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Sales Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Sales interview, here are 20 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 20

Why are you interested in sales?

How to Answer

This question may seem simple, but sometimes these 'easy' ones can trip you up. Spend some time developing your 'why' so you can give a meaningful, truthful answer to this question. Share what motivates you and why you think sales is a good fit for you.

Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

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List of 20 Sales Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    Why are you interested in sales?

      How to Answer

      This question may seem simple, but sometimes these 'easy' ones can trip you up. Spend some time developing your 'why' so you can give a meaningful, truthful answer to this question. Share what motivates you and why you think sales is a good fit for you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

      1st Answer Example

      "I love being around people, and for as long as I can remember, I have been selling. From setting up lemonade stands as a kid to breaking records selling Girl Scout cookies to consistently winning sales contests at the department store I worked at in high school. I love the chase, the pitch, and the close. I form relationships quickly and naturally, which aids in my closing the sale. I feel it is the most natural fit for me in my career."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've thought a lot about what I want to be when I "grow up," and I have always come back to sales. I feel that my best qualities shine when I am looking to make a sale. I get excited, and I show my personality and bond easily with the prospect. I love figuring out how I can understand their needs and what will make them say "yes" to whatever it is I'm selling. Whether that's a special drink at the restaurant or an up-sell from the menu, I embrace the challenge. I know that I'm new to the career of sales in a professional sense, but having worked in a restaurant for so many years and consistently led the pack on sales contests, I know I find motivation through financial incentive. I'm competitive and driven, and that's something that I think pairs well with a successful career in sales."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Experienced

      "I have worked in sales for many years now, and it keeps my interest because every day brings a new challenge. No matter how great you are at sales, there will always be someone better, a bigger client to land, or a new product to learn. I love the variety, and it truly speaks to my competitive personality."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 2.

    Tell me what kind of manager gets the best work product from you.

      How to Answer

      Management style or personality can make or break a person at times, so it's important to be in a position where you'll work well with your direct supervisor and with the overall management hierarchy. Tread lightly here, but be honest. You don't want to talk yourself out of a job by potentially blasting your future manager's style, but you also want to be sure that you will be in a position to succeed if you're given the job, ideally with a management style that suits you.

      Some management styles include:

      - Authoritative
      - Directive
      - Affiliative
      - Participative
      - Pacesetting
      - Coaching

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "I currently have a manager who is very much a pacesetter. She is high energy and likes to motivate her team. Of all my managers, I have responded the best to her style. I seek to work for someone who is passionate about their job, their team, and achieving great successes."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level

      "I would like to work for a manager who takes a strong coaching and mentor-based approach. Being newer to my career, it is important to me that I work under someone who has an interest in developing me, professionally. Would you say this describes the management style here?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Experienced

      "I feel I do my best work when I have a supportive manager who also gives me a right amount of latitude to do my thing. When I feel supported and trusted to take care of my business, I do well. I have earned this latitude and don't take it for granted, and know it is a privilege given to me because of years of a strong track record. I seek the same sort of trust and latitude in my next opportunity."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 3.

    How often do you meet your sales goals?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for details on the successes in your sales career. Come to your interview prepared to discuss your sales targets, and results, over the past year or so. You need to be able to show the interviewer that you have a consistent record of winning! The more numbers and percentages you can offer, the better.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "I have tracked my sales weekly, for the past two years, and have records that I can show you as well. I perform consistently in the top 3 for my district, ranging from 98%-125% to goal. I am a high-achiever who always keeps my eye on the prize!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Entry Level

      "I like to pursue more than just the bare minimum, in everything that I do. Although I am new to my career, with little to show regarding hard sales numbers, my references will attest that I do everything in my power to win. Whether that be as the captain of my volleyball team, or handing in the best research paper possible, a day or so before my professor's deadline."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Experienced

      "Exceeding my sales goals is very important to me. I take my KPI's and exceed those first, which almost always results in me exceeding the financial targets set forth by my company. For instance, rather than performing 100 cold calls per week, I will perform 150. Instead of meeting the bare minimum for in-person current client visits, I will double the number. All of these actions ensure that I beat my targets nearly every week, by at least 20%."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 4.

    Are you comfortable making cold calls? Tell me about your exposure to making cold calls.

      How to Answer

      Cold calling is a part of many sales based positions and the best of the best sales professionals often still have to partake in the task. Cold calling gets a bad rap because it seems pushy, and a waste of time to some, but many sales organizations utilize this technique as the backbone of their sales process. Discuss any experience you have with cold calling, and talk about how many cold calls you have made on an average day if you know this number. Also, if you have numbers related to your cold call conversion rate, this is excellent information to have.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 5.

    Tell me how we can best motivate you.

      How to Answer

      The financial incentive motivates salespeople most often. But the interviewer is looking to hear if there are other proverbial carrots they can dangle to keep you excited. What drives you on the day to day? Is it a competition? A pat on the back? A collaborative environment? Talk about what makes you push through the daily grind in between the big paydays.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 6.

    Share your biggest sales success.

      How to Answer

      As a sales professional, it shouldn't be difficult for you to have a story or two about a time when you closed a great sale or won in a complicated negotiation. Be sure to have a success story in your back pocket at all times. The key here is being able to share the steps of how you were successful in a way that can be duplicated, ideally in your new role at the company with which you're interviewing.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 7.

    How do you best learn? What is the best way to train you?

      How to Answer

      Hiring, onboarding, and training is a costly, laborious process, so the interviewer wants to know that they'll be able to meet your needs for training within the parameters they have already set up as a company. There's no real 'right' answer here. Share how you prefer to learn and make it clear that you are adaptable and are willing to put in the hard work to be successful.

      Some methods of training include:

      - Field training
      - Sales theories and simulations
      - Book and resource-based training
      - One-on-one training
      - Group training
      - Classroom-based training
      - A third party, or external training
      - Script training
      - Roleplay
      - Mentor-based training

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

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  • 8.

    Tell me about a time you faced rejection. How did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      Sales positions are full of rejection, so the interviewer wants to know that you've faced rejection in the past and have overcome it. Share an example of a denial you've faced and how you overcame it. Choose a case that has a positive outcome and shows that you learned from the situation, and bounced back quickly.

      If this is your first sales position, share a relevant experience from your post-secondary experience, a volunteer role, or your athletics career. Perhaps you didn't get into your first choice university or make the soccer team. Whatever it is, show how you took the rejection in stride, learned, and moved on with gusto. Pivot back to how this life experience has taught you something and try to connect it very clear to your potential new sales role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 9.

    What do you consider an ideal sales job for you? *

      How to Answer

      It's crucial that you've read the job description carefully and give an answer that is both truthful but aligns with the position. You need to have gathered what your day will look like and how you'll get your prospects. Is this through an existing list, or are they all sought out by you? Know what type of sale it is (inside or outside? long sales cycle or short?) and what you're responsible for (cold calling or all warm leads?), so you describe a position that is in line with the one they're looking to fill.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 10.

    Would you cold call for a year if it meant you had a steady client list afterwards?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking to see if you'll put in the long hours of grunt work to reap the rewards of a stable business pipeline of business. People often focus on the wins of sales when talking about their career. For instance, the commission or the closing of a big account, and they will gloss over the hours and years of work it took to get to that point. It's vital that you show you know you're not going to 'phone it in' and have your career, customers, and commissions handed to you without a lot of sweat and hard work. With that said, answer honestly. Put your spin on it. Don't say, 'Yes, of course.' Give it some thought and make the answer truthful and accurate to you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

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  • 11.

    If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be and why?

      How to Answer

      Without complaining, or appearing to be negative, state what you'd change about your job now. Make sure you point out something that is not part of this potential new position, or you may be talking yourself out of a job! Be concise, as confident as possible without being phony, and include any lessons your current situation has taught you. It's important to end on a positive note and not sound as though you're whining or blaming. Be sure to discuss what you are doing to make the best of the situation.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 12.

    Tell me how you developed your largest existing account.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking to learn how you took a modest account and grew it into something sizable. Typically, the most significant opportunity lies in an existing account rather than new sales as far as ROI goes, so it's essential that you're able to sign a new client, get their business, and continue to extract more business from them. Share a success story about how you've done this in the past.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 13.

    What goals have you set for yourself this year?

      How to Answer

      Goal setting is especially important in a sales position as the majority of your compensation will likely come from commissions. Also, setting smart goals tells your interviewer that you are ambitious and goal-oriented, which is something they want in their new hire. Use this time to show them that you set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 14.

    Describe a situation when you negotiated terms with a tough customer.

      How to Answer

      This question may seem highly specific and could throw you off during the interview, but don't let it. Be prepared for precise situational questions. It's very likely you've had some experience negotiating or dealing with a demanding customer. If you have not, draw on a time that you had to settle with a difficult partner in a group project, a teammate, or a coach/professor.

      Be sure to share an instance that highlights your identification of the point of contention, what steps you took to share your side and get them to see your point of view, and how you resolved the issue. Share lessons learned from the experience that will be of value as you move into your next role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 15.

    Walk me through your sales experience.

      How to Answer

      This question is a standard interview question for any position, but it's essential not just to read them your resume. The interviewers already have a copy! Be sure to talk about your sales experience, highlighting your most significant accomplishments. This task is especially important if your resume doesn't give a full picture of how much sales were involved in a seemingly non-sales position (think: hospitality industry, customer service, account management). Show off! Explicitly state your transferable skills.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 16.

    How would your current coworkers describe you?

      How to Answer

      This question is a version of 'describe yourself' but with a twist. By asking how your coworkers would describe you, you're more likely to give a candid, less canned response. Choose a few adjectives that are both truthful and ideally connected to a sales personality/career. This question would not be the time to describe yourself as reserved and introverted. Instead, opt for characteristics such as determined, goal-oriented, hardworking, or self-motivated.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

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  • 17.

    What are some of the challenges you see facing this industry?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you've done your research on this particular industry, and the patterns involved. Whether you're a seasoned professional with years of experience in the same sector or fresh-faced in your first role, or even transitioning to a new industry after years in sales, it's essential that you know not only the company you're interviewing with, but also the scope you'd sell to, if hired. Be sure to do your research on competitors, where the company positions itself with its unique selling points, and what the industry is doing as a whole.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 18.

    Describe a time your company did not deliver on its product or service, and how you responded.

      How to Answer

      A company or its solution is not going to be perfect at all times, or at least not a perfect fit for everyone. It is essential that you can get out in front of the issue and address the shortcoming with your customer to build loyalty and trust. In an age of hiding behind text and email, it's so important to demonstrate to the customer, and in this case, the interviewer, that you aren't afraid to face an uncomfortable situation head-on, own up to the problem and get creative in your solution to keep your customer happy.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 19.

    What is the most important trait a sales professional should possess?

      How to Answer

      It is likely that the way you answer this question is the way that you see yourself! Think of a unique trait that you believe all sales professionals should have. Be sure to go beyond the surface and avoid saying things like, 'people-person,' for instance. Dig a bit deeper.

      Some examples of essential traits may be:

      - Curious
      - Achievement driven
      - Strong sense of duty
      - Dominant
      - Ability to handle emotional disappointments
      - Unafraid and unabashed

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 4th, 2019

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  • 20.

    Tell me about a time you strayed from your company's standard protocol. How did it turn out?

      How to Answer

      There's a fine line here between ignoring the company's protocol and seeking a creative solution that is beneficial to all parties. Sometimes the SOP (standard operating procedure) does not fit all clients or situations, so it's crucial to demonstrate that you can think outside of the box. Choose an example in which the outcome was positive. Give a little background on the situation, why the standard procedure wouldn't have worked, and what you did.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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