Top 26 Sales Interview Questions and Answers

In this article, you’ll find the 26 most common sales job interview questions that will help you prepare for your upcoming interview. You can also use the answers included here to show your interviewer what kind of a professional they are hiring.

If you are shooting to impress your interviewer and get the position on the spot, these possible sales interview questions are your best bet! 


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

sales interview questions and answers

Common Sales Interview Questions and Answers

1. Tell me about yourself.

Interviewers often ask this as one of the best sales interview questions to see how well you can sell yourself, not just because they want to get to know your personality. While this may seem “too easy” to answer, talking about yourself can easily bore your interviewer.

So, this is how you should answer the question.

Keep it concise and highlight your skills.

The first sentence should introduce who you are; the second line should be about why this information matters for that particular position, and then finish with what specific experience makes you qualified.

Talk about your sales successes and make sure to give concrete examples as you go through previous experiences. Get your point across quickly and clearly and make sure that what you are saying is true for yourself.

Example answers:

Im from a family of driven entrepreneurs who taught me to go after what I want, and to never give up. In college, I worked to minimize student loans, and studied business because Im fascinated by it…

I am great at new business development. I tripled the client base in my territory in the first year, yielding revenue gains of over $1.2 million…

I won the top sales incentive trip the last three years…

As a manager, I am really good at developing people. I doubled the number of sales reps on my team and led them to revenue growth of over 75% last year…

Im excellent at relationship building and leveraging sales. One example is when I…

I love a good challenge, like when…

2. Can you tell me more about your sales experience?

Your interviewer is looking for evidence that you can back up your resume with experience and attitude.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Stay positive but realistic.

Be specific about what you have done in the past; can be turning a no into a yes, and why you made certain choices with your career, so far. Click To Tweet

If this is your first sales job, be up-front about that too. Talk about what you’ve learned about the industry so far and why sales is an exciting field to be in.

3. Why did you choose a career in sales?

This is where you can show the interviewer that this job isn’t just a paycheck to you. They want to hear what motivates and drives you.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Tell them how your passion for sales has led to success.

Example answer:

I want/chose a sales career because sales is one of the few professions where your hard work, strategic thinking, thorough preparation and perpetual action, literally pays off. Its fun and at times frustrating, challenging, lucrative and rewarding work…

4. What is your best memory of a sale you won?

Prospective employers want to know if you have the resilience and determination to close hard deals. If they ask this question, it is because they are looking for someone who has these qualities.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Share with them a time when things seemed hopeless, but then something specific that was done turned it all around.

If you’re new to sales, tell them about the time when you made somebody change their mind.

Example answer:

The best memory of a sale I won was when I was able to win the sale against all odds. Heres what happened Each meeting was getting closer to commitment and then, (mention some obstacles) the client had to take a medical leave of absence. His replacement was hard to reach, and it seemed like priorities were shifting and the sale was slipping away. I realized I had to get more strategic with my approach, so I started (describe what you did). The hard-won sales are the most rewarding to me…

Winning moments will highlight your excitement for a challenge and beating it at the end of the day.

5. What mistakes have you made in the past? What did you learn from them?

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Show you are not afraid of making mistakes and learning from them.

Some interviewers will even ask what your greatest weakness is. You can answer this question with the same response.

Example answer:

A mistake I made was talking too much. One time, I realized after a demo that I had failed to listen closely enough during the call, and overlooked a buying signal. I learned to be more comfortable with silence, and ask better questions to understand the thought process of the customer…

6. Put the following three words in order of importance to you- money, recognition, promotion.

Frankly, there is no right answer to this question, but it’s an opportunity for you to show that your priorities are in the right place. Remember that companies aim to hire individuals who can think logically and have a sense of self-awareness.

sales interview questions and answers

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Answer logically and sincerely mean it.

Example answer:

Money, Recognition, Promotion, because if I make the company, my clients, and myself a lot of money, the recognition and promotion will follow in that order.

7. When you have a bad day, what do you do to help make yourself feel better?

This question is about how you cope with stress.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

You can always say that you don’t dwell on the bad days, but it is important to reflect and ask yourself what went wrong. And that you are trying your best not to be in the same situation, again.

One sales VP told me that he hired a candidate who said she would go for long, fast rides on her horse when they had tough days. This was an effective way to forget about the stress and leave it all behind. Sure, you could say that the gym is like a horse for most of us because we don’t have one.

8. What motivates you?

Hiring managers want to rely on their employees and not have to constantly provide motivation. They need you, the employee, to do your part as well.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Say you are goal-oriented, money motivated, self-managed and determined. Saying so will show your passion for sales.

In fact, many sales leaders have told me they like to hear when a candidate has said that their mortgage motivates them. 

9. What type of work environment do you think would best suit your personality?

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Research (first) on the work environment of any company that is interviewing.

Then before answering questions during an interview, ask them about their office culture and what makes it great for their employees.

Also, you can think about what type of work environment you would be most comfortable in. Would you prefer a close-quarter? On the phone job? Or are better suited for an independent position with field sales?

10. What are some things that make your favorite boss stand out?

The question about your best boss can be tricky because it might make you seem like you need a lot of support.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Describe the circumstances that led up to how they were such an effective leader for you.

Example answer:

My favorite boss and I had a great relationship. I didnt like to be micromanaged, so initially I said, If you leave me alone, I will make you money. I had a lot of experience, and a proven track record. He agreed. But I realized that I was being more of a maverick than a team player and after a while, we adjusted that expectation. He felt the team could learn from me and I agreed. We both thought I could learn from them, even though I was in major accounts. So, the work relationship evolved in a different and even better way.

11. What’s the worst manager you’ve ever had? Why did they not do well in your opinion?

This is a tricky question. If you had an awful manager, then it’s okay to share what they did wrong because that will give other people advice on how not to be like them.

This is how you should answer the question:

Do not mention personal digs, like the person was annoying or lazy.

These words are judgmental and unconstructive. There’s no way this can help to improve performance.

Example answer:

I had one manager who was very kind, but who could have been more effective at setting goals and managing up to the executive team. We always hit our number despite the difficulties she had in setting expectations, but the morale of the department started to decline, and turnover started to affect our ability to perform.

In spite of the difficulties that my manager had in setting expectations, we always hit our number. But as morale started to decline and turnover increased, it became more difficult for us to perform.

12. What made you want to be a salesperson?

They want to know if you have a natural interest in sales and if you are able to learn quickly. If so, they will be more likely to hire you.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Share a story of your own.

Whether you had your first lemonade stand, worked in the family retail store or started up on an idea out of your garage door, or maybe sales came to you later in life by studying it in college, selling t-shirts for your fraternity, or when you stumbled upon a blog about sales- hiring managers are looking for people with passion and perseverance, ready to take their businesses to new heights.

sales interview questions and answers

13. Did you finance any of your college tuition?

A common question I hear from hiring managers is whether or not a candidate has had to work for something. Some people will say they worked summers and part-time if they did not have to pay for college.

It’s not a deal-breaker. So, this is how you should answer the question:

Be honest.

14. What are you most proud of?

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Be brief and meaningful about it.

Mention things that you are proud of or accomplished, but try to be brief and meaningful about it. This will show the interviewer what is important to you.

Example answers:

I most value my 5 years at XYZ company because it gave me a solid successful sales foundation.

You can also make the sales pitch more personal by mentioning how this sale will help them meet their goals.

I am most proud of helping my brother get through college because our parents couldnt afford to pay for it, and it completely changed his future for the better.

OR

Im most proud of my work on the board of ABC foundation because of the impact we have had on funding life-changing programs.

15. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Hiring managers want to know what you think is good advice and how you’ve applied it in your life or work.

So, this is how your answer should sound like:

A lot of people think that high pay and commissions are enough to motivate salespeople, but she found out through her own experience that the prospect of making money is not always a good incentive.

16. What are your hobbies?

This question seems silly but is designed to make you talk for a long time. The interviewer will probably ask this one more than once and it’s best if you can give an answer without having rehearsed your response.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Saying what you do for fun is a great way to connect with people.

I love scuba diving, Iron Man competitions and playing drums in my band at local events.

A simple way to get better at this is by practicing. Try this exercise right now: answer the question aloud a few times and see how difficult it can be. Saying it again and evaluating what was said the second time around will help me fix any problems with communicating.

17. How do you balance work and life?

People ask this question for all kinds of reasons. Some want to hear that you’re not just motivated by money, while others are looking for a good work ethic.

sales interview questions and answers

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Be sure to answer sales person interview questions in a way that is appropriate for the company culture. Answer truthfully, but be prepared with an anecdote about your values and strengths if you are asked.

Example answers:

I am pretty good at balancing work and life. I am able to leave the day behind me and shift gears to spend time with friends and family.

OR

Im terrible at balancing work and life. Work gets the best of me. I am always thinking of the next step in moving the needle in sales.

OR

Im great at balancing work and life. The funny thing is, when Im not working, I still find that I meet people that serendipitously lead to sales opportunities.

18. What have you done that has beaten the odds?

This is how you should answer the question:

Demonstrate your value is by telling us about a time when you overcame adversity.

For example, tell me how you have dealt with obstacles in life and come out on top.

Example answers:

2009 was an awful year. It seemed everyone was in a holding pattern waiting to see what would happen next. The market bottomed out at 6,507.4 in March of that year. Unthinkable!

What were your experiences like during the recession?

You can continue by saying:

Some did well. My strategy was to keep making calls and meeting people. I knew at some point the tide would have to turn. Maintain the Campaign was one of my senior managers mottos. It worked! Some panicked. It didnt seem to help them. Eventually, sales opportunities started to come back again. I dont get distracted by the external circumstances that can panic most people. I know activity brings sales.

19. Describe how/if you are a team player.

When I was working in sales, my team met a toxic salesman who would spread his negativity to the whole group. This person might have been one of our top performers at first glance but when you look closer it is clear that he or she had no idea how they were affecting other people.

This is how you should answer the question:

Make it clear that you’re not the type of person who will have a problem in this position.

Example answer:

Im a team player because I think the team can strengthen those on it if they collaborate and commit to helping one another succeed. I also like having the independence to get out of the office and grow my territory.

20. What are 3 things you do to build rapport with a prospect?

This is how you should answer the question:

Sales jobs are not just about knowing the ins and outs of sales tactics. You need to show that you know what it takes, which means practice is important.

Example answer:

First, listening is key. Second, asking questions to get to know them better and so I can really pay attention to and care about what they say. Third, would be making a connection by talking about what interests them, and any insights or experiences I can offer to add value to what they like, need or want.

  • First, listening is key.
  • Second, I learned to ask questions and really listen so that we could be on the same page.

In most cases, hiring managers follow up by finding out what you are interested in and asking for your opinion on a topic you have expertise in.

21. When sales are down, what is the first thing you would do?

So, remember this when answering the question:

Salespeople will hit a slump eventually. When they do, it is important to remember that there are many different ways out of the rut.

Example answer:

When sales are down, I stay highly focused and organized. I create a strategic outreach plan. The plan is focused on consistency and targeted activity numbers. For example: Make 20 phone calls to past and high potential clients. Send 30 emails each day that are directly related to growing new and existing business opportunities, and start going after securing more meetings/appointments.

The best way to motivate people is not just by a paycheck. With salespeople, hiring managers have always thought that pay and commission structure are the most important because high base pay and lucrative commissions seemed like enough motivation. However, it turns out that paying someone well for their work isn’t always going to be motivating in itself.

22. How do you know you can sell?

Most recruiters who ask this question are just trying to see how you’ll react.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Be ready with a response that will work for you. You may not get the opportunity in an interview to address what is most important and show your strengths as a potential employee.

Example answer:

Because I have done it successfully. I like how the numbers tell the story, so you always know how you are doing.

23. Sell me this pen. (Ugh, I know)

The question “How much money do you want to make?” might come up in a sales interview. It’s not an original or particularly insightful inquiry, but it can still be tricky.

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Begin by assessing the needs of your team.

DONT give a lengthy explanation of the features and benefits of your product. Keep it short, succinct, and to the point.

DO ask:

What kind of pen do you like to write with?

Then follow up with:

Describe your favorite pen. What does it look like? How does it write, thick, thin, smoothly? What color ink do you prefer? Do you care about the way it looks, or just the way it writes? Where are you going to use it? Out with a client or in the office? What price range/ballpark are you looking to spend? What else do you like about your favorite pen?

You can also use probing questions to figure out if the person you are speaking with will like your product or not.

In order to close a sale, you should try asking questions like: “What does this mean for your company?” or “How will the changes we discussed today affect things going forward?”

What do you think about this pen? Would you like to purchase it today? Cash or charge? If no, why not? What would be better suited for you? Is that what you would like to buy instead? Ill order you one now.

Remember to close at the end!

24. How do you handle disappointment?

So, this is how you should answer the question:

This one is easy, so keep it short and sweet.

Example answer:

Learn what I can from it, and move on.

A common follow-up question that may arise is, “that’s it?” What about the other stuff you promised me in my interview? Respond with a simple yes.

Follow up with something like:

I have seen far too many team members waste valuable selling time venting about the, what ifs of a sale that didnt happen, when instead it would have been a better use of their time to get back out there.

25. What color best describes you and why?

Some people purposefully ask strange questions during interviews because you can’t rehearse answers to these types of queries. There are other questions that ask you to choose your spirit animal or describe how you would crash a wedding.

sales interview questions and answers

So, this is how you should answer the question:

Don’t overthink these sales interview questions, but if you need a moment to think about your answer just take it and make sure it’ll make sense.

These would all work:

“Red, because I am bold.”

OR,

“Green, because it’s the color of money and I am money-motivated.”

OR,

“Yellow, because I am very optimistic.”

26. Do you have any questions for me?

You should always have a few questions because that shows you are interested.

But don’t ask about things just to get information; make sure your question is genuine. Click To Tweet

Questions 1, 5, and 6 on the list are excellent interview questions for a sales position to throw at your interviewer. These sales interview questions and answers show a high level of interest in the company’s mission statement and future goals.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.