Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Work in Sales?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 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.

The sales department of any company is vital to its success, so getting the chance to interview for a position is an exciting opportunity. The interview process for a sales position allows you to make a brilliant first impression and show the hiring manager the skills, abilities and basic knowledge you offer the company. This process is more straightforward when you prepare for the interview from the hiring manager's perspective.

In this article, we share the reason employers ask "Why do you want to work in sales?", learn the skills typically required to work in sales, review how to answer this question and discover examples you can use to create personalised answers during your interview.

Related: How to Prepare for an Interview

Why employers ask "Why do you want to work in sales?"

Seeing as the sales department performs a key role in its growth, hiring managers may ask you, "Why do you want to work in sales?" to make sure you possess the ability to have a positive impact. They want to see that your methods of communicating the value of the firm's products align with their objectives. Your response to this question is the first chance you have to set yourself apart from the rest of the interviewing candidates. You can do this by highlighting your experience in sales.

You can also make a difference by talking about any rare strengths or certifications you possess. It's also important to note that talking about the history of your passion for sales can increase your chances of getting a job offer. Using real-life examples, success stories and anecdotes to illustrate this passion is a fantastic way to keep the conversation engaging. Make sure these stories are relevant by tying them to why you want to work in sales and why you want to work at that company. You can do this by referring to the company's products and services.

Sales skills

To better understand how to answer questions about your interest in sales, it's essential that you fully know the skills required to work in sales. This understanding may help you portray your skills to the hiring manager. Here are some skills that can help you lead a successful career in sales:

Self-improvement skills

A job in sales requires constant improvement. Try to familiarise yourself with the latest methods of selling to customers. For example, if your job requires you to sell to customers in person, you can practise selling online to sharpen your skills.

Listening skills

In some scenarios, selling to a customer involves more speaking than listening, and while you may be proficient at speaking, you may consider sharpening your listening proficiency. The value of listening is vital in building trust with the customer. The customers themselves have the best understanding of their wants and needs, and so it's essential to listen carefully to have a more excellent account of this.

Attitude skills

Throughout your sales career, you may experience friction during a conversation with customers. Some customers are harder to understand and ultimately harder to sell to without a positive attitude. It is crucial to equip yourself with an attitude that comprises a high level of confidence and positivity through it all. Doing this requires a complete belief in yourself and the product you are selling. Once you have that, you can transfer this belief successfully to the customer and make a sale.

Storytelling skills

Storytelling is a skill you can work on if you want a company and its product or service to remain distinct in a customer's memory. A good story can appeal to a customer's emotions and encourage them to make a purchase. It also assists the customer in gaining a better understanding of how the product you're selling fixed a similar customer's problem and how it can improve their situation.

Negotiation skills

The closing stages of a sale require a few essential skills to ensure its success. A high-pressure negotiation can lead you to make errors that cost the company. Sharpening your negotiation skills may help you manoeuvre sales components, including discounts and payment plans.

How to talk about your interest in sales

When preparing to answer questions about your interest in sales, take time for self-reflection and create a list of reasons about the meaning of the position to you as a potential employee and your passion for the role. You may also prepare by practising with a friend or family member to determine the answers that fit your identity. Here are some steps you can use when responding to this crucial question:

1. Familiarise yourself with the company's products or services

If you perform adequate research on the company you're interviewing at before the interview, you may come across the products and services they offer. It's essential to gain some knowledge of the company's demographic. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the products and services offered can increase your chances of impressing the hiring manager.

2. Ensure you want to sell the company's products and services

After researching the company's background, your excitement about the products and services can determine how ready you are to answer the question. To do this successfully, change your perspective to the buying customer's own to help your thought process. Then think of how the products and services appeal to you. Most hiring managers can assess your body language to evaluate the appeal you have for their products and your readiness to sell them.

Related: Body Language Tips for a Job Interview

3. Provide scenarios that highlight your competitiveness in sales

Sales is an aspect of business that has easily trackable metrics such as total and average revenue, market penetration and lifetime value of a customer. The interviewer aims to find candidates that can help the company achieve great numbers in these metrics. If you can talk about scenarios in your history as a salesperson that showcases your competitive ability, you can increase your value as a potential candidate. You may also talk about sales competitions you might have competed in at your previous workplace and how the competition motivated you to achieve your personal and departmental sales goals.

4. Give the hiring manager an insight into your sales methods and their benefits

The abilities listed on your CV already show what you're capable of theoretically, but an interview is an opportunity to show the practical side of those abilities. Seeing as a company's primary goal regarding sales is to provide customers with a pleasurable experience, you may give real-world examples of how you delivered that experience in your previous sales roles. You can also provide them with some insight into how those examples can improve the company's growth and success.

Related: 21 Tips for Interviewers (Plus Five Interview Techniques)

Example answers

Here are some example responses you can use as inspiration when creating your own:

Example 1

This is an example answer to a question about your desire to work in sales that revolves around highlighting your previous job experience:

"I believe one of the key elements in making sales is providing excellent customer service. This is a quality I discovered during my research of your company's track record, and it is a quality I deeply admire. I have a decent amount of experience that allows me to contribute to the growth of the company's excellent customer service ethic. I also possess experience selling to your business' demographic, and I know how to create a wonderful customer experience. For example, in my previous sales position role, I led a team that created a campaign focusing on providing a superior customer experience."

Example 2

Answering this question may involve discussing your passion for the company's products. For example:

"I can see that one of your products makes a real difference in a nursing mother's life. From the reviews and testimonials I have come across, it is clear nursing mothers depend on your products to make up for the lack of sleep they get from their toddlers. It is important to me to sell products that I not only believe in but would sell to a friend or a family member."

Example 3

If you plan on discussing how your priorities align with the company's own, you can use a similar response to this example:

"I believe the sales department is a perfect fit for me because of my interpersonal skills and passion for providing an excellent customer experience. In previous sales roles, I have a good amount of experience working with people to solve many specific problems. Your company appeals to me because I can see that the customer experience is also your priority."

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