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Sales Interview Questions

20 Sales Interview Questions
Question 1 of 20
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

Answer Example
Entry Level Example
"In my opinion, one trait that every sales professional should have is the ability to handle the emotional ups and downs that come there way. In any given day, a sales professional will have a few wins, then a few losses. To be able to navigate disappointment, without it affecting your mood for too long, or your overall performance is huge."
Experienced Example
"In all of my years in sales, the one common trait that I have seen between myself and my successful colleagues is an air of dominance. I am not talking about a dominance that is off-putting, but a dominance that is authoritative and leads the client to the right decision."
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Question 2 of 20
What are some of the challenges you see facing this industry?
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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.

Answer Example
"I have two years' experience selling to the automotive vertical and know that a lot of profits are on the backend, so I believe there is a lot of opportunities there. Also, I know the automotive industry is antiquated in many ways and a bit resistant to technology, so I know that this solution will be both beneficial to your clients, but also a bit of a tough sell. I wholeheartedly welcome the challenge."
Entry Level Example
"The main challenge in restaurant franchise sales is likely the financial burden on the franchisee when it comes to raising initial capital. The amount of time it can take to build a successful, profitable restaurant, even with a big name behind you, is significant. Because of that, I think the franchisor can get in a precarious position where they have a turnover, which while not immediately impactful to their bottom line since the franchisee absorbs the loss, does ultimately hurt the franchise in the end. Would this be an accurate statement, from your depth of experience in restaurant franchise sales?"
Experienced Example
"I have performed a great deal of research before coming here today and believe that the single biggest challenge facing this industry is a lack of understanding why the end-user needs your software product. SaaS sales is a very competitive industry, and my success will come from finding the potential customers' most significant pain point when it comes to their software and technology, and then physically show them how this product will improve their profits and streamline their processes. I understand this sales cycle is long so it will be essential to have a very well-researched sales pipeline."
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Question 3 of 20
Walk me through your sales experience.
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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.

Answer Example
"I have been in sales for a couple of years now, primarily as a business development team member. I will spend most of my day cold calling, up to 50 calls per day. The main goal is to fill my appointments with new customers. Currently, I am the top rep in my office, earning a close rate of 67% with a company expectation of 25%. I know I am ready to take the next leap in sales and add some account management, and outside sales experience, to my roster of experience."
Entry Level Example
"I have been selling since I was a little kid. I used to make my brothers work the lemonade stand with me, to their dismay. I set records for most Girl Scout cookies sold, and same goes for a fundraiser for my high school soccer team. I've been at the same restaurant job, but moved up the ranks, since high school and all throughout college. I worked the host stand, then carry-out, then as a server, and now also I do stints as the counter/bar person as well as shift lead. I have consistently set records for sales contests to the tune of management setting special rules for me after I won the monthly contests six months in a row. What I lack in traditional sales experience, I make up for in hustle and years spent figuring out how to sell to and deliver impeccable customer service."
Experienced Example
"I have been in sales for over ten years, starting in a call center position. I earned my way to a regional sales position by consistently exceeding my targets and also putting a lot of emphasis on professional development and continued education opportunities. I recently put myself through the Dale Carnegie program and this year enrolled myself into The Future of Selling, as I know how important it is to fully understand social media and the role it plays in sales. I am experienced and up-to-date on sales trends which I believe has been a huge part of my success as a sales professional."
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Question 4 of 20
What goals have you set for yourself this year?
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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).

Answer Example
"One goal that I have set for myself is to take one new sales training workshop per quarter, to further hone my skills in different areas. I have already registered for two; one on cold calling and the other or more effective prospecting. I am looking for two others focused on the art of negotiations and the hard close."
Entry Level Example
"The most significant goal that I have set for myself is to land a job in the sales industry and get out of the restaurant industry. I have a timeline in mind, which is before the end of June. To prepare myself I have found a mentor who is a professional salesperson, and she is teaching me what I need to know about the industry."
Experienced Example
"I aim to be the #1 Sales Rep in my company for the third year in a row. To do this, I have doubled my cold calling rate, and have set particular monthly financial goals for myself. The year is nearly over, and I currently hold the #1 spot, by leaps and bounds."
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Question 5 of 20
Describe a situation when you negotiated terms with a tough customer.
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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.

Answer Example
"When I was working as a recruiter I had a client ask for a refund for their candidate placement when the individual quit their job after just six months. My company had a 3-month guarantee where we would replace the individual, at no additional cost. However, six months was a stretch. The client was unhappy, and I valued their business, so I offered half off replacement search with a 6-month guarantee. They agreed, and we moved forward with the search. Rules and parameters are important to have, but I firmly believe that you need to be flexible at times to gain long-term relationships and long-term clients."
Entry Level Example
"I can't say I have negotiated a whole lot with a tough customer because the restaurant where I work says that the customer is always right, but I've certainly handled a disgruntled customer that is unhappy with me or the food. I am still sure to take their concerns and complaints seriously, clarify the "why" of the complaints to understand their side and address what we can do to help improve the situation for them and make them a loyal customer. I know what an important opportunity it is to win a lifelong customer when you "wow" with an experience that was otherwise a sour one."
Experienced Example
"I currently work in a global sales capacity where many of my clients have multiple business units. I aim to have all of these business units cohesively using our product. With that comes meaningful negotiations with tough high-level executives. The largest deal that I have closed this year was with Company ABC for 1,500 units amounting to approximately $2.5M."
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Writers for Sales Answers and Questions

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 04/22/2018
Last modified on: 08/17/2018

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About Sales

August 13th, 2018

Sales professionals are employed by companies to sell their products or services to customers. They work in all types of industries and with companies of all sizes. As part of their job, sales professionals also work with customers to determine their needs, create solutions to their problems, and ensure that the sales process goes ahead smoothly. Depending on the industry and type of product, they may also visit customers in their office or cold call potential customers in order to make a sale.
Although there are no minimum educational requirements, most of the larger companies prefer to hire applicants who have at least a bachelor's degree. Sales professionals are expected to have thorough knowledge of the product or service they are selling. Excellent customer service, communication, and interpersonal skills are necessary attributes for this role.
When you go for your interview, the best way to impress the interviewing panel is by 'selling' yourself. You must be able to convince them of your persuasive skills. Knowing the questions in advance can help you prepare your answers so you can reply more confidently at the interview. You can find a list of commonly asked questions at Mock Questions.