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Alcoholic Beverages Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Tell me about the products available from Company ABC. How familiar are you with our products?

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Alcoholic Beverages Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about the products available from Company ABC. How familiar are you with our products?

      You must have a firm understanding of the products you will be representing before your interview. Company ABC offers a range of products and you should be able to list off quite a few of them. The more you know, the more you are showing engagement and interest in the role.

      Talk to the interviewer about the products that you have tried, the ones you like the most, and the ones that you look forward to trying. Confirm your ability and interest in learning new products.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have tried many Company ABC products, including (A), (B), and (C). I find your products to be premium to anything else on the market. I believe your products to be superior in many ways and will have no trouble selling in the (D) and (E) markets. I see that you launch new products every year, which is exciting! I look forward to seeing the innovative products that come from Company ABC next."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have gone to Company ABC products as my top beverage brand choice for many years! Your products are versatile; especially (A), and (B). I will quickly learn your range of products and will proudly represent them!"

  2. 2.

    How can Company ABC motivate you on the job?

      Many people find motivation through financial perks, bonus opportunities, words of encouragement, or the chance for promotion and career growth. The interviewer wants to know how to keep your motivational levels high, ensuring that you are productive on the job. Discuss what keeps you motivated, even on days that do not offer a ton of excitement or activity.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Friendly competition is always a great motivator for me, even if its competition against myself such as beating my best weeks' sales numbers. A friendly yet competitive environment allows me to have a fun and new goal to look forward to even on days that may not be as action-packed."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I live for new opportunities and chances to gain promotion or career growth. I am newer to my career, and I want to grow and prove what I can do, so any opportunities related to career growth are highly motivating for me."

  3. 3.

    Being an account rep for Company ABC is a very independent role. How well do you work with little supervision?

      Depending on your role with Company ABC you could be on the road a lot, driving to visit clients which could include liquor stores, restaurants, hotels, or corporate accounts. This independence means that you need to be very communicative and organized.

      If you have worked in an environment that offers little supervision in the past, this question is an excellent opportunity to mention this experience. The interviewer wants to see that you can be productive and accountable for your time.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "As a territory account manager, I am accustomed to very little supervision. I spend Mondays in the office and most other days on the road, on the phone, and making site visits. To keep myself accountable for my work and performance, I am sure to be highly communicative and keep up-to-date documentation in our shared CRM. I set goals and mark myself against those goals at the end of every single day."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I currently work in a close-knit office. There is a lot of supervision, as my desk is just feet away from my direct manager. With that said, I am very diligent and have never had an issue with being self-led and independent. Regardless of the level of supervision, I always exceed expectations."

  4. 4.

    How would you go about developing and nurturing a new client account?

      The interviewer wants to understand your sales process, how you build rapport with your clients, and how you ensure a great relationship with all of your accounts. Talk about the way that you approach new clients, how you get to know their needs before making product suggestions or asking for a sale.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I must understand their business, customer demographics, and existing products before ever making recommendations or asking for a sale. I go in person when approaching a new client account. I introduce myself, offer free samples of my product, and ask them about their business and customers. Being inquisitive and allowing the business owner to do most of the talking is a significant factor in rapport building."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "When approaching a new prospect, I would be sure to show them that I have done my research on their business. I look at who the owners are and if they own other businesses, what the demographics are within a 3-mile radius, and more. I will visit the store as a customer and take note of the stock they give priority placement to in their store. Once I am ready with an idea of how my product can benefit them, then I will approach with my sales pitch."

  5. 5.

    What is the difference between on-premise and off-premise sales?

      On-premise and off-premise sales are terms that you will come across often in the alcoholic beverages industry. On-premise sales mean direct to consumer sales for consumption. On-premise establishments would be bars and restaurants, for instance. Off-premise sales would be if you sold to liquor stores and other retailers. Take a couple of minutes to show the interviewer that you understand the difference between the two and that you know basic industry lingo.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have sold in the alcoholic beverage industry for a few years; in both on-premise and off-premise sales. For on-premise sales, I sold craft beer for a local brewery, direct to bars and restaurants. When working off-premise, I sold various liquor products to independently owned retail liquor stores."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My experience in the industry has been strictly off-premise sales, meaning that I have sold to retailers such as liquor stores. I am eager to learn more about on-premise sales as I feel it would be an even greater challenge to sell directly to restaurants and bars."

  6. 6.

    What is the most significant contribution you have made to your current company?

      The interviewer at Company ABC wants to see that you are a team player who strives to meet and exceed corporate goals. Think about a time when you took an action that improved a process, helped out your teammates, or helped to grow your company's bottom line. Keep your story to the point and be sure to include actual numbers and results that the interviewer will be able to remember.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In my current team, I had the pleasure of introducing some new cold calling techniques. I now teach these techniques to every new salesperson that we hire. I teach a 'questioning' approach where the conversation focuses' on how our product can help the end-user, encourage more profitability for the prospect, and enable them to succeed. This approach is very different from the pushy sell we see typically see in cold-calling. Since introducing this technique, our cold-call-to-conversion rate has increased a whopping 33%."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "In my spirits department, I am the only one with food and beverage experience. I have made it my mission to create educational materials to help our team better understand the benefits and features of our products. Being armed with this information ensures that everyone feels more confident when discussing new product launches or selling our existing product line. Our sales have increased by 12% this year. Much of this success is due to our team possessing greater product knowledge and enthusiasm for what they are selling."

  7. 7.

    Walk me through your experience with CRM software. With which programs are you most experienced?

      A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management tool that helps you to organize your customer data and track the actions that you need to take, to nurture accounts. Think of the names of all software and programs that you have used in your current or previous positions. Think about the features that you used and how the system helped you to better perform at work.

      Some of the most popular CRMs in North America include Oracle, HubSpot, Zoho, Salesforce, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics. If you are not sure of the system used at Company ABC you can certainly ask!

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I understand two different CRM programs which include Oracle and Salesforce. My previous companies were enterprise-level organizations, requiring strong CRM support and options. I would rank my skills in these systems as an 8 out of 10. Could you share with me the CRM you use at Company ABC?"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Being new to my career, my exposure to a CRM is limited; however, I would be happy to get a head-start on my learning if you would like to share with me which CRM you use. I pick up on new tech and systems very quickly."

  8. 8.

    How do you plan to drive the performance of Company ABC brands over your first 90 days?

      The performance of Company ABC products should be one of the most critical concerns for you. Discuss how you will contribute to the performance of their brands and products during the first three months of your employment. Chances are, you will be on a 90-day probationary period, so it's especially critical that you have a plan for success.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In the first 90 days of employment at Company ABC I plan to call on every existing account given to me and book a time to meet with the client. I will take the time to discover what I could do to improve their service and gain more of their business. I will reach out to my existing network and drum up at least five new accounts, ensuring that I exceed my sales targets as soon as possible."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Besides cold calling and spending a fair amount of my time prospecting new business, I will also dedicate myself to fast-track my training. My success will depend greatly on my product knowledge, so I plan to take additional time studying and learning every SKU under the Company ABC brand."

  9. 9.

    This position aside, which department of Company ABC are you most interested in gaining experience?

      The interviewer wants to know where your interest is, aside from the position for which you are currently interviewing. The best employees are often the ones who understand the ins and outs of more than just their job function.

      Perhaps you want to learn more about research and development, marketing, human resources, data and analytics, talent acquisition, or even finance. Express to the interviewer that you have an interest in getting to know Company ABC and their overall operation.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Aside from this sales-based position, I would love to have a peek inside how product research and development work with Company ABC. I have a curiosity and keen interest in the process that goes into deciding which products make it to market, and which ones are scrapped."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My educational background is in Marketing. I would love to get to know more about the marketing process at Company ABC. It would be exciting to learn how product launches are born and executed."

  10. 10.

    What are POS materials, and how can you best leverage them to boost sales?

      POS materials, or Point of Sale materials, are highly essential marketing tools that showcase and present products, generally at checkout. POS materials attract consumer attention and promote the brand or product.

      POS materials are usually informative and eye-catching to encourage impulse purchases. Show the interviewer that you know how to leverage POS materials, ensuring Company ABC product always performs to its highest potential.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have a great deal of experience with POS materials. I visit my accounts frequently and place my products in the best position possible, to optimize sales potential. Some tools that I have used include shelf-talkers, brightly colored price tags, promotional stands, and wrap-around banners. In my current role, these POS materials, when placed strategically, have increased sales by up to 22% in some months."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I understand POS materials to be the tools used at checkout, or the point of sale, to attract buyers to make impulse purchases. The POS materials that catch my attention the most are informative or humorous and brightly colored. Could you share with me the types of POS materials that perform the best for Company ABC?"

  11. 11.

    Are you comfortable selling products that come with health-related warning labels?

      Company ABC does it's best to ensure its products are premium, and available only to those of legal drinking age. Regardless, the truth is that alcohol comes with a warning label in most regions. These warnings include not to drink during pregnancy, that drinking impairs your driving, and heavy drinking can cause health problems. Talk to the interviewer about your level of comfortability in selling products that come with a health warning.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I believe that most things are fine to be enjoyed, in moderation. Alcohol can be terrible for you if you misuse it. I will ensure that my customers are knowledgable in how Company ABC products are best enjoyed."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have researched Company ABC products, your company's demographic, and also your marketing approaches. Many industries have products that come with health-related warning labels, so this is a non-issue for me. So long as people drink responsibly, and do not drive after drinking, I see no issue."

  12. 12.

    Tell me about a time when you retained a customer who wanted to cancel their order.

      This customer-service based question will show the interviewer how you handle challenging customer issues. Now is the time for you to showcase your approach when it comes to retaining customers and meeting your sales goals. It's essential to be able to save a sale! Show the interviewer that you can represent the company while ensuring that your clients get what they need.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I was able to gain a lot of training and experience early in my career, related to saving a sale before the customer churns. I understand that losing a customer is not just a one-time financial hit, but a loss of recurring revenue. I had a customer who wanted to cancel 50% of their product order. They believed the product did not move fast enough, and their profit margin was too low. I spent time in their business to see how product moved and was able to customize a plan for them. This customization included the same spend but different products I believed their customers would enjoy. I kept close follow up with the customer over the three months following the change, and they were thrilled with the results. They were profiting more, and I was able to increase their spend over the following months."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "In my first retail-based job, I had a customer who had buyers' remorse the following day and wanted to return their entire purchase. I asked a couple of questions regarding why they no longer wanted the product. After asking questions, I realized that it was a financial issue for the customer. I asked them if they were aware of our layaway program. I walked the customer through the layaway process and was able to save the sale. It felt great to accomplish this goal while also ensuring that my customer was happy with their purchase at the end of the day."

  13. 13.

    How did you develop your largest existing account, in your current position?

      Think about a time when you made a significant difference to your current employer by nurturing and growing a critical client account. In sales, your existing accounts offer considerable opportunities, so you must be able to maximize the relationships that you currently have. Share a success story from your current position, being sure to share numbers and percentages when available and appropriate.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "With my largest account, the majority of my success has come from getting to know their needs, and being available to them when they need me. I am genuine and take the time to get to know their business. I understand what their biggest pain points are and how my products can offer them higher profit margins than competing brands. My largest account has grown by 40% this year simply due to my personal approach and ability to help them make sense of the numbers."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I want to learn everything that I can when it comes to winning and growing large accounts. As a retail sales professional, I have clients who spend a lot of money, sometimes upwards of $5,000 per transaction, but they are rarely returning customers. I look forward to changing industries where I can learn more about customer relationships and nurturing accounts."

  14. 14.

    Company ABC has a very competitive employment offer. What do you know about our offering?

      Before attending an interview, you must research and understand what Company ABC offers in the way of benefits, employee perks, and more. You may not have every detail; however, most companies will give you some information on their careers page. Show that you have done your homework before the interview and come prepared to discuss what excites you the most.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In addition to advertising your competitive salaries, I see that Company ABC also offers holiday bonus', a 401k savings plan, medical and dental, and more. Your compensation packages sound very generous, and I especially look forward to hearing more about your tuition reimbursement program."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I researched your careers site quite extensively and understand that you offer reward and recognition programs, quarterly bonus opportunities, holiday bonus' and more. I am thrilled to see that there are so many opportunities present at Company ABC to prove myself and be eligible for payment based on a stellar performance."

  15. 15.

    If you could change one thing about Company ABC marketing, what would it be?

      It's time to take a look at the marketing efforts of Company ABC with a critical yet open eye. Of course, you don't want to answer this question by completely knocking down their marketing efforts, and offering a thousand ways they could change.

      What the interviewer is looking for is an insightful suggestion on how they could boost their marketing efforts in one specific area. Perhaps you think they could be more active on social media, or you know of a new advertising avenue Company ABC could benefit from.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have seen a lot of popular brands advertising on Spotify. I think Spotify could be a fascinating new avenue to look into when it comes to Company ABC marketing efforts. I like the commercials that I see and hear on television and radio; however, I believe that other digital approaches could be more lucrative and less expensive for Company ABC."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I enjoy the advertising efforts of Company ABC and find the messaging to be consistent and well thought out. If I could add to your marketing efforts I would suggest adding more drink recipes onto IGTV, showing bartenders making fun cocktails with your products."

  16. 16.

    Company ABC promotes the choice to drink responsibly. What does this mean to you?

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  17. 17.

    Are you aware of some of the awards won by Company ABC recently?

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  18. 18.

    How can a liquor brand best influence a customer at the point of purchase?

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  19. 19.

    This position requires extensive travel. Are you able to travel at least 60% of the time?

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  20. 20.

    Walk me through your sales experience and training.

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  21. 21.

    What are some challenges the liquor industry will face in the next three years?

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  22. 22.

    The liquor industry is highly regulated. How will you stay up to date on the rules and regulations of our industry?

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  23. 23.

    What stage of the sales cycle do you find most challenging?

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  24. 24.

    How do you balance managing your existing liquor accounts while also searching for new business opportunities?

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  25. 25.

    How do you prefer to be managed?

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  26. 26.

    How important is it to be persuasive when working in a retail sales-based industry?

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  27. 27.

    Describe your personality to me. Will your references agree when I call them?

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  28. 28.

    Company ABC has a healthy diversity plan in place. In which ways do you embrace diversity and inclusion?

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  29. 29.

    What does exceptional client service mean to you?

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  30. 30.

    To which Company ABC competitors are you applying?

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