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.
"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!"
"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."
"I was far along in a sales cycle with a potentially huge customer who had shown a ton of interest. I'd even flown out to see them for what was one of the final sales presentations with all stakeholders. They'd known the pricing and acted as though this was a formality before they bought. Well, then they went dark. I literally could not get anyone on the phone or via email. It was a devastating experience. It would have been a huge commission, a massive amount of recurring revenue for the company, and a landmark account. It took about a week to wrap my head around it and then I doubled down and was determined to find a new, bigger account to land. And, while the sales cycle took more than three months, I finally did it. It's all part of the gig with sales, and it still stings when that happens, but I know to take it in stride and go find another bigger, better account next time."