35 Sales Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 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.

To fulfil a role as a sales representative, it's important that you show your employment history and skill set during the hiring phase. An interview is an opportunity for you to show the employer that you're the ideal fit for the position. By exploring possible questions, you can deliver an impressive interview performance. In this article, we provide 35 examples of sales interview questions and discuss tips to help you prepare for your appointment with a potential employer.

General sales interview questions

Here are examples of general interview questions the hiring manager may use to initiate or guide the conversation during the interview:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What do you know about the company?

  • Why do you want to work for us?

  • Why do you want to leave your current position?

  • What responsibility in the job description excited you the most?

  • What are your short-term career goals?

  • What are your long-term career goals?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • In three words, how would your former supervisor describe you?

Interview questions about sales experience and background

The employer may ask you questions to encourage you to elaborate on the qualifications from your CV. They can show the interviewer that you can be a competent employee. Here's a list of examples:

  • What previous experience do you have working in the sales industry?

  • What products have you sold at your previous jobs?

  • What education or training have you undergone that makes you qualified for this job?

  • Name technology that you can use proficiently.

  • What seasons have you experienced the greatest sales success?

  • Tell me about a time you took initiative in your role.

  • What's your favourite part about working in sales? Why?

  • What's your least favourite part about working in sales? Why?

  • Describe your process for making a sale.

  • How do you manage your time during your workday?

In-depth interview questions for a sales position

In-depth questions are opportunities for you to deliver specific examples of your professional experience, showing the employer your passion for the industry. Examples include:

  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker. How did you resolve the conflict?

  • Describe your proudest work accomplishment.

  • When do you feel the most comfortable selling a product?

  • If hired, what do you expect to accomplish in the first 30 days of your employment?

  • Explain when your work had a measurable impact on a company.

  • What motivates you to perform well at your job?

  • How receptive are you to feedback from your manager or peers?

  • What's the greatest career advice you've ever received?

  • How comfortable are you working as a member of a team?

  • Tell me about your ideal work environment.

Sales interview questions with sample answers

Review the following questions and sample answers to help you prepare for your interview for a sales position:

1. Tell me about a challenging sale you made. How did you ultimately convince the customer?

The purpose of this inquiry may be to assess your ability to overcome dilemmas in the workplace, such as prospects who initially resist your sales pitch. Use your response to illustrate your adaptability skills. You can also use specific details so the interviewer can visualise the situation and the positive result.

Example: "I was selling sunscreen, and I encountered a prospect who had never purchased an SPF product. She said she was disinterested because she believed sunscreens had weird fragrances and left an unpleasant white cast once applied on the skin. I spent the second half of our conversation explaining why my product was different. I mentioned how the company has tested the product on diverse complexions, and it left a glowing application that blended well with the skin. I demonstrated using the product on my own skin. She bought two bottles."

Related: Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips To Get the Job

2. What soft skill is the most important for making a sale?

Soft skills can enable you to form connections with your customers and persuade them to make a purchase. The interviewer may pose this question to appraise how you prioritise relationship-building in your sales techniques. Identify an attribute that has been successful for you in the past and explain how it complemented your hard skills.

Example: "I believe interpersonal communication is the most valuable soft skill for a sales representative. When I first meet a customer, I search for a commonality between us to start a conversation. I understand how to explain the product so they can understand its benefits. Active listening is another interpersonal skill that I use. It not only allows me to show the customer that I value their opinions, but I can identify ways to connect with them deeper by hearing them speak. I believe my communication competence is most instrumental in my success as an employee."

3. What technical skills do you want to learn?

Demonstrating your commitment to learning can reflect positively on you as a job candidate. The employer may appreciate that you've contemplated how to improve your skills and that you're taking the measures to become a more competent professional. Think about a software application or sales tool, for example, that can enable you to exercise your job duties more efficiently. Consider describing why you believe gaining this skill can benefit your sales knowledge.

Example: "I want to learn how to use an information management software. Now that I'm pursuing leadership positions in sales, I know using technology can help me better document my progress toward sales goals. I can also monitor and document trends in the industry and keep abreast of customer feedback from the products. I strive to understand how to navigate the database and store and interpret data. Learning to use the software excites me about the prospect of working for this company. I'm open to changing my usual approach to reflect advances in technology and ultimately boost my sales performance."

Related: Guide: How To Get a Job Fast

4. Explain a time when a customer declined to buy the product. What could have you done differently?

Show the employer that you can learn from your mistakes. Remember to provide context about the type of product you were selling and the prospect's reaction to your persuasive technique. You can mention the lessons you learned from the experience to demonstrate your self-awareness and receptiveness to feedback. It may also be beneficial to discuss how you applied the feedback to future interactions.

Example: "I identified a business that would benefit from our magazine subscription. My team and I made it to the final phase, and we emphasised the affordable price for the subscription, but the business chose to purchase from the competitor. If I could make the sale again, I would concentrate on the prospect's concern, which was the frequency of the subscription. I would explain that we offered exclusive articles with industry professionals, and the magazines we sold were twice as long as competitors.

Now I concentrate my sales pitch on the questions the prospect asks about our product to appeal to their interests more. I also pay attention to competitors to devise strategies to exceed them. I've successfully made business-to-business sales since this situation."

Related: Show Hiring Managers That You're Ready to Work

5. What strategies would you implement to help the company reach our sales goals?

The hiring manager may pose this question to assess your knowledge of the company and its products. Contemplate the information you gathered when researching the employer before the interview. Make sure your criticism is constructive, and consider explaining techniques that apply directly to your expertise, showing the interviewer you can be an asset.

Example: "I recommend assigning sales quotas that reflect the individual skill set of every member of the sales team. Since your workforce has grown exponentially this year, I believe it would be helpful to increase the expectations as the representatives gain more experience. They may feel more confident in their abilities, which may motivate them to perform better and help the company increase its sales. The team can also benefit from reading testimonials from customers. I've implemented a similar policy in a previous position, and I discovered my teammates were more successful when they worked at their own pace."

Related: How To Overcome 4 Common Job Search Barriers

Tips to prepare for a sales interview

Here are additional guidelines to help you make a positive impression on the employer during your interview:

  • Research the company. Learning the history of the employer, the products it sells and its organisational culture can help you anticipate the type of questions the interviewer may ask.

  • Reread your application materials. The hiring manager may use your resume and sales portfolio to create questions for the interview. Review your job application and channel the employer's perspective to predict what information they may want to know about your background.

  • Participate in a mock interview. A mock interview is an opportunity for you to respond to interview questions in a formal setting and receive feedback on how to enhance your performance.

  • Practice delivering your answers. It's important that your answers are specific and concise. Consider preparing them in advance so you can communicate your credentials effectively.

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