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10 Sales Interview Questions and Answers

Updated on April 24, 2015
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Interviews can be quite nerve wracking, and even worse if you’re totally unprepared for the kinds of questions that might be thrown at you (which is most of the time)! You don’t have to go totally unprepared though.

So as long as you know the general qualities of the position you are interviewing for and some of the questions that are commonly asked, you should be in pretty good shape to score the job!

Salesperson Qualities

If you’ve been in sales for a while, chances are, you know how you’re expected to act in order to be a good fit for the job. If you are a newb to the field, you should probably know a few things about salesmen/women.

When you think of a salesperson, what things come to mind? Here are some qualities that are often looked for in potential members of a sales team:

Quick thinker. In order to be a good salesperson, you need to be able to have an answer for any question thrown at you, and good answers too! In the sales field, no matter what product or service you’re selling, you just never know what a potential customer might ask where an answer can make or break the deal.

Confidence. Nobody likes a salesperson who does not have a bit of confidence in their voice and some pep in their step! Having confidence in yourself will lead to an outpouring of confidence on the job as well.

Upbeat personality. Personally, I wouldn’t buy anything from the Dry Eyes guy, with his dull, monotone voice. If you have a good, bubbly personality, you’re more likely to get more people to listen to what you have to say, which means more sales!

Clean-cut appearance. You know what I’m talking about: Hygiene, style, and an I-care-about-how-I-present-myself look! Clean, styled hair, freshly shaven, clean clothes that are appropriate for the position you are applying for and so on.

Feel like you might be a good fit for a sales position? Then read on to learn about what kinds of sales interview questions might be thrown at you!

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Sample Sales Interview Questions

It’s impossible to know exactly the questions that will be asked of you, but there is a whole bunch of questions that are quite commonly asked during a sales interview. Questions (and appropriate answers!) include:

1. What motivates you?

The interviewer is asking this question not to really know how they can motivate you, but rather to find out if what motivates you is a good fit for the company. A company driven by customer satisfaction isn’t going to want someone who only cares about making money.

Sample answer: Setting goals for myself and exceeding my personal expectations.

2. How do you handle rejection?

There will be lots of rejection in the sales field and if someone doesn’t know a healthy way to handle it, they won’t get the job.

Sample answer: Trying to follow up with the client to see what it was that turned them away, learning from the experience and applying it to my future sales pitches.

3. When should you stop trying to pursue a client?

Companies want someone who is very persistent because a lot of times in the sales field, persistence is key in just getting someone to listen to you.

Sample answer: When a client flat out tells me to leave them alone, becomes threatening or vulgar, that’s a safe time to let the prospect go. Not every company is a good it for a prospect, and likewise, not every prospect is a good fit for the company!

4. In what ways will you go above and beyond to make a sale?

Companies want to know what you can offer potential clients outside of the phone call of knock on the door, within company policy.

Sample answer: Offer to meet with them personally to discuss the product/service, and just following up on all customer requests in order to make them happy, even if it means some money out of my pocket. (Now is a good time to mention things that you have done in the past, such as treating clients to lunch.)

5. A potential customer tells you that they are busy right now and don’t have time to hear what you have to say, what do you do?

The employer is likely trying to see how easily you’ll let a lead go, let them know you don’t let them go that easy!

Sample answer: Find out when they will be available or make an appointment to talk to them. Leave the conversation with a one or two-liner statement about your call that leaves them wanting to know more!

6. What’s more important, meeting quota or having happy customers, and why?

Many different answers to this question will let the employer know just how far you will go to make a sale, even if it means dishonesty resulting in angry customers.

Sample answer: The two go hand-in-hand! I believe if a person cannot meet both of those expectations, then they should not be in the sales field. Meeting quota is important in order to meet company goals, but having happy customers will ultimately help the company’s profits in the long run.

7. If we hired you onto our team, what is your plan for the first few weeks of employment?

Employers want to know just how much you want the job and have been preparing yourself to take it on. Salespeople need to have a readiness plan!

Sample answer: Establishing a good working relationship with the rest of the team while learning the ins and outs of the position. I plan on reading and practicing sales scripts on my free time so that I am most ready when it’s time to work in the field!

8. What is your view on social networking as pertaining to sales?

Employers want to know your level of comfort with social marketing or your willingness to learn how to use it.

Sample answer: With much of today’s sales being conducted online, utilizing social networking sites can only be beneficial to a company whether it be for advertising the product or having employees readily available to answer questions/concerns posted on social networking pages.

9. Describe a losing streak you had and what you did to really turn it around.

Everyone has a time in their life where everything just seems to go wrong, so don’t be one of those who say “I’ve never had that happen” because they will know you’re not being truthful. Honestly reflect on a time, preferably related to work, and let them know what you did to turn it around, sounding as positive as possible!

10. What is a personal obstacle you have encountered unrelated to sales, and how did you overcome it?

It is good if you have an answer readily available for a question like this because it shows your character even outside of the sales field. This answer will vary depending on you, but think about it and figure out a good one!

Keep in mind, answers that are desired by each individual interviewer will vary depending on the individual company’s goals and philosophies. There’s no single set of answers that will lead to you scoring any sales job with any company. Your best bet is to research the company, see what other employees or former employees have to say about the company and preparing yourself from there!

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