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How To Interview A Salesperson

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What Do You Know About This Company

SALES Interview Questions & Answers! (How to PASS a Sales Interview!)

This question is asked to gauge your knowledge of the company. If you are interested in their business, a dedicated and professional candidate must always research the company and the position they are applying for before the interview.

Here, you need to let them know that you are the person they need to hire because you are the one who knows the ins and outs of the company . Apart from this, you can also butter the interviewees by praising the companys work and achievements.

Answer Example:

Founded in 2005 by Mr. Ashish Khanna and Mrs. Monalisa Ralte, this video game company is now the biggest in India, catering to gamers of all ages and genders. The reviews from both employees and customers only make me want to be a part of this fine establishment.

Bring On The Right Talent In Your Next Sales Interview

To hire a well-rounded sales rep, you have to ask the right mix of questions to see how a candidate really thinks. To find someone whos knowledgeable of the industry, passionate, and can communicate that enthusiasm to the customer, will improve your team as it grows.

We hope youll use this guide in your next round of interviews and find the candidates youve been looking for.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Originally published Aug 20, 2021 12:45:00 PM, updated August 20 2021


Set Up A Panel Interview

A panel interview is when a group of individuals interview a candidate together. Usually, those who are part of the panel are employees who’ll be working closely with the new hire when they begin in their position. These types of interviews are important so you can later gather feedback from everyone who interviewed the candidate. Panel interviewers may also be able to ask the candidates valuable questions that you didn’t think were necessary.

Read more:What Is a Panel Interview?

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Whats The Most Common Misconception About You

Great salespeople and leaders are self-aware.

Theyll be very aware of how theyre perceived, and that will include misconceptions.

If they dont know how the world sees them, thats a warning flag that their EQ isnt as sharp as it needs to be.

Theres a connection between knowing how youre seen, and being able to adjust your behavior appropriately for any given sales situation.

Introduce Yourself And Give An Overview Of Your Company And The Opportunity

How to Interview Salesperson Job Candidates

This is particularly important if the candidate wasnt given your name ahead of time, and hence, couldnt look you up online.

When youre meeting a prospective client for the first time, building rapport and forging a personal connection is essential. Youll always start off a meeting with a prospect by introducing yourself and your company.

Similarly, an important purpose of the job interview is to allow the hiring manager and the candidate to get to know one another. Introduce yourself and your role in the company and provide an elevator pitch of the job and how it fits into the company structure.

Not everything can be conveyed in a succinct, black-and-white job description. Paint a picture for them. Get them excited to talk about how they envision painting themselves into this picture.

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Are There Any Questions You Shouldnt Ask In An Interview

Absolutelyâand itâs important to know what they are. There are questions related to age, gender, race, and religion that canât be asked because the answers could be used to discriminate against candidates. Look into your local and federal laws to ensure youâre not asking a question that could make a candidate feel uncomfortable or cause problems for you in the future.

For Account Management Positions

  • If a client told you that they liked our product but its too expensive, how would you turn them around?
  • Whats a deal you closed that youre mostly proud of, and why?
  • Whats your track record in delivering on revenue targets and customer satisfaction rates?
  • How would you find new clients?

If youre looking for more examples, check our Account Manager interview questions and Account Executive interview questions.

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What One Achievement Are You Most Proud Of

Interviewers ask this question because they want to see what kind of professional you are, be it a career-driven, talented or success-oriented person. If its not too many, mention all the achievements and awards you have received. If the list is long, pick 2 or 3 of the proudest achievements that have to do with your sales experience.

Answer Example:

Thanks to my communication and negotiation skills, I was named the top-performing employee for 5 consecutive months in my previous company, and I even got a small trophy for always meeting my targets.

Tell Me Something Youve Taught Yourself Recently

SALES INTERVIEW Questions And Answers (How To PASS Your Sales interview!)

Learners. We cant get enough of them.

But which kind of learner do you have on your hands?

Some do their yearly professional development and are satisfied with that.

Others couldnt stop soaking up information if they tried.

Theyre the ones youre looking for. Deep learners. They try to teach themselves more than just sales skills.

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What Sales Tools Or Assets Do You Like To Use

This question functions to assess your competency with sales tools and helps hiring managers envision how youll get the job done. First and foremost, you should be using CRM software like Salesforce or Pipedrive to optimize your sales processes. Working knowledge of data integration tools, sales intelligence technology, and analytics software will also demonstrate that you are capitalizing on every resource available to develop a data-driven sales strategy.

A stalwart answer to this question should also discuss sales assets that will help streamline your procedures and enhance your efficacy when interfacing with prospects. Assets like buyer personas, discovery call checklists, and case studies will help you identify promising leads, uncover critical information from prospects, and communicate the effectiveness of your product.

How Do You Think Our Company Can Improve

Tip: Research the company to see what aspects of what they do that can be expanded. Some companies may be easier to find improvement than others, but be thoughtful about your response and be sure your criticism is constructive.

Example:”I believe that the organization’s social media presence can be improved. Social media operations play an essential role in aligning sales and marketing efforts. If you have a marketing team that posts and interacts with prospects and industry leaders, then it challenges you to learn more about the industry and blends marketing and sales efforts together to get the best results.”

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What Are You Most Proud Of

This question lets the interviewer know what you value about your past experiences. Its an opportunity to speak about accomplishments. Practice answering this in a brief and meaningful way before the interview, so that you give an answer that is meaningful.

Example answers:

I most value my 5 years at XYZ company because it gave me a solid successful sales foundation.

OR, you can make it more personal like this:

I am most proud of helping my brother get through college because our parents couldnt afford to pay for it, and it completely changed his future for the better.

Im most proud of my work on the board of ABC foundation because of the impact we have had on funding life-changing programs.

What Was A Mistake You Made What Did You Learn From It

Top 5 Sales Interview Questions and How to Answer Them ...

You can take this question as an opportunity to show you learn from your mistakes, and dont cover them up.

Some interviewers will phrase this question as what is your greatest weakness? You can answer either the same way.

How to answer:

Mention that you made a mistake, and share the actions you took to immediately correct it, and what you learned from the experience. Be specific, and tell a story.

For example, a common mistake salespeople make is talking too much. You can show you learned your lesson by giving a brief, but complete answer to this question with a short example.

Example answer:

A mistake I made was talking too much.

One time, I realized after a demo that I had failed to listen closely enough during the call, and overlooked a buying signal. I learned to be more comfortable with silence, and ask better questions to understand the thought process of the customer.

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What Do You Think Your Career Will Look Like In 10 Years

Its good to gather some insight into your prospective sales reps long-term career aspirations, and how they see themselves developing over the years to come.

What To Watch For:

You want to find a sales rep who isnt content to sit at their cubicle and cash paychecks. You want someone whos committed to helping the company growand growing as a person alongside.

Tell Me About A Time You Set A Goal For Yourself And Achieved It

You can decide whether you want an answer specifically about goals set in the workplace or any life goal. Even non-sales-related goals and achievements can say a lot about your candidates.

Did they compete in a triathlon? Self-publish a novel? Build their own computer? Ask them to explain why they set that goal, how they went about achieving it, and if theyâve used that method going forward in their lives.

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If You Had A Mentor What Kind Of Things Would They Help You With

This interview question is straightforward.

It tells you whether a candidate has been proactive and thought through their own areas for improvement.

Having clarity around weak spots is a goodthing.

You want people who can articulate where they need help so they can grow.

Otherwise, you run the risk of weaknesses hiding and becoming a problem.

Sales Interview Questions To Ask Managers

TOP 21 SALES Interview Questions and ANSWERS! | (How to PASS a Sales Job Interview!)

16. Give me an example of when you needed to provide difficult, but honest, feedback to a friend or colleague?

Inevitably, your sales managers will need to have hard discussions with team members, many of whom they may genuinely like as people. Do they have the fortitude to say what is difficult, and can they do so in a way that is both clear and fair?

17. Describe how you handled a sales rep that was failing to meet quota. What steps did you take, and what was the result?

While the previous question deals more with their abilities to provide feedback, this one asks for concrete details around how a manager has handled underperformance. Did your candidate identify the underlying issue and take clear action to resolve it?

18. Share a time when a rep came to you with a sales challenge or problem. How did you manage it? What did the conversation look like?

Coaching is one of the most important skills of a sales manager. One common problem, however, is that many managers arent equipped to coach effectively. This question gives the interviewer greater insight not only into a candidates problem-solving skills, but also their ability to coach and mentor reps.

19. Why dont you want to make more money as an individual contributor?

20. How will you earn the respect of your team?

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Why Did You Pursue A Career In Sales

Why They’re Asking

Like a few other questions listed here, this one helps interviewers gauge how much skin you have in the game. They want to know you have an extremely personal stake in what you do that you approach your career with passion and sincere interest.

With this question, they’re giving you an opportunity to show that you’ll bring solid energy to the position. If you can’t articulate why you like sales, they might think you’re pursuing the position for the wrong reasons.

How to Answer

Be sincere. You obviously have a reason why you got into sales and that should extend beyond, “I wanted to make money.” Start with how you got into the field. Then, explain why you’ve enjoyed it enough to stick with your career trajectory.

Talk about how your personality and skill set align with sales as a practice but also discuss the specific aspects you love about both your day-to-day and overarching goals.

In addition to anticipating some of the most common sales job interview questions, you should be preparing for your sales interview in other ways. Below, you’ll find our top tips.

How To Make The Best Impression

Dress to impress. Show up dressed to impress with a positive attitude.

Know about the company. Interviewers will always appreciate it when you have knowledge about the company and knowledge about the products or services you’d be selling. To that end, do research on the company, including reading recent news stories, browsing social media, and so on.

Practice your interview skills. Practicing responses to frequently-asked job interview questions allows you to give strong answerstargeted to the position at hand. Interviewers expect you to be able to respond to questions fluently, especially to common ones that shouldn’t be a surprise.

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How Do You Prepare For A Tech Sales Interview

Start by gathering knowledge about the companys products. Review their promotional materials and search for articles or blog posts about recent developments. Next, assemble key market intelligence. Learn about the companys competitors, find out how consumers view the companys products, and assess how these products might adapt and change in the near future. Harness this information to tailor your responses when answering the practice questions above.

When preparing for your interview, practice quantifying your past achievements with concrete figures. To convey your prior successes more effectively, try discussing those experiences using the STAR method. This communication framework will help you frame your successes as succinct narratives that demonstrate strong problem-solving capabilities.

Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years

Sales Interview Tips: How to Probe Candidates

Interviewers ask this question to check your stability, see if you are a success-driven person and if youd be the perfect candidate for the position you are applying for. When they ask this question, it is usually unclear if they mean long-term or short-term career goals. Now, you could simply ask them, OR you could answer both. Start with your short-term goal and move on to the long-term. This will tell the recruiter that you are a goal-oriented and rational person.

Answer Example:

As I will have to start my career as a sales representative, I would like to be a team leader in 2 to 3 years, gradually climb the stairway of success and hopefully, one day, be among the Top Level Management.

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Describe Your Favorite Boss And What Made Them Your Favorite

Caution! If you describe your best boss to favorably, you may paint a picture of yourself only being able to work with that level of support. This question can set up a trap by making you appear inflexible, or not-independent .

Example answer:

My favorite boss and I had a great relationship.

I didnt like to be micromanaged, so initially I said, If you leave me alone, I will make you money. I had a lot of experience, and a proven track record. He agreed.

But I realized that I was being more of a maverick than a team player and after a while, we adjusted that expectation. He felt the team could learn from me and I agreed. We both thought I could learn from them, even though I was in major accounts.

So, the work relationship evolved in a different and even better way.

When Do You Give Up On A Lead

Polite persistence is key, but sometimes it is appropriate to give up on a lead. Hiring managers are looking for reps who know how to make the most of their time, which requires discretion concerning unresponsive leads.

Consider letting go if youve sent a proposal but its expiration date has passedand the lead ignores numerous outreach attempts via phone, email, or LinkedIn. Its also acceptable to give up on a lead if youve made two weekly attempts to connect for four weeks in a row, and your follow-ups have not received a response. Finally, you might want to give up on a lead when a key decision-maker has declined the offer and provided a strong explanation for their decision. Do not take rejection personally.

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What’s Your Greatest Weakness

This question is a great opportunity to take a negative and turn it into a positive. It’s among the most common interview questions and for that reason, it’s also known for evoking some of the most cliché responses. Saying something like, My biggest weakness is that I never give up on closing a sale, won’t come across genuine or honest.

To answer this question, think of a true weaknessyou get stressed out easily, or your habit of multitasking can lead to distraction. Then, give specific examples as to how you’re making an effort to strengthen these weaknesses. This will show the interviewer that you’re honestand when you recognize a weakness, you know how to take action to fix it.

How Do You Keep Up To Date On Your Target Market

Sales Interview Tips – Sell Yourself In a Job Interview

What to look for:

Even if the target market of their last job is totally different from the one they’re interviewing for, this will show their ability to find and keep up with relevant trade publications and blogs. Dig deeper and ask for a recent piece of information they’ve learned from one of the publications.

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How Do You Prioritize Your Time At Work

This question is a more helpful version of âTell us about a typical day at your jobâ because it forces candidates to show their thought process behind their work.

Itâs an especially valuable question when hiring salespeopleâevery workday involves juggling different prospects, qualifying leads, scheduling meetings, and dozens of other tasks. Knowing how to create order out of chaotic to-do lists is the only path to success.

When candidates are answering this question, look for those who:

  • Show a good understanding of time sensitivity
  • Differentiate between the various parts of the sales process and how to approach them
  • Stress the importance of prioritizing high-volume, high-impact tasks, like returning emails and calls

The best interviewees will show they clearly understand their main job functions and have methods for prioritizing tasks.

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