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Top 20 Sales Interview Questions

Question 1 of 20
Walk me through your sales experience.
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Question 2 of 20
What goals have you set for yourself this year?
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"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."
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).

More Answer Examples
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 3 of 20
What is the most important trait a sales professional should possess?
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"people-person,"
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

More Answer Examples
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 4 of 20
What are some of the challenges you see facing this industry?
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"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."
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.

More Answer Examples
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 5 of 20
Describe a situation when you negotiated terms with a tough customer.
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"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."
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.

More Answer Examples
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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Question 6 of 20
Why are you interested in sales?
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Question 7 of 20
Describe a time your company did not deliver on its product or service, and how you responded.
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Question 8 of 20
Are you comfortable making cold calls? Tell me about your exposure to making cold calls.
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Question 9 of 20
How often do you meet your sales goals?
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Question 10 of 20
Tell me how we can best motivate you.
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Preview Behavioral Interview Questions with Sales Answer Examples
1. Describe a time when you motivated yourself to complete an assignment or task that you did not feel like doing.
"I do not always like filling out a CRM. I don't think any salesperson does. We like the call, the chase, the close. Taking time to pause and write out the details of our conversation, projections, and all that jazz is not something we look forward to doing because it slows us down. However, it's a necessary step in the sales process. Not only does it ultimately help that sale go better when the CRM is filled out in full detail, but also it helps inform the next sales' close rate. It's an essential tool in the sale, and even if it takes slowing down and doing a seemingly monotonous task, I understand its a task that will help me as a salesperson and the organization as a whole."
2. Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and how did you resolve it?
"A client was delivered a damaged piece of goods that we sold him. For a $30,000 piece of inventory, he was understandably agitated. Within five minutes of receiving an irate email, I hopped on the phone with him to address the issue. I had my COO and Director of Operations, who handles problem resolution, in the room so he would feel that the issue was being taken care of by upper management. Through a 10-minute conversation, not only did we resolve his issue, buy back the piece of inventory, and have pick-up arranged for that very afternoon. We also piloted a new program with him to take the balance sheet risk off of him, which pleased him. So much, in fact, that he committed to buying another five pieces of inventory that same week."
3. When did you come up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company, class, or organization was facing?
Our sales development managers were having a high no-show rate of about 65% for their appointments set across the board. I developed copy for an email template that they sent the day prior to the meeting reminding them not only of the meeting, but more importantly the "why" of it- why did they agree to it in the first place and how their lives would be easier after taking the call, and, after a month of using the templates, the no-show rate dropped to 42%.
4. Think about a difficult boss, professor or coworker. How did you successfully interact with this person?
"I struggled most with the new VP of Sales at my previous company. She was brought on with no experience in our industry and seemed to have little interest in it To win her over; I invited her on a business trip for an out of town client. I wanted her to meet my clients and spend one-on-one time together. We bonded as humans, mothers, and sales executives. She learned a lot about the company and industry, and I learned a lot about what skills she brought from her previous roles."
5. Tell me about a time where you needed to work in a team environment to get a job done. What were the challenges and difficulties, and how did you face these?
At "ABC Company", I worked with the product team to develop new user features. My role was not only to inform what functionality my sales prospects and clients were asking for that we lacked, but also get clients on board as beta product testers. The challenge arose when the clients' expectations and desires did not match our functionality. That is, they wanted the final product, but we were working on a beta to get to that end. However, through clear communication and laying out the different phases for future states of the desired feature together, we were able to meet the client's needs and develop a really functional feature.
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Preview Competency Interview Questions with Sales Answer Examples
1. Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to solving a problem.
"Our sales organization was struggling with the buyers and salespeople. We were supposed to be working collaboratively, but it became a finger pointing battle when a deal would fall apart. I suggested that, instead of having the buyers and salespeople report to different bosses and essentially working against one another, we switch it up to force collaboration. We reorganized the sales teams, so there were pods where a salesperson worked with two buyers, and they were a team. They became experts on the same customers, and their financial targets were tied. Very quickly the attitude shifted in the office, and people were teaching each other and learning from one another rather than pointing and placing blame."
2. Tell me the ways in which you brought value to your most recent position.
"I believe I bring value in many ways to my current organization. As a sales rep, obviously, I bring financial value. I've been among the top three sales reps since starting in the role. Also, my pod transacts the most frequently and has the lowest claim rate, meaning we are making good deals and not costing ourselves money on the backend just to get the front end "yes." I also helped create a community within the organization that spearheads tackling projects that impact the culture and productivity of the company."
3. How do you deal with conflict on your team?
"In a sales environment, competition is necessary and its integral to the fiber of the organization. However, it can prove problematic, especially among those on the same team who are supposed to work collaboratively, but ultimately are competing. On one occasion, the two buyers who reported to me got into a verbal argument. I calmly pulled them both off the floor to a private room. We were able to get to the heart of the issue. It boiled down to one feeling the other was trying to be his manager when he had no authority over him. By communicating job tasks and making a clear division of power, we solved the issue."
4. Why are you the best candidate for this position?
"I smiled when I read the job description because it was as though you had written it with me in mind. I know that I am the best candidate for this role because I have three years of exceeding my sales goals, inside and outside sales experience, and I know the industry. Also, I was the fastest promoted in my previous position and have led the rollout of new markets in my current position, making me ideally positioned for helping you continue to build your sales organization, markets, and exceed financial metrics."
5. What skills did you learn in your most recent position that will help you in this new role?
"In my most recent position, I learned the ins and outs of Salesforce.com, which I understand are what you use as your CRM. I am accustomed to detailing my conversations, calls, and follow-up tasks within the CRM but I also have some experience in customizing fields and setting various alerts and reminders. We house everything in Salesforce.com, rather than in the CRM, emails, and chats. It helps increase productivity."
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Preview Leadership Interview Questions with Sales Answer Examples
1. If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
"It's important to first understand the company culture, dynamics, values, and individual players, not to mention the short and long-term goals of the organization before making changes. That said, I would wait for my onboarding process to complete, then shadow the key players on my team, as well as across the organization, to understand how the pieces fit together. Also, I think it's essential to not only observe but also listen to the team that predates me and hears what they think is or is not working. Only after active learning, watching, and evaluating period would I begin to effect change. "
2. Do you see yourself a leader? When have you led a team?
"I see myself as a leader. Not only have I managed a team in two prior roles, but also I believe that leadership does not always equate to management. I am sure to lead at all times by providing the best model of enthusiasm and work ethic. I am open to new ideas and love to tackle a new project which, to me, embodies leadership."
3. Tell me about your leadership qualities.
"To me, a leader is someone who is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, adaptable, and open. A leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed since childhood. I love to be an example to follow and help guide others to bettering themselves and their careers."
4. When do you best demonstrate yourself as a leader?
"I think it's important always to be a leader. The old cliche of "dress for the job you want, not the one you have" applies here. From the get-go, it's important to walk in the door and let your supervisors know that you are ambitious and driven for growth and also let your coworkers and reports know that you're here to grow and help them grow, too."
5. Tell me about a time when you took charge of a meeting. Was the outcome a positive one?
"In my last role, I identified the need for ongoing learning and training, so I founded weekly 'lunch and learn' meetings with a different department of focus in each session. I worked across departments to feature various guest lecturers and industry experts from our board to educate the sales team better. This way we would all be more effective in our pitches."
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Preview Teamwork Interview Questions with Sales Answer Examples
1. Tell me about your exposure to team building exercises.
"Our company recently went on a President Club trip to Mexico. We had a few sessions to attend that focused on teamwork and customer engagement. It was a motivating trip and my sales numbers increased by 15% that following month!"
2. How do you handle working in challenging team environments?
"At Company ABC, I worked with the product team to develop new user features. My role was not only to inform what functionality my sales prospects and clients were asking for but also to get clients on board as beta product testers. The challenge arose when the clients' expectations and desires did not match our functionality. Through clear communication and laying out the different phases for future states of the desired product, we were able to meet the client's needs and develop a functional feature."
3. Tell me about a time you worked on a team.
"My current team is small - just myself, and my sales assistant. We work as a team by having a call every morning to review my travel schedule, client calls, and future bookings. I believe that exceptional teamwork needs trust and clear communication, all factors that I look forward to bringing with me to your company."
4. When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
"In my current position, our team is bonused annually based on overall performance, not individual performance. Being one of the senior members of the sales team, I have a solid idea what it takes to hit a good year-end bonus. I created a sales plan and presented it to my regional manager. He made a few tweaks and presented it to the entire group. In that instance, I was the numbers and ideas guy. We successfully hit our goal because we were all so focused and knew what we needed to do."
5. Tell me about a time when you led a team. What was your biggest success factor?
"In my last position, I led a team of outside sales representatives. I implemented ride along's where I would shadow each team member for one day per month. This hands-on approach resulted in an average 20% sales increase per team member which made my sales director very happy. It always pays to show interest in your team members, individually, by investing time into their learning."
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Question 11 of 20
Share your biggest sales success.
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Question 12 of 20
How do you best learn? What is the best way to train you?
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Question 13 of 20
Tell me about a time you faced rejection. How did you handle it?
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Question 14 of 20
What do you consider an ideal sales job for you? *
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Question 15 of 20
Would you cold call for a year if it meant you had a steady client list afterwards?
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Question 16 of 20
If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be and why?
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Question 17 of 20
Tell me how you developed your largest existing account.
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Question 18 of 20
How would your current coworkers describe you?
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Question 19 of 20
Tell me about a time you strayed from your company's standard protocol. How did it turn out?
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Question 20 of 20
Tell me what kind of manager gets the best work product from you.
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About Sales

June 2nd, 2017

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.

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