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20 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated June 4th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Sales    
Question 1 of 20
Tell me what kind of manager gets the best work product from you.
View Answers
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
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Answer Examples
1.
Tell me what kind of manager gets the best work product from you.
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

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
2.
How do you best learn? What is the best way to train you?
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

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I best learn through a combination of reading material and video resources, with opportunities to apply what I have learned, in real time. I have had opportunities in the past where my training included role plays and scripts, which was very helpful. Could you share with me more about your training process here?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In school, I best learn from books and resource-based training. I am a strong researcher, and when left on my own to study a subject or a new concept, I can independently map out my thoughts and retain the new information. With that said, I also greatly value the opportunity to jump into a situation and learn by doing."
3.
What do you consider an ideal sales job for you? *
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have experience in both inside and outside sales but have developed a passion and knack for outside sales in particular. Something about the face-to-face connection helps me leverage a close. Of course, ideally, I would love all warm leads, but I know that's not how sales works, so I'm not afraid to cold call. As far as what my day or week would look like, I like to block my day to be productive. Emails and cold calls or follow-ups in the morning, and then appointments in the afternoon. This schedule helps me stay in the right mindset throughout the day and optimally productive."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My ideal sales position is with a company that is mentorship-driven, offering regular coaching opportunities, to people like myself who are new to sales but have a lot to offer. I would like my great transferable skills such as upselling, customer service, and dispute resolution, utilized and then better honed to make me a top sales professional."
4.
What goals have you set for yourself this year?
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).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
5.
Tell me about a time you faced rejection. How did you handle it?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"When I was in account management, the branch's largest client was being transitioned to a new rep and to be considered to take it on, we had to pitch for it. I worked hard on my presentation and yet still didn't get the client for my portfolio. I was disappointed but spent time with my manager and a senior sales rep to learn how to improve my skills to be the best fit next time. I have worked to hone in on these presentation and closing skills, and those conversations are what propelled me into what is now a successful career in outside sales. Now I actively bid for my big clients, instead of hoping they get passed to me. It's much better this way!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I initially applied to the College of Business at ABC University and did not get in. It was my dream school and the first step in my life plan, so it was a blow to be rejected. I took a day or two to mourn the loss of that dream and then figured out a plan B that would still get me where I wanted to be. I decided to go to a local college for a year to get some credits done and got a 4.0. I reapplied to ABC Business the following year and got in, with a scholarship. This situation taught me that I might get knocked down, but will always get back up - and usually, there's a lesson to be learned from it. Now I still have a plan B and am ready to be agile whenever a roadblock appears. I think this type of agility and determination has prepared me for a successful career in sales."
6.
If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be and why?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Something I struggle with at work is lack of leadership from the executive level. I feel that our VP of Sales gets excited about new ideas, but isn't working to help us implement them and discern not what is just new and exciting, but what will be effective. So, if I could change anything, I'd love to see more consistent, boots-on-the-ground leadership. The upside here is that I have a lot of flex to try out my ideas for change so that autonomy is something that I'm grateful for."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I currently am working at a restaurant, so it's not my dream job by any stretch. I would like the ability to control more of my destiny. I love the hustle and bustle of the restaurant and how great service usually equates to great, or better, tips. However, I'm at the mercy of schedules that may cut me earlier than I'd have liked before I hit my income goal for the day. That said, I understand there are lessons to be learned that apply to "real world sales," so I'm taking it all as practice for my future career in sales."
7.
Walk me through your sales experience.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
8.
How often do you meet your sales goals?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
9.
Tell me about a time you strayed from your company's standard protocol. How did it turn out?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My current company has a policy against overtime. I know that it's a rule in place to ensure a healthy work-life balance while also maintaining their financial health when it comes to payroll. I had a client that needed me more than usual, so I broke the rule and worked about 5 hours overtime the other week. I let my manager know that I was doing this because I believed there would be a big financial reward for the company, should I show this extraordinary dedication to my client. He agreed, and I was right! The client added 50% more to their usual spend which meant that the overtime hours I billed were a wash for my company."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The restaurant which I work has a no refunds rule, even for dishes sent back. We can replace the dish with something of equal value but never refund a customer. I had a table with a person who had a peanut allergy. The kitchen messed up and made a dish that contained a trace of peanuts. The person at my table had a mild reaction and was entirely upset, which I fully understood. I comped the meal and decided that if my boss was not happy with me breaking the no refunds rule, that it would come out of my paycheck. At that moment it was more important to me to show integrity as a server than to follow the rules to a tee. It turned out fine in the end, as my manager saw how passionate I was about the solution I delivered."
10.
How would your current coworkers describe you?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My coworkers would say that I am hardworking, confident, and a team player. I feel I best exemplify these traits when the pressure is on, and my team needs someone to kick it into high gear."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My current coworkers would describe me as fast-paced, dedicated, and reliable. I currently work in a restaurant, and am known as the go-to for picking up shifts, or staying later than I was initially scheduled to help another teammate out. I love when the restaurant is busy, and I have more than my fair share of tables because I work well under pressure in a fast-paced environment, which is something all of my coworkers would corroborate."
11.
Would you cold call for a year if it meant you had a steady client list afterwards?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am well versed in the cold call, and while I may dislike it at times, I understand that it's an integral part of sales. So yes, I'm willing to put in my time cold calling to build a book of business. That said, I would hope that there would be some other tasks on my plate to help break up the day."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I love being on the phone, I love connecting with people, and I love the idea of getting them to say yes, even when they weren't initially inclined to do so. Not to mention, I know that I can't expect success to be handed to me overnight. So, yes, I'd be willing to cold call for a year to catapult my career. Upfront investment in the long-term health of my job is something I can get behind."
12.
Tell me how we can best motivate you.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The hearty pat on the back motivates me, or recognition given by management. I love the casual, or more formal, shout-outs for a job well done or going above and beyond. Public recognition will always motivate me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Bartending isn't necessarily sales, but I think a lot of what I do in the service industry can relate to this particular sales position. I do well with competition and incentives. For instance, I seem always to shine when the restaurant does a featured cocktail that they push us to sell. The winner gets a gift card, a free dessert, or something of the sort. A little competition with an extra perk gets me firing on all cylinders."
13.
Why are you interested in sales?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
14.
What is the most important trait a sales professional should possess?
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

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that at the core of every high-performing sales professional is someone who is unafraid to get a 'no.' They will try and try again, and continue to show courageousness to gain a sale."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I believe dominance is the most important trait to have as a sales professional. Dominance to take over a room at a sales presentation or instruct a customer to a correct solution to their problem. It is essential to state, not a dominance that is off-putting and arrogant."
Rachelle's Answer
This is such a unique answer and so very true! Any great sales professional will command a room and be a positive presence at the same time. Well said!
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15.
What are some of the challenges you see facing this industry?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
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20 Sales Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Tell me what kind of manager gets the best work product from you.
  2. How do you best learn? What is the best way to train you?
  3. What do you consider an ideal sales job for you? *
  4. What goals have you set for yourself this year?
  5. Tell me about a time you faced rejection. How did you handle it?
  6. If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be and why?
  7. Walk me through your sales experience.
  8. How often do you meet your sales goals?
  9. Tell me about a time you strayed from your company's standard protocol. How did it turn out?
  10. How would your current coworkers describe you?
  11. Would you cold call for a year if it meant you had a steady client list afterwards?
  12. Tell me how we can best motivate you.
  13. Why are you interested in sales?
  14. What is the most important trait a sales professional should possess?
  15. What are some of the challenges you see facing this industry?
  16. Describe a situation when you negotiated terms with a tough customer.
  17. Describe a time your company did not deliver on its product or service, and how you responded.
  18. Are you comfortable making cold calls? Tell me about your exposure to making cold calls.
  19. Share your biggest sales success.
  20. Tell me how you developed your largest existing account.
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