your ability to communicate effectively and professionally.
Highlight your skills and experience, as well as your most significant professional or personal accomplishment.
My career in sales has been filled with more success than failure. I love the challenge sales offers because it is so rewarding.
It’s rewarding to see your hard work pay off. I was the top sales rep for 10 out of 12 months in my first year on the job.
What I appreciate most about sales is the opportunity to learn and grow with each new experience. Every sale is a chance to upgrade your skills and get one step closer to your goals.
I believe that it’s important to face challenges head-on, rather than running away from them. I’m confident that I could fit into any organization.
I am committed to my success and am confident of my capabilities. It has brought me to where I am today and will help me achieve my long-term goals.
9. How do you stay updated with the latest trends in sales?
Salespeople who aspire to be successful must be constantly honing their skills and keeping up with the latest industry trends to provide the best solutions to clients.
Sales is an exciting field because it’s always changing and there is always room to improve. I love reading sales blogs and listening to podcasts to learn new tips and tricks. And of course, practicing my craft regularly is important to me too.
Mention the publications you read.
If you have completed any sales training programs, whether online or offline, it is a good idea to mention this. It shows that you are dedicated to having a long-term career in sales. By discussing the program, you can also talk about what methods and strategies you learned that could be beneficial to the company you are interviewing for.
10. What is your process for lead generation and closing sales deals?
The interviewer wants to know how well your sales process works. They will ask you this question to get a step-by-step look at how you sell. Answer this question by giving them a detailed explanation of your process.
Some qualities that are considered valuable by all companies, regardless of the industry, are being able to sell yourself, having a positive attitude, and being a good listener.
Some essential skills that are necessary for business success include strategic planning, good communication skills, the ability to identify customer needs and provide appropriate solutions, and strong time management skills.
So, be sure to demonstrate these in your sales process. Building and maintaining relationships, negotiation skills, and persuasive powers are also among the leading traits of a successful salesperson.
11. What do you know already about our organization?
This is your opportunity, so prepare well. Make sure you research thoroughly about the company.
You might want to check out some credible sources to read about the company and to get input from ex-employees and current employees.
Describe the organization to the best of your ability. Include what services they offer, who their target audience is, and who their major competition is.
Let the person know that you appreciate the company’s focus on employee satisfaction.
12. Have you met your sales goals?
The interviewer wants to look into your history in sales and see if you’ve met or exceeded your quotas in the past.
Three main points to keep in mind while responding to this:
- Sales is a tough profession and require a lot of hard work and dedication. To be successful in sales, you need to have a strong record of achievement. You should highlight your toughest and most significant achievements.
- However, you should also be prepared to talk about any failures or rejections you have faced. It is important to let the interviewer know that you believe in putting yourself out there time and again to meet your sales goals. Succeeding in sales means persevering in the face of failures. To say that it doesn’t bother you can sound insensitive as rejections are disappointing. Assert that failures are learning lessons and they keep you grounded and practical.
- Finally, you should discuss what keeps you motivated to pursue your goals.
Here’s what motivates me in my career: the prospect of facing new challenges every day, devising strategies to overcome them, and the unending desire to succeed.
This is how I have successfully and consistently achieved my monthly or quarterly quotas.
13. Have you ever had to fire a client?
This question assesses how you would handle dealing with difficult customers and situations. It shows that you are capable of managing the negative aspects of a sales career.
I feel passionate about preserving a company’s resources and providing the best service to my customers.
14. Who was your favorite boss and what would they say about you?
This quiz is to measure your flexibility in the workplace. You cannot be too rigid or inflexible in your thinking, or it will show in this quiz.
Be careful not to criticize their style too much.
My previous manager might describe me as independent-minded, but I prefer to think of myself as a strong team player.
She taught me the importance of always being professional and how to better manage a team by working with them instead of against them. I am grateful for her guidance and believe that I would not be where I am today without her help.
At the same time, I enjoyed the space I had to pursue my process without being micromanaged. That’s another thing I appreciate about her is that she gave me the freedom to explore and learn on my own.
15. Do you want to ask me any questions?
This is the last question that the interviewer will ask you, so make sure you have prepared some thoughtful and insightful questions to ask them.
If you have any questions or would like to explore something in more detail, now is the time to do so.
This is your opportunity not only to learn more about the position, but also about the company itself.
Here are some sample questions to ask:
- What does a typical day for a salesperson look like at your company?
- What are your expectations from someone in this role?
- Please tell me about the company culture.
- What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of working at this company?
- How would you rate my performance?
- Is my skill set or level of experience of any concern to you?
- How does the hiring process proceed from here?
Most job interviews begin with questions about you and end with questions about the job.
Sales interviews are usually based on common questions that allow the interviewer to get to know you and your sales experience. However, it is difficult to predict every question that could be asked. It is important to do your research ahead of time and be prepared for anything that could come up.
What to Look for in Sales Candidates
It can be difficult to accurately assess a salesperson’s skills and abilities simply by reviewing their resume and qualifications.
To get a better understanding of a candidate, it’s important to meet with them in person, learn about their professional interests and strengths, and see how they would react in realistic sales scenarios.
By doing this, you can get a better sense of whether or not they would be a good fit for your company.
Sales interview questions can help you determine how well a candidate would potentially do in a sales position.
The Critical Components of Sales Interviews
People who are successful at landing a sales rep job are those who can nail three things in a phone interview:
- Highlighting their relevant qualifications. The best candidates for sales jobs will be able to quickly and easily identify the skills and experience that make them the perfect fit for the role. Using those qualifications to sell themselves to the interviewer.
- Once they’ve identified their relevant qualifications, the best candidates will be able to use them to sell themselves to the interviewer. They’ll be able to articulate why they’re the best person for the job and what they can do for the company.
- The best candidates will be able to close the deal by impressing the interviewer with their confidence, knowledge, and passion for sales. They’ll leave the interview knowing that they have what it takes to succeed in the role.
While other job candidates can highlight their skills and experience in a bullet-point format, a salesperson needs to demonstrate their ability through specific examples and stories.
When entering a sales interview, candidates should be aware that they may be asked not only traditional questions but also behavioral and situational questions.
What Should I Say in a Sales Interview?
Some things you could say in a sales interview include discussing your experience with sales, discussing your motivation for wanting the job, and discussing any skills you have that could make you successful in sales.
Additionally, it is important to be prepared to answer questions about the company’s products or services and to ask questions about the role.
Sales is a good career choice for people who are interested in working with the public and building relationships. Salespeople are typically outgoing and enjoy working with others, which makes them well-suited for this type of work. In addition, sales offers a good opportunity to earn a high income.
How Do You Sell Yourself in a Sales Interview?
When selling yourself in a sales interview, it is important to be confident and articulate. You should be able to speak clearly about your skills and experience, and how they make you the best candidate for the job. It is also important to be honest and enthusiastic about your interest in the company and the position.
If you’re preparing for a sales interview, be sure to review these common sales interview questions and answers. With a little practice, you’ll be able to answer them like a pro!
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