The ultimate Sales interview questions, answers and tips

Preparing for a job interview can sometimes be difficult, preparing for a sales interview being no exception. Applying for sales jobs and making it to the interview stage are only the first two steps on your path to landing your dream job. Knowing the types of sales interview questions you might be asked and having a guide on how to go about answering these questions, can help you feel and be more prepared.

Doing your research and freshening up on your own successes are two of the most important interview tips we can give you. To help you ace your interview, we have created a list of seven sales interview questions and answers to help put you on the right path.

prepare for a job interview

7 Sales Interview Questions and how to answer them

Keep in mind that the list of questions and how you should approach answering them are by no means complete. Interviewers can ask a range of sales related questions, and even derivatives of the questions listed below. The tips here are aimed at helping you get into the mindset of what an interview for sales positions might be like.

Before we get started on the sales interview questions and answers, be sure to check out our “Top interview tips to help you land the job” post on the Job Mail Blog for some basic tips, interview questions and answers.

In this post, we are going to steer clear of the more generic questions, jumping right into the more common or difficult questions you might come across in your sales interview. So, let’s get started.

1. What motivates you?

It is no secret that sales can be a demanding career field and, when it comes to sales representatives and employees, motivation is key. The interviewer here wants to know if you have the drive and passion for the job, for closing that deal and making the sale.

sales interview questions

Here, like with so many other sales interview questions, there is no right or wrong answer, but a few things you need to keep in mind. Every person is motivated by different things, so when answering what motivates you, you need to show enthusiasm, an unstoppable will to succeed and a love for sales.

Focus on your sales style and, because self-motivation is something your interviewer will be looking for, make sure that your interviewer can see that your motivation is something that comes from within you.

Looking for sales jobs that will fuel your passion? Create your Job Mail Job Alert and get informed of the latest vacancies in your field advertised on Job Mail.

2. Meeting sales goals and the ‘have you met your sales goals consistently’ question.

This is something you can expect in just about any sales interview. Meeting goals and meeting them at a consistent pace is important when it comes to sales. You interviewer will want to know if you are capable of meeting sales goals and even exceeding goals.

Start off by saying (if it is in fact true) that you have consistently met sales goals. Preparing for a job interview means that you will have to refresh your memory as well. This will enable you to comfortably throw in one of your recent sales achievements. A situation where you and your team were not only able to meet sales goals, but maybe even exceed them as well.

If you are going to talk the talk, you will need to walk the walk. Remember to demonstrate your success and try not to come off as bragging or arrogant. Talk numbers, the market you were in and how you exceeded expectations.

3. Can you and how do you handle rejection?

When it comes to sales interview questions and answers, this is one of the common ones you will need to be prepared for. In sales jobs, rejection is common and you will need to be able to handle rejection and, in some cases, be able to turn the ‘no’ into a ‘yes’.

sales jobs interview tips

Rejection is not always easy to deal with. Rejection (I would think) is not something anyone could like, so be honest about this. “No one likes rejection but what keeps me going/motivated…

One of the important interview tips here is to let the interviewer know that rejection can be a motivator for you. Losing a sale is disappointing, but it can be a motivator, something that drives you. In this industry, rejection is not something you should take personally but rather an opportunity to learn, further refining your sales pitch and skills.

4. Why did you choose to build a career in sales? / What made you enter sales?

It is no secret that sales people (and this is meant in the best possible way) are a different breed. They are motivated, enthusiastic, passionate and driven. This is an opportunity to show the interviewer what about the sales industry excites you and keeps you digging, refining the craft.

From problem solving to finding a way to best match your client’s needs with your product, these type of sales interview questions can help your interviewer see what drives you in your career as well as the day-to-day of the job.

5. How do you go about generating, developing and closing a spotted sales opportunity?

These types of questions will test your core sales skills and also ask for a glimpse into how you go about developing and, at the end of the day, closing a sale.

interview tips for sales professionals

This interview questions also gives you the opportunity to discuss how you make a sale from the very beginning until you get that ‘yes’. It is a good idea to include everything from planning, researching the needs of your potential client and preparing your pitch, providing your potential client with solutions and successfully dealing with any objections he or she might have.

Remember that these types of sales interview questions are not only asked in order to assess your core sales skills, but also how you apply these skills from the planning phases up until the ‘yes’.

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6. Talking about your failures and those times you did not meet sales goals.

When preparing for a job interview, always keep in mind that failure and not meeting goals is natural when it comes to careers in sales. However, how you answer these types of interview questions should not be. The interviewer is very well aware that failure is a part of sales, but the aim of this type of question is to assess how you not only deal with failure, but what you take away from it.

A great way to approach this question is to talk about that specific goal you didn’t reach. Though talking about just your shortcomings in an interview is not recommended, you can turn a failed goal into something quite spectacular if you approach it in the right way.

What happened, what went wrong, what you learned and what you think should have been done differently.

7. Sell me this pen…

This question and variations of it might be something you come across in your sales interview and, instead of looking at it as a hurdle, look at these types of sales interview questions as an opportunity to demonstrate your core sales skills and how you apply these skills to your sales style.

sales interview tips

These types of sales interview questions and answers are a great example of the interviewer trying to maybe catch you off guard. This question and the questions like it is asked to help the interviewer assess how you think on your feet, your sales skills and how you are able to ‘sell anything’.

A common trick here is to not actually sell the pen (or product) but the benefits you will sell to your potential client. To do this, you will need to find out what the potential client is looking for, matching the benefits and features of this pen (or product) to the client’s needs.

Begin with asking questions about the client’s needs, his or her day-to-day activities, and what he or she expects from or needs in a pen (or product). From here you can apply your sales skills and style to assess the needs of the client, highlighting what the pen (or product) can offer.

One of the best interview tips we can give you is research. When preparing for a job interview, always keep in mind that your interviewer might skip the pen scenario and throw you straight into selling that company’s products.

For this, you will need to know what the company does, what it offers and its target demographics. Though you might not find out every single aspect of the company’s products, you will be equipped with extremely useful knowledge and an opportunity to demonstrate your skills as well as your ability to sell in that specific company’s target market.

For more tips, don’t forget to download the free Job Seekers Guide.

Now that you are more prepared in regards to what you can expect in a sales interview, it is time to set the wheel in motion. Register your CV and start Browsing for amazing career opportunities and sales jobs on Job Mail today.

The ultimate Sales interview questions, answers and tips
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The ultimate Sales interview questions, answers and tips
Knowing the types of sales interview questions you might be asked and knowing how to go about answering these questions, can help you be more prepared.
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