10 Sales Interview Questions and Sample Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 30 August 2022 | Published 25 June 2021
Updated 30 August 2022
Published 25 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A sales career can be very rewarding with a number of benefits and a strong opportunity to grow. Being a salesperson involves communicating with the public, solving problems and potentially earning extra income based on your sales performance. In a sales interview, you should be able to show strong communication, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and people skills. In this article, we review examples of the 10 most common sales interview questions and sample answers.
Common sales interview questions and sample answers
Here are 10 common sales interview questions you may be asked at your interview:
1. Why did you apply to this sales position?
This is a common question for employers to ask in a sales interview. It gives them an idea of how enthusiastic you are about the role and whether you understand what the job requires. To prepare for this question, you should review the requirements in the job description and compare them with your own skills and experience. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you match the company's description of the ideal candidate.
Sample answer: 'I applied to this sales role because I believe I'm the right person for the job. My last job working as a telesales executive gave me the essential customer service, communication and selling skills that are needed for this position. I'm comfortable talking to new people and I love the rush that making a successful sale brings. My first job involved working in stressful situations as part of a team. In this role, I worked well under pressure whilst remaining calm and positive.'
2. Can you tell me a bit more about your experience in sales?
In this sales interview question, your interviewer is looking for evidence that you really have the sales experience you mentioned on your CV. They want to know whether or not you are genuine and have the experience that is needed for the role. Try to be as specific as possible about the companies you worked for, the time you spent working there and what you learned in each job.
Sample answer: 'My first job when I was at university was as a salesperson for (company name) making cold calls to sell insurance products. I worked here for just under two years and picked up strong people and communication skills during my time here. My latest job was also in sales, working for a broadband company and selling to members of the public in shopping centres across the country. In this role, I learned how to work well as part of a close-knit team.'
3. What makes you a successful salesperson?
After you've talked about your experience in sales, the interviewer will want to find out whether or not you have the suitable skills required for the job. They are looking for proof that you will be successful at selling their products should they choose to hire you. Make a mental list of all your traits that have made you a strong salesperson in the past and demonstrate this to the interviewer.
Sample answer: 'I'm a positive person by nature and I tend to have a lot of energy. I love talking to new people and trying to help people in any way I can. I think customers recognise these traits in me and I think perhaps that is why I've always been successful in securing sales. Moreover, I don't let any setbacks knock my confidence or ability to sell to others. I know how to stay driven and committed to the task at hand.'
4. What motivates you as a salesperson?
Sales jobs require willpower, optimism and the drive to keep going. This popular sales interview question is asked by the interviewer to gauge how you will react when you face a challenge. They want to know that you will stay motivated in the job, even after a setback. Demonstrate your passion for sales and your drive to succeed in your answer.
Sample answer: 'As a salesperson, my goal is to make customers happy by connecting them with products and services that will make a positive difference in their lives. I love to help others and that is something that motivates me to sell. I also have a competitive streak and enjoy challenging myself to meet high targets.'
5. Tell me about a time when you landed a successful sale.
This sales interview question is asked so that the interviewer can get a real insight into what you're like as a salesperson. They are looking for a real-life, detailed account of when you have successfully sold something. It's important to reflect on your past sales experience and come up with a strong, solid example ahead of the interview.
Sample answer: 'During my time working at an insurance company making cold calls, I encountered a customer who was, initially, strongly against buying anything. However, after chatting for a good half an hour about her circumstances and how her current insurance plan was no longer a viable option for her, she decided to switch plans and ended up buying not one, but three insurance packages with me.'
Related: 'Why Sales' Job Interview Question
6. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated strong teamwork skills.
Teamwork is an essential component in any sales role and the interviewer wants to know that you can work well as part of a team. Your answer should demonstrate how you bring value to a group and that you recognise the importance of teamwork.
Sample answer: 'In my role selling broadband in shopping centres across the UK, I would regularly work with my colleagues to close deals together and share the commission evenly. On one occasion, a fairly new colleague was struggling to make a sale to a hesitant customer. Another colleague and I joined in the conversation after she looked to us for help, and within a few minutes the three of us had closed the sale.'
7. How do you react when you lose a sale?
In sales, you will often be faced with rejections. It's important to view these setbacks as a learning opportunity and a chance to develop your sales skills. When an interviewer asks you this question in a sales interview, they are looking for someone who can maintain a positive attitude after being rejected by a potential customer.
Sample answer: 'After building a rapport with a customer who seemed keen on purchasing a product, they suddenly changed their mind at the last minute due to them finding a better deal elsewhere. I kept a positive and friendly attitude and thanked them for their time, and flagged the concerns on pricing with my manager. He evaluated the competitor and improved our pricing structure almost immediately.'
8. How do you organise your time to meet deadlines and goals?
Employers ask this sales interview question to gauge whether you can successfully juggle several responsibilities at once. Sales jobs are generally demanding and require you to navigate meetings, client correspondence and presentations, among other duties. Use this opportunity to show the interviewer how you organise your time during a typical working day.
Sample answer: 'In an evening, I write a to-do list of jobs I have to do the next day and a schedule of any pre-arranged appointments. On a working day, I tend to do the most challenging jobs first in the morning. This gives me a clear head for the rest of the day. Once these are done, I can focus more on client outreach and building a rapport with potential customers. I think the key to meeting important deadlines is to prioritise the most difficult tasks first.'
9. What are you like as a leader?
Sales jobs are big on teamwork, and you'll probably be leading a team at some point. Employers ask this question in a sales interview to see whether or not you have the confidence and leadership skills required in such a job. Before the interview, think of a time when you successfully acted as the leader of a team. This can be within a job setting, an educational task or a life event.
Sample answer: 'I think I'm a leader who prioritises equality and fairness while still focusing on the task at hand. In a group project at university, I volunteered to be the leader. I assigned each team member a task that corresponded with their individual skills and talents and ensured that everyone had the same level of responsibilities. We ended up finishing the project early and won an award for it.'
10. Do you have any questions for me?
Employers will ask this at the end of a sales interview to determine how interested and keen you are on the job. Make a mental list of things you genuinely want to know about the job or organisation and ask these questions.
Sample answer: 'Yes, I have two questions. Firstly, is there an opportunity to work my way up in this company over time? Secondly, who will I report to if I am successful in getting the job?'
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