Describe A Time You Lost A Deal And How You Followed Up
You cant bat 100% every game, and some deals fall through. A good salesperson knows a lost deal doesnt mean a lost relationship, and that theres still an opportunity to learn from the prospect to improve your presentation for the next lead.
Weak Candidate Answer:
- The candidate doesnt seek out feedback from the prospect and just accepts the lost deal.
- Their answer doesnt describe a complete picture of the scenario with the S.T.A.R. model.
- Theres a tentative agreement to follow up at the end of the year, but lacks a follow-up strategy.
Strong Candidate Answer:
I was recently working with a local coffee shop that was interested in our point of sales systems. They wanted tablet stations for self-ordering and checkout, but the initial installation costs were higher than they anticipated.
I offered a few alternatives to reduce the number of stations or implement hybrid POS systems. Ultimately, they decided to invest in better online ordering for customer use. I thanked them for their time and sent a survey link to provide feedback on our product and sales process. I also marked time to reach out after two and six months to see how their online solution was working for them and share any new products that may be a fit for their needs.
Consider These Universal Job Interview Questions
These tried-and-tried prompts can also help you understand each candidates experience, skills, and personality traits.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Whats your biggest strength?
- Whats your greatest weakness?
- Why did you leave your last role?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What did you like or dislike about your last company culture?
Questions You Should Hear From An Interviewee
1. Anything specific regarding your company.
As soon as you hear, I was reading up on your companys history and learned that followed by a question, you know that the candidate did his homework.
That willingness to do in-depth research on a company indicates that a candidate will be motivated to take the extra step to achieve success with your clients as well.
2. What does a typical workday look like here?
This question is not broad level. It gets into the heart of a job. From this, a candidate determines the companys environment, whether it is high stress with abrupt deadlines or if a typical day lies on the other end of the spectrum, with a more natural approach to sales and a team-oriented environment.
A candidate who wants to learn more about the culture is thinking about his own long-term success and level of comfort as a potential team member.
3. What are you looking for in your ideal candidate?
A job description will generally list the hard skills that a candidate must have to be successful at a company. It will not, however, indicate the soft skills such as humility, willingness to work outside of a job description and other traits that work well in a companys unique environment.
A candidate with high Need for Achievement will want to know how he can attain success in the eyes of the company.
4. How do you expect your new hire to impact your company in the next 6 months?
5. What do you like most about working with this company?
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Background And Experience Sales Interview Questions
Questions about background and experience are often useful in understanding how a candidate’s previous roles could help them succeed within your organization. These questions may be about previous sales techniques, areas of specialty, experience outside of sales and education. Background and experience questions may be general or specific, such as inquiring about their level of experience or asking a candidate to describe a real scenario from their past. Examples of questions about background and experience to ask in a sales interview could include:
Tell me about a time your employer asked you to do something you had never done before. How did you react?
Describe a time your employer asked you to complete a task you felt was outside your job description. How did you react? What was the outcome?
Tell me about a deal you failed to close. What did you learn?
What are three adjectives a former employer would use to describe you?
Describe a time you needed to adjust to change in the workplace. How did you react?
Have you ever turned away a prospect? If so, why?
How do you maintain positive relationships with clients?
Tell me about your most successful sale. What was your process?
Tell me about a time you’ve collaborated with a sales team. What did you learn?
Tell me how you’ve incorporated storytelling into your sales process.
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List Of Sales Representative Interview Questions
Where do you see your career heading in five to 10 years?
What motivates you when you’re at work?
What makes you a good sales representative?
Why did you apply for this position?
How do you think our company can improve?
Do you have any questions that you want to ask me?
Please describe your expectations of working in this position.
What is your impression of our company?
Is there anything you don’t like about sales?
How did you close your biggest sale?
When is it an appropriate time to not approach selling a client?
Sell me this pencil.
Have you turned down a prospect?
How do you stay abreast of your target audience?
Why do you want to leave your current position?
How can you establish a long-lasting relationship with a prospect?
Tell me a scenario where you made a mistake. How did you manage the situation?
What is your definition of an ideal workplace environment?
How can marketing content be helpful for you in selling a product?
What role can social media play in selling a prospect?
What technical skills or programs do you want to learn? How would you work to become proficient in using them?
Have you ever asked a potential client why they did not purchase from you? What were you about to learn from that approach?
Describe a situation where you received criticism from your manager. How did you respond to it?
Explain when you had a measurable impact on your company.
Describe the sales process from beginning to end.
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Whats It Like To Work Here Every Day
We realize we said previously that you should recast these questions in your own words, but this inquiry is the sole exception. The idea is to try to glean information about what your role will be like if hired.
We cant emphasize enough that theres a vast difference between job role and job title. If you work for a start-up, you may have to wear several different hats and take on responsibilities on the fly.
If thats what youre looking for in a sales job, then kudos to you! But if youre new to the sales field, you dont want to take on a more prominent role than youre ready for.
At a glance, it seems like this question would work well to learn about a companys culture, but thats not necessarily true. Note that youre asking about your interviewers opinion of working for the company, not the company line.
If Im Hired For This Role And I Do Really Well What Happens Then Are There Set Goals That I Can Hit To Get To The Next Step
Being overly focused on the companys promotion opportunities at the interview stage is generally frowned on in other professions — not so in sales. Regular career advancement is baked into most organizations sales teams, so this line of questioning demonstrates interest, commitment, and ambition.
Salespeople get promotions directly based on results, explains Brown. Were looking for people who want to come in, crush it, do well, get promoted, and make more money.
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Filling The Sales Team Gaps
Assessing gaps in your current sales team is another important aspect to keep in mind when interviewing for a new sales role. High-performing team players can do a lot more for your sales team than simply collaborating well, they could fill the gaps in skills that your current team is lacking.
Lets say that your current sales reps arent the strongest in following up. They close sales easily with highly responsive prospects, which helps them hit their targets each time, but their less responsive leads go completely cold quickly.
A new sales team member who is on top of their follow-up game can improve the atmosphere because:
- They will likely improve elements like pipeline velocity and deal conversion rate, thus making the team more successful
- They can help other team members cultivate that skill and become better sales representatives
Its important for you to take the time to assess your teams strengths and weaknesses against their individual and team goals, as well as the mission of your company.
The best way to do this is by speaking with each of your sales people individually to gain a deep understanding of areas your candidate might be particularly valuable.
This will also be a great opportunity for you to encourage improvement and learning, and plan future sales training events. Most successful sales teams are those that are always growing, so take this as a chance to not only bring your sales people closer, but also continually help them develop their skills.
What Are The Companys Plans For Growth During The Next Five Years
Ideally, managers want to hire people who will stick with the company for years to come. To show that youre interested in the companys long-term growth trajectory, ask about the game plan. This question also helps demonstrate that you think strategically about business. Youre not just a salesperson who focuses on their own deals to the exclusion of larger strategy.
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How Do You Feel About Collaboration Within A Sales Team
If you are interviewing for a sales team role, you are likely to share the same overall goals as your colleagues. Trust and rapport can help you build relationships with your team members that result in helping one another reach quotas and solve client issues. Your answer should demonstrate how you view your role on a team and what value you can bring to the group. Show the interviewer that you value teamwork by describing a situation where you collaborated with your team to close a deal.
Example: I value teamwork because sales is a long process that requires collaboration at different levels of an organization. I am fortunate to have had a team of talented individuals who worked together to tailor our process to the needs of our clients.
On my way to a meeting with an important client, my contact requested a price-comparison report on our bestselling software to discuss their options during the meeting. I asked my fellow sales associate to run the report and send it to me so I could present it. Her help allowed me to give the most comprehensive presentation I could and provide the client with the information needed to make a decision. Together, she and I closed the deal with the client and shared the commission.
How Do You Handle Losing A Sale
You likely won’t win every single sale you work towards and that’s okay. Employers just want to see that you handle potential rejection well and can turn it into a learning experience. Handling losing a sale professionally shows employers you can learn from your mistakes and improve upon your skills independently.
Example:”I have lost a handful of sales in my five years as a sales associate. I don’t take the loss personally, but I always aim to learn something from it. For example, a long-term client at the cell phone company I worked with wanted to end his contract. He called and explained that he found a better deal with another company. I offered him a lower rate with us, but it wasn’t low enough to meet his needs. I thanked him for his service and let my supervisor know about our competitor’s promotion. This situation helped me improve my negotiation skills and realize that you can’t win every sale.”
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What Do You Know About Our Company And Product/service
Even the most amazing salesperson cant perform if they dont understand what theyre selling. This question gives you a peek at what a candidate knows and likes about a product, as well as an idea of their interview preparation.
Any candidate entering a sales interview should have some idea about what theyre selling, its competition and its benefits. If they didnt do a little digging beforehand, they may not be the right fit for your team.
Weak Candidate Answer:
- Vague answers that dont actually highlight the specific value or applications of a product show a lack of research.
- The candidate doesnt offer any insight into the products specific solution, its market or a potential customer profile.
Strong Candidate Answer:
I understand you offer a human resources software solution for hiring and onboarding, time management and payroll services. I checked out a few of your client reviews and saw that hourly employers are especially happy with the ability for teams to communicate and reschedule shifts, and that theyre a significant portion of your client portfolio. Would you say these accounts are your core audience?
- The answer specifies the product or service and how it benefits clients.
- The candidate identifies a specific feature that stands out from other competitors and follows up with a question that indicates interest in the company and its direction.
How Do You Research Your Target Customer Before A Call Or Meeting What Information Do You Look For
A good sales professional will always have a strategic approach to any sales call or meeting. By asking this question you can gauge a candidates ability to plan ahead and gain an insight into the resources they make use of to ensure they are well-equipped to make a sale. Although this process is one that each candidate should be familiar with, asking them on the spot will show you whether they attempt to talk their way through a sales call or have a methodical approach to a sales pitch.
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What Is Your Highest Priority In The Next Six Months And How Could Someone Like Me Help
Asking about the companys priorities and how you can help is a great way to show the interviewer that youre interested in the companys pain points and want to help find a solution to them.
As a salesperson, youre always trying to find solutions to your prospects and clients problems, and asking this question demonstrates that you know how to do that.
Also, the interviewers answer will give you insight into some of their challenges and what type of employee theyre looking for. You can then tailor your future responses to show that youre an ideal candidate for the position.
What Are 10 Great Questions To Ask A Vp/ Head Of Sales Operations In An Interview
The role of Sales Operations is elevating in organizations. From driving operational optimization, sales operations is increasingly taking the thought partner to sales role. Its moving from support to symbiosis. A few years back, the principal role of sales opns was to ensure tool function, perform administrative tasks and publish reports. A good sales operations function today does so much more. They work with sales to build short and long term sales strategy, articulate sales process, coach reps, hold sales management accountable, provide optimized sales support and drive technology adoption for ease of business.
The function itself is embedded in Sales but sometimes in a central Operations or Finance function. The motivations and ambitions of the parent group also influence the role of Sales Operations. There is no right or wrong way to place the function in a company. It depends on the company strategy, company culture and other factors. But, there is a right way for the VP of Sales Operations to orchestrate the teams relationship with sales. The right or wrong hire, at the leadership helm, means sales operations plays anything from watchdog to administrative assistant to strategic partner.
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Questions To Direct At The Interviewer
Here are questions you can ask about the interviewer:
How Would You Describe Your Management Style
Again, the interviewers tone and body language will tell you more than their words with this question, so pay close attention. And though the answer may not be subjective, how managers describe themselves can reveal quite a bit about how humble or arrogant they are and how easy or difficult they may be to work with.
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How Do You Measure Success For This Role
At this stage of the application process, you probably know whether or not youll have a quota. But that number isnt the only way your sales manager will be gauging your success. Theyll also be tracking metrics like the length of your sales cycle, how many opportunities youre generating, and average deal size.
Qualitative measures of success are important as well. Your manager will likely be focusing on how your understanding of the companys buyer personas, ability to correctly qualify and disqualify prospects, willingness to learn new strategies and techniques, time management skills, resourcefulness, and product expertise, among other things.
With this question, youll show your interviewer that you understand success is multifaceted — while simultaneously getting insight into what they value most.