Interviewing

How to Answer Interview Questions for a Sales Position

Interviewing for a sales position requires adequate preparation and a strong understanding of the job requirements. With enough practice, your excellent selling skills can help you land that dream job. This makes practicing with sales interview questions an important step during the recruitment process. In this article, learn some tips to help you confidently answer sales job interview questions.

Why interviewers ask tough questions for a sales position

Regardless of your qualifications, employers want to know you have a persistent spirit. Interviewers use tough questions to gauge your passion for selling. It is difficult to succeed in a sales role if you can’t handle rejection or challenging customers. It is vital for your response to demonstrate coping mechanisms that help you focus after suffering setbacks. 

Common interview questions for a sales position

Answering sales interview questions requires you to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of customer service skills, negotiation and exceptional communication. It helps if you read the job description carefully to identify the skills and experiences the employer is looking for to prepare adequately for the interview. 

Here are common sales interview questions with example answers:

Tell me about yourself

When asked this question, deliver a powerful pitch that will impress the employer. Describe your main selling points relevant to the role, achievements in similar positions and the skills and experiences you will add to the organization. 

Be concise and honest but compelling enough to make a good impression from the start. Where possible, provide examples of successful sales and mention verifiable metrics to support your claims. 

Example: ‘I love sales because it allows me to solve problems. At my last job, I increased revenue gains by $1.5 million in the first year and trained six salespersons, helping to double departmental growth in the last year. I can design and launch multiple sales campaigns, and I have successfully supervised 15 major product launches. I believe my expertise will provide more impetus for your great sales department.’

How do you handle customer objections?

This is a common sales job interview question because employers want to hire candidates who can deal with objections without losing focus. It’s best to be truthful in your answer so the interviewer doesn’t see you as unqualified or a person who does not take responsibility for your mistakes. 

In your answer, describe a situation that led to a loss and what you learned from the experience. Taking responsibility for your actions and demonstrating the learning opportunities you gleaned from a lost sale is a great attribute that interviewers look for. 

Example: ‘I don’t let objections get to me because it is part of the job. Whenever a client rejects my proposals, I will try to review my techniques to find out flaws. That way, I can avoid mistakes and close more deals.’

Why did you become a salesperson?

This is one of the most common sales job interview questions, and employers use it to gauge your interest in the role. Most people join sales for the commissions, but it’s important to have a bigger motivation apart from the money. You can find clues to this question in the job posting, the company culture, its products/services and your personal strengths. 

Example: ‘My choice of a sales career was motivated by the need to help people solve business problems. The adventure and uncertainty of sales and prospecting was a huge motivator for me because it forced me to produce results by leveraging my communication and people skills.’

What information do you look for when researching prospects before a meeting?

Interviewers use this question to determine your prospecting skills. They expect you to identify certain qualifying information before contacting a prospect. A good answer will demonstrate your prospect research method.

Example: ‘First, I check the prospect’s professional credentials and their decision-making powers. Then, I research how our products will help them solve pressing problems and the benefits they will enjoy if they buy from us. This allows me to personalize my pitch, increasing the chances of closing the deal.’

How do you build rapport with a prospect?

This sales interview question tests your practical knowledge of prospecting and closing clients. Your answer needs to demonstrate a step-by-step approach that you used to achieve your sales quotas. Even if you are inexperienced, a rehearsed answer will do. The important thing is to show the interviewer you have a logical plan for selling. 

Example: ‘When I’m talking to a client for the first time, I try to build rapport by complimenting them for a recent achievement. Then, I try to match their tone of voice before pitching my products or services.’

How did you win your biggest sale?

Hiring managers use this to identify your sales strategy. They want to know you can practice what is on your resume and provide results. Your response can describe the skills and methods you used to convince the client to see the value in your proposal and close the deal. Ensure the strategies you describe relate to the role that you are applying for. 

This question offers an opportunity to impress the interviewer but don’t brag or exaggerate your efforts. Acknowledge the contributions of team members and other departments who supported you during the prospecting and negotiation stages. This not only conveys you as a professional salesperson but also shows you have excellent collaborative skills. 

Example: ‘My biggest sales came from an existing client who was using our product alongside a competitor’s. He wanted to compare performance but I convinced him to choose our offer before his firm concluded their test phase. I offered him free service for 10 years, a 10% discount if he signed on the spot and continuous updates for life. He would have qualified for the bonuses but I presented them in a way that made the other company look exorbitant.’