Sales jobs are highly coveted, and for a good reason. They offer opportunities to work with people, make a difference in the world, and achieve great financial success. But before you can land a job selling products or services, you first have to go through the interview process.
The interview is your chance to show the hiring manager that you have what it takes to be successful in this role. One of the key components of any sales interview is questions and answers.
Your interviewer will want to know about your experience selling products or services, how you handle objections, and what makes you unique as a salesperson.
Prepare for these questions by studying the most common ones asked in sales interviews, and practice answering them with confidence.
1. Tell Me About Yourself
What the interviewer is looking for: An overview of your sales experience and personal background to give context to your candidacy.
How to answer it: Keep this section brief; you should not go on at length about childhood hobbies or interests, but briefly touch on relevant factors that will help them understand who you are. Focus on your last few jobs and what experience you gained from them. For example, if you worked in a hotel, mention that you learned how to handle customer service issues with grace under pressure, or if you were in retail, highlight your ability to help customers find the product they needed.
Sample Answer– “I am a recent college graduate with a degree in finance. After graduation, I worked as an assistant manager for a retail store where I was responsible for training new employees and handling customer complaints. In my current role as a sales associate, I’ve found that those experiences have been very valuable because it’s taught me the importance of being able to quickly solve customers’ problems and the value of excellent customer service.
2. Why You’re the Right Person for This Job?
What the interviewer is looking for: Sincerity and passion about why they should hire you over other candidates.
How to answer it: Keep this section brief; hiring managers are not interested in long stories that don’t fit with the rest of your experience or who seemed like a good idea at the time.
Focus on a few key qualities that make you a great fit for the role, and share examples from your experience to illustrate them. For example, if you’re applying for a customer service role, your answer might talk about how much you enjoy going above and beyond to help people, as well as how good it makes you feel.
Sample answer– “I believe I’m the right person for this job because I’ve had great success in customer service roles, and after working at my previous company XYZ, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Specifically, I really enjoy helping people solve their problems and feel good about themselves. For example, a couple came into our store looking to buy an anniversary gift for their parents, but they were completely stumped. I spent an hour with them looking through our inventory and ultimately helped them find the perfect gift. They came back to the store later that week to thank me.”
3. What Do You Know About Our Company?
What the interviewer is looking for: A few specific details demonstrate your research into the role and the industry it operates in.
How to answer it: Researching a company is part of proper preparation for an interview, but particularly with sales jobs since you need to be able to speak knowledgeably about the products and services they offer.
If you’re applying for a retail role, find out about their bestsellers; if you’re interviewing with an advertising agency, be able to talk knowledgeably about its most recent campaign.
Keep this section focused on what matters most to your potential employer; don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with every aspect of the business.
Sample Answer– “I’m very interested in your company because you offer business advice to young start-ups. I’d love to be part of a team that helps people grow their companies. Also, it looks like you have tons of great reviews on Glassdoor, which is where I got all my information about your company.”
4. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
What the interviewer is looking for: An insight into what makes you a valuable salesperson beyond just your experience.
How to answer it: Don’t be afraid to take credit for your achievements; highlight one or two skills that contributed significantly to past successes.
For example, if you helped increase sales by 25% in your last role, bring this up to demonstrate your ability to boost revenue.
Sample answer– “I’m very organized, which is especially valuable in sales. I know that one of the biggest struggles for my team is staying on top of everything, so working with me would be easy because you’d never have to worry about chasing me down or making sure I’ve completed something. I always think ahead and bring copies of all documents with me so I can keep working on my schedule.”
5. What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses?
What the interviewer is looking for: Candidates that take a humble approach and can acknowledge their flaws without resorting to cliché answers (“I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard”).
Be honest about an area where you need to improve but focus more on what steps you’re taking to get better. For example, if you struggle with punctuality, mention that you’re taking an evening class to help and that you’ve already missed fewer days than before.
Sample answer– “I used to have trouble with punctuality, but I’ve been working hard on improving my time management skills. My boss actually gave me a couple of books on the subject that I enjoy reading during my commute. I’m already coming in earlier than before and making sure everything’s done before other people even come into the office.”
6. What Motivates You?
What the interviewer is looking for: A desire to push yourself and be productive as well as a good fit with the company culture.
How to answer it: It’s important not to oversell yourself; you should be able to demonstrate your motivations without sounding like a robot.
Be prepared to discuss both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that motivate you, for example, making money or being part of something bigger than yourself.
Sample answer– “I’m really motivated by maintaining a good work-life balance, so having a schedule that leaves me time to do both is important. I love working collaboratively and on a team because I always learn the most from other people.”
7. How Do You Handle Rejection?
What the interviewer is looking for: A confident, optimistic candidate that knows how to bounce back from failure.
How to answer it: Most people struggle with this one; if you’re nervous about what you’ll say, remind yourself of past rejections and discuss how they’ve shaped your performance in a positive way.
If you don’t have any previous examples of treating rejection positively, focus on your drive to succeed and how this makes you a better performer.
Sample answer– “I’m really competitive, so when someone tells me I can’t do something, there’s a part of me that wants to prove them wrong. This has helped me become more resilient in my career.”
8. Have You Consistently Met Your Sales Goals?
What the interviewer is looking for: Candidates that are used to working in an independent, goal-oriented environment.
How to answer it: If you’ve only worked at one role before, make sure you discuss how much responsibility has been given to you and any challenges you faced along with your success.
For those of us that have more experience, make sure to highlight how you went above and beyond your sales goals.
Sample answer– “I’m used to working autonomously. I know it’s important to set challenging yet achievable goals and reach them, no matter what. I’ve worked at three different sales jobs in total, and I outsold everyone else in my group every time.”
9. What Motivates You to Go the Extra Mile?
What the interviewer is looking for: A candidate that cares as much as they do about providing great customer service.
How to answer it: “Making customers happy” or “believing in our product” are both good, but more specific motivations will help you stand out.
Referring to a past customer or client that was particularly satisfied with your work is a great way to highlight your positive impact on others.
Sample answer– “Last year, I helped a customer find the perfect look to wear to her son’s wedding, and she ended up looking spectacular. It felt really great knowing I was able to help make a moment like that happen. I love it when other people feel good about themselves; that motivates me to do better.”
10. Sell Me This Pen
What the interviewer is looking for: A candidate that can think on their feet and present themselves confidently in a variety of situations.
Keep in mind; they aren’t expecting you to have memorized every single detail about the pen; they just want to see how well you communicate.
How to answer it: Be concise and clear when describing the benefits and value proposition of the pen.
After you’ve shown that you’re confident in your product knowledge, try to bring up some ways the pen could be used beyond its standard function, for example, pointing out its unique color or design.
Sample answer– “This pen gets the job was done in a fast and effective way, which is really great for anyone who needs to write with precision. Even though it’s compact, its smooth writing tip makes it feel like you’re holding something more expensive. It also comes in some unique colors that you won’t find in most ballpoint pens.”
11. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
What the interviewer is looking for: A candidate that has done their research and cares about the role.
How to answer it: Make sure you’re prepared with a few questions of your own; “what does an average day look like?” or “how long have you been working here?” are both great to ask.
You might also want to mention your interviewer’s strengths and how you can learn from them as well as some follow-up questions on the work environment, company culture, etc.
Sample answer– “I read a lot about this role and the company, but I’m wondering if there’s anything that you’d like to see me contribute or do more of. Also, what are some struggles your team might be going through right now?”
12. Some Other Tips to Remember
Sales interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with a little preparation, you can ace them. Here are some tips to remember:
1. Come prepared with questions of your own for the interviewer. This shows that you’re interested in the role and have done your research.
2. Stay confident and positive throughout the interview. The interviewer is looking to see how you’ll handle difficult situations, so make sure you stay cool under pressure.
3. Sell yourself! Point out your successes and how you’ve gone above and beyond in past roles.
4. Be concise and clear when describing the benefits and value proposition of products or services.
5. Use your communication skills effectively; explain concepts clearly and confidently, show that you love what you do without sounding too rehearsed, etc.
Sales interview question answer tips are important for job seekers to know. In this article, we have provided some essential tips that will help you prepare for and ace your next sales interview. Remember, preparation is key! So take the time to review these tips and practice them as often as possible. You’ll be glad you did when that big opportunity comes along.