More than any other type of interview, recruiters for a sales position anticipate that you carry yourself with calm confidence and can chat easily. After all, a sales position generally requires that you easily interact with customers of all demographics and backgrounds.
You’ll need to think on your feet and be well-prepared in any sales environment. Showcase your ability to sell a product or service by persuasively selling yourself as the best candidate. Take a step back, consider yourself as the product, and apply your professional sales skills to the interview. Create an elevator pitch that tells them what makes you the best fit for their needs, what are your unique qualities and career goals.
Having created an elevator pitch will help get you in the right mindset to prove you’re the best solution for their needs.
What Are Common Sales Interview Questions?
Conduct research on the company, monitor trends that interest them, and practice some answers. While you’ll never know precisely what questions might be asked of you ahead of time, there is often a mix of technical and situational questions during the conversation. The recruiter will seek to understand your process, how organized you are, and if your character traits are a great fit for their company culture.
We’ve got some frequently asked sales interview questions to get your creative juices flowing.
How would you sell me this pen?
This is a classic question during sales interviews. It helps the recruiter learn if you can think on your feet and gives you a solid chance to demonstrate your skills around something you’re familiar with. There will be no one correct response, and the item isn’t always a pen. It could be any number of regular items, such as a pencil, an apple, or even a product or service that the employer markets. Regardless of the product, this question is intended to learn about your sales process, communication skills, and creativity.
“I’d love to help you figure out if this pen would fit your needs. Can you tell me a little about when and how you’ll use it? Taking notes for business? This is actually an excellent choice for that purpose, as the cap seals tightly, so you won’t find stains in your shirt pocket or leaked ink in your writing pad. Also, the ink flows well, so you won’t waste time with a pen that you have to shake or scribble with to get it to flow.”
How do you stay current with the trends in your market?
Successful salespeople need to keep their fingers on the pulse of changing industry trends. To assess your interest in your role, interviewers might ask about current topics. They’re interested to see whether you care enough to do more than simply show up for a paycheck. Be prepared with an industry news item that is timely and relevant.
“I follow a few industry-leading sites, such as [X, Y, and Z], and listen to [a relevant podcast, for example]. They have all been touching lately on the [example trend]. So, I’ve been researching that to become more familiar with it.”
What motivates you to sell?
This is really a chance to find out what drives you. Sales positions require goal-oriented and driven employees to meet challenging deadlines. Show off your competitive side by noting how you challenge yourself. Research the company beforehand, tie your answers into their targets, and touch on how you enjoy creating solutions for people.
“I’m driven by a desire to do better by surpassing my previous records. I aim to develop larger contracts and create a more extensive customer base through repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals. Because I genuinely enjoy talking with people and helping them find the best fit for their needs, I find this happens naturally.”
How would your teammates describe you?
Are you reliable, honest, and receptive to feedback? The interviewer is looking to discover what talents and characteristics might make you an excellent asset to the company. They’re also seeking to learn if you have great self-awareness and whether your competitiveness is a little too competitive and creates an unsavory work environment.
“I think that my colleagues would all comment on my upbeat enthusiasm and my attention to detail. I’m extremely organized to ensure I don’t miss deadlines or overlook essential information. On my last team, I was often the go-to for creating fun team competitions to help us beat our sales goals.”
What are your long-term career goals?
Hiring and training are expensive, and turnover disrupts long-term clients who now have to form bonds with a different sales representative. The interviewer is trying to determine your longevity, and how invested you are in the company. Having aspirations to develop your career is always a great objective.
“I’m seeking a role with a company that focuses on customer and community engagement rather than simply being numbers-focused. In the short term, I aim to learn all I can in this position and then, down the road, leverage that knowledge to grow into a team lead position where I can help create an excellent environment for newer team members and our customers.”
Which is more important, results or customer satisfaction?
This might seem like a trick, but interviewers are trying to find out how you balance customer service with sales goals. The correct answer is that both are critical. They’ll be nervous about bringing someone on who doesn’t match their customer service mission.
“I don’t feel that the two are conflicting. They both require focus, but ultimately, if you prioritize customer care in the short term, your goals will be more easily achieved in the long run. For example, if you are only focusing on selling something that doesn’t really meet a customer’s needs, they are unlikely to recommend you or return to shop again. It’s better to meet their needs and budget now, and your long-term growth will follow.”
Interview Best Practices
A sales career can be a challenging and rewarding field, as you find ways to help people find solutions to challenges while balancing goals that keep your energy up. With some preplanning, you’ll have a great shot at landing the job and taking the next step on your career path.
Ensure that you’ve thoroughly researched the company and have well-thought-out questions to ask the recruiter when given the opportunity. Choose your interview outfit with intention and practice your interview skills ahead of time with friends, family, or a career coach.
Don't forget to share this article with friends!