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Business Development Representative Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Marcie is the principal and founder of CopyHawk, a company that offers editing, writing, and career coaching services. She loves to revamp client resumes so they can land the job of their dreams.

Question 1 of 30

Let's say that you miss your monthly quota. What will you do?

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Business Development Representative Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Let's say that you miss your monthly quota. What will you do?

      Business development representatives live and breathe their quotas. The interviewer will want to know that you proactively monitor your performance every day and that if something seems off, you'll immediately make changes so that you can continue to meet and exceed your quotas. Show that you are willing to ask for help if needed.

      Marcie's Answer

      "First of all, this has never happened to me before! I always meet or surpass whatever quotas I have. However, one reason I am able to stay ahead of them is because I continually monitor my performance and metrics every day so the minute something starts to go awry, I can adjust my strategy and change its trajectory. In some cases, I might make more calls or change the timing of them; in others, I might brush up on my knowledge of the product or initiate more training from my manager. Ultimately, it's a matter of staying aware of what's happening and making changes if necessary to ensure I'm consistently hitting my numbers."

  2. 2.

    What CRM software are you comfortable using?

      It's common for sales teams to use CRM software to track contacts and deals, forecast sales, and automate tasks like sending emails. The interviewer will be looking for you to be knowledgeable in this area. List any CRM programs that you are familiar with, and explain that you understand the importance of using them. If you have never used any CRM programs in the past, tell the interviewer that you are a quick learner, tech savvy, and adaptable.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Within my current role, I use an internal CRM platform that the company created. The platform allows me to record all the calls I make and what the status is for each prospect. I really appreciate how easy it also makes it for me to keep track of follow-ups; this way no one ever falls through the cracks, and I know when to call them again. In addition, I use this internal admin to send out boilerplate emails. It really helps make my job easier, and I like that it tracks who on our team is making the most calls and closing the most demos, etc. This kind of information keeps me motivated and helps me to set personal targets. Outside of this internal CRM platform, I haven't used any others yet; however, I'm fully confident that I can quickly learn a new program if needed."

  3. 3.

    What are some common objections you think you'll hear from prospects? How will you handle them?

      It's important that business development representatives be aware of common complaints or objections they might receive from prospects so they are prepared to combat them. Prior to the interview, think through some of the scenarios you might encounter when contacting prospective clients so you can tell the interviewer how you will handle them.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Right off the bat, I think that the most common push-back I'll receive when making calls to prospects is that they are busy. Given that I'll be contacting traders and people in the investment world, many times they will be pressed for time, especially during earnings season. To combat this, first I will time my calls as much as I can to be during less-busy periods. This means that sometimes I will place calls early in the morning or after work hours in the late afternoon. I will try to work around their schedules as much as possible. If I do reach someone during a busy moment, I will be as accomodating as possible and offer to call them back at a better time. I will set a specific date and time and send them a calendar invite so we definitely speak again. Another common objection might be that they don't know our company or what we do. To tackle this, I will have a quick few sentences at the ready that explain what we do and how it will benefit them. Over time, I will develop strategies to overcome many common objections that I receive from prospects."

  4. 4.

    How do you handle rejection?

      Business development representatives need to be able to handle rejection because they will face it on a daily basis. The interviewer wants to know that you are resilient and persistent. If possible, talk about a time when you successfully dealt with rejection. Show the interviewer that you didn't give up.

      Marcie's Answer

      "By nature, I am the type of person who perseveres, even when the going gets tough. Rather than being defeated when I encounter a difficulty, I rise to the challenge and enjoy working hard to tackle and conquer it. During college, I worked part-time in a call center making outbound sales calls. Many of my colleagues would become burnt out after being hung up on and cursed out multiple times a day. While I didn't necessarily enjoy that part of the job either, I chose to view these responses as a challenge. Every day I tried to hit a certain number of positive responses, and if I got a lot of hang ups, I would increase the number of calls I was making to ensure I hit my number. I taught myself not to take negative responses personally, and I rewarded myself at the end of the day with something I enjoyed if I hit my target."

  5. 5.

    How do you handle objections?

      There will be times when a prospect objects to your claims. They might think that a competitor's service is better and say so, or they might push back on the statistics you have cited. The interviewer wants to know that you will be able to alleviate any concerns that the prospect raises. If possible, give the interviewer an example of a time when you successfully managed the objections a prospect threw at you.

      Marcie's Answer

      "If you hire me and we move forward, before making any calls I will talk to your current salespeople to find out what the common objections are that they hear from prospects. This way I can be prepared with rebuttals in mind before I even make my first call. At my last job, an objection I frequently heard from prospects was that the service was too expensive. Since we offered a subscription-based service, I was able to offer varying subscription lengths and tiers to alleviate some of the issues around cost for people. I also heard from a lot of prospects that they didn't have the authority to purchase the service themselves. When this became a recurring problem, I collaborated with my team to figure out better ways to make sure we were targeting the decision-makers at these companies."

  6. 6.

    Do you like to talk on the phone?

      A large part of a business development representative's day is spent on the phone leaving voicemails and talking to prospects. The interviewer will only be interested in candidates who enjoy being on the phone so you'll want to indicate that this is the case. Someone who doesn't like or feel comfortable being on the phone will not be a good fit for this position.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Not only do I enjoy being on the phone, I just like to talk in general! I consider myself friendly and personable. I'm someone who likes to meet and learn about new people, so I really enjoy reaching out to people I don't know, introducing myself, and getting to know them. I also like the challenge of figuring out what someone's pain points at work are and determining how I can help them. I'm fully comfortable with the idea of spending multiple hours a day on the phone leaving messages and chatting with prospects."

  7. 7.

    What can you tell me about our company?

      Any good business development representative researches a prospective client before reaching out to them. The interviewer wants to make sure that, similarly, you've done some research on their company prior to being interviewed. If you show that you are well informed about the company and industry, the interviewer will know that you are serious about getting the job and that, once hired, you will do your research on prospects as well.

      Marcie's Answer

      "When I saw your job ad on LinkedIn, I already knew of your company because its great reputation in the industry precedes it. I've also personally looked into the services your company offers before because they interest me. So right off the bat, I knew of your company, but naturally before I came to meet with you, I did some serious due diligence. Beyond the services you offer, I am very attracted to the innovative, fun, hard-working culture that your company offers. I also follow several of the higher-level professionals in your company on social media; I value their expertise and would love the opportunity to work with them."

  8. 8.

    Did you work throughout college?

      The interviewer will likely ask a question like this one if you are a recent college graduate. They are looking to find out more about your work ethic and the lessons you learned from holding down a job. You want to show that you are committed, hard-working, and reliable, in addition to being personable and resilient. If you didn't work throughout college, talk about another activity or extracurricular that required sacrifice and dedication on your part.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Outside of some short-term gigs that I temporarily held throughout college, I primarily didn't work because of my focus instead on my studies and playing on the university soccer team. Playing any sport at college-level is a huge time commitment, and it's something I had to juggle with my academic schedule. But I did because I loved playing the sport and being a part of a team. I would wake up early every day to work out with my teammates for a few hours, then attend classes and study throughout the day, before going to regular practice in the late afternoon for several hours. I generally spent evenings attending study groups or studying individually. When there were games, I had to juggle even more. Playing on the team required a great deal of sacrifice, but I stuck with it out of loyalty to my teammates and because of a love for the sport. I learned the value of hard work and persistence, both of which will allow me to succeed within this role."

  9. 9.

    Let's imagine that one day you end up in a conflict with one of your colleagues. How will you handle this?

      As a business development representative, you will work on a team that likely meets on a daily basis and shares common goals. It's also possible that your manager will encourage some healthy competition between yourself and your teammates in order to motivate people to close demos and deals. At some point, you might end up in a conflict with someone else. Explain to the interviewer how you will effectively handle this.

      Marcie's Answer

      "If I end up in a disagreement with someone else, the first thing I will do is ask to meet with them privately so we can each share our perspectives. I will strive to actively listen so I can understand their opinions and feelings. If I owe someone an apology, I'll be quick to say I'm sorry so we can move on. In general, though, I'd focus on finding a compromise so that we each feel that our needs have been met. If we're unable to come to a resolution ourselves, I would approach our manager and ask for their input."

  10. 10.

    How do you organize and prioritize your daily workload?

      It's very important that a business development representative be organized and able to prioritize their workload. Talk to the interviewer about the methods you use to remain organized, which might include using a CRM program to keep track of the calls you make, a calendar to mark down important dates, and email invites to help ensure prospects keep their appointments with you. Explain how you keep from becoming overwhelmed.

      Marcie's Answer

      "There are times within my current role when things get really busy. Since I work for an investment research company, earnings season is a big deal when it rolls around. It impacts the timing of the calls I make, how prospects react to being unexpectedly contacted, and more. To account for this, I rely heavily on my Google calendar. In advance, I mark down when earnings season is so I'm never caught off-guard and know when I have to switch the timing of my call blocks. I also use our internal CRM platform to keep track of the calls I make every day. I write down a quick note about the prospect within the CRM system at the end of all calls, and if I schedule a demo or on-site appointment, I always email out a calendar invite so the appointment goes on both my calendar and theirs. In terms of prioritization, every morning I meet with my team and we discuss team-wide priorities, which helps to determine how I will structure my day and what prospects I will focus on. Using these various organizational and prioritization methods allows me to stay on track, efficient, and calm."

  11. 11.

    How do you get past gatekeepers to reach new prospects?

      Since business development representatives engage with prospects in the early stages of the sales funnel, they frequently talk to gatekeepers like receptionists and administrative assistants. There will be times when the gatekeeper might not allow you or your message to get through to the prospect you're targeting. Talk to the interviewer about the techniques you use to help ensure you can get past the gatekeepers.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I believe it's most important to earn the trust of the gatekeeper, in addition to being a nice person. I've found that if I am respectful and friendly it goes a long way. I also make sure that I come across as informative and helpful because the gatekeeper is protecting the prospect, so if the gatekeeper knows I have valuable information or something that will help their boss, many times they will pass along my message because they believe it will be beneficial to them. If the gatekeeper thinks I'm just a telemarketer, forget it. I also try to look the gatekeeper up on LinkedIn prior to the call too, if I know who they are. Having some information about them makes it easier for me to build a rapport and gain their trust. Finally, if they are preventing me from getting in touch with the prospect altogether, I try to see if I can skip over them by contacting someone else who is above them."

  12. 12.

    Why do you like sales? Why do you want to be a salesperson?

      The interviewer is looking to find out why the sales profession interests you. This is a good opportunity for you to talk about the aspects of sales that you like and why this career path is the right one for you. You might mention that you enjoy talking to and helping people find solutions to their business problems, that you like the challenge of meeting and exceeding your quotas, or that earning commissions motivates you to work hard.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I know there's the old stereotype of the somewhat sleazy car salesman, but I see sales in a whole different way. To me, I see it as a chance to help people find solutions to their problems. Sometimes they aren't even aware that they have a problem! But I help them identify it and then provide them with a product or service that will resolve the issue for them. I thoroughly enjoy doing that for people. I'm also driven by nature and love the challenge of closing as many demos or deals as I can in order to earn more money. I know that within this role I can succeed because I have everything it takes."

  13. 13.

    What skills does a great salesperson possess?

      The key to answering this question is to relate the skills that you cite to yourself. You'll want to talk about how salespeople need to be effective communicators, exceptional problem-solvers, active listeners, and strong negotiators, in addition to being empathetic, personable, and able to manage their time. Tell the interviewer that you are all these things and, if possible, provide examples of times when you've displayed these attributes.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I think that salespeople, in particular, need to be great communicators and personable. After all, the name of the game is getting a prospect on the phone and building a rapport with them so they trust you and ultimately want to buy your product or schedule a demo to learn more. This is why I'm in sales - because I love doing this and excel at it. I also think that salespeople need to be quick and out-of-the-box thinkers who really listen to the prospect so that they can uncover their pain points and offer helpful solutions. Recently, I talked to a prospect whose company was spending a ton of time trying to analyze SEC filings in order to make investment decisions; I recognized that the company I worked for had a product that would eliminate this time suck and was able to schedule a demo with the prospect after explaining how this would solve his problem."

  14. 14.

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

      Interviewers like to know that the person they decide to hire isn't going to up and leave after a year. They ask this question to get a sense of whether you plan to stay long-term with the company or not. Your answer will also show them how serious you are about sales.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I'm early on in my career, but by this point, I am certain that sales is the right path for me. I am resilient and outgoing by nature, and I love to talk on the phone. I don't give up easily or take things personally. I also like to lead others and gained some experience doing that in college. So I'm happy cutting my teeth at the junior level right now, but in five years I would hope to have moved up in the sales ranks and have begun mentoring those below me. Eventually, I'd like to be promoted to a sales manager role."

  15. 15.

    How do you measure success?

      Most business development representatives measure their success using quantitative metrics, like the number of demos and on-site appointments scheduled or hitting a certain revenue goal. If you've previously measured your work in this way, tell the interviewer about it. Talk about what motivates you and how you aim to exceed expectations.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Being analytical by nature, I always use metrics to measure my success at work. I like that this method isn't subjective. The metrics can vary depending on the job, but once I know what's expected of me, I always work to surpass those expectations. For example, at my last job, I was in charge of setting up demo calls with prospects for senior sales. I had a certain number of calls I had to make daily and a target number of demos that I needed to schedule. I was consistently one of the leading BDRs in scheduling demos that converted into paying customers, and if I wasn't able to hit my target demo number after making all my required calls for the day, I would frequently make extra calls in order to hit that number."

  16. 16.

    Sell me this pen.

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  17. 17.

    Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.

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  18. 18.

    How will you structure your day?

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  19. 19.

    Tell me about a sale you helped close or lose.

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  20. 20.

    What type of management style do you prefer?

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  21. 21.

    Are you comfortable making cold calls?

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  22. 22.

    What do you do if a prospect goes dark?

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  23. 23.

    How would you handle a difficult prospect?

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  24. 24.

    What would you do if a prospect asked you about one of our competitors?

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  25. 25.

    How would you go about researching a prospect?

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  26. 26.

    Talk about a time when you had to get really good at a skill. How did you do this?

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  27. 27.

    Tell me about a time when you dealt with a challenge. What motivated you to keep going?

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  28. 28.

    Have you ever worked in a customer service role before? If so, what did you like and dislike about it?

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  29. 29.

    Do you consider yourself a team player?

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  30. 30.

    Why do you want to sell our product/service?

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