Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Tough Sales Interview Questions And Best Answers

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Why Did You Apply For This Position


Through this question, employers want to determine if you are truly passionate about sales or just looking for a handsome salary package. They want to make sure that your understanding of the sales function corresponds to the position you are applying for. Explain why you want to work in sales and what it means to you. Also, make it clear why you are specifically interested in working with their company. Consider when your interest in sales first sparked. Then, using that information, provide the recruiter with useful anecdotes. To demonstrate your enthusiasm for sales, use real-life examples. You could be tempted to spend the interview focused on how this employment will help you achieve your objectives. Instead, focus on how you will be able to contribute to the companys goals.

Would You Close A Guaranteed $15000 Deal Or Attempt A $115000 Deal

Depending on your business and expectations for sales teams, either answer could be the right answer. Theres no denying that small deals add up quickly, and a guaranteed deal allows salespeople to also nurture other prospects.

However, a salesperson willing to take risks and who has the confidence and experience to close a huge deal is an asset to your team. Ideally, a candidate is interested in pursuing both prospects and can balance their workflow accordingly.

Weak Candidate Answer:

  • An overeager candidate who chooses to go after the larger deal without explaining how they make this choice or how theyd secure against the potential loss is too much of a risk for many sales teams.
  • On the flip side, someone who plays it safe without explaining how theyd support sales goals with other prospects doesnt show the initiative to pursue and balance several midsize deals.

Strong Candidate Answer:

Both are appealing, but it ultimately depends on my sales goals that month and what other prospects Im nurturing. If I have several midsize deals that are close to closing, it may be worth the risk to go after the big win. If weve been experiencing a seasonal slump, then I dont believe its wise to pass on guaranteed revenue of any size. Id also consider my personal workload and if the $115,000 deal is even a great fit for both parties.

What Are Your Weaknesses

This tricky interview question is asked to find out how self-aware you are and whether you take action to overcome any technical or soft skill shortfalls.

Before your interview, think of an example of a real life weakness that you are working on overcoming. Make sure you select a weakness that is a nice-to-have skill, not a key requirement related to the job.In the interview, explain how you are working to overcome this weakness. Employers value lifelong learners, so give an example weakness then talk about the positive improvements you are making to show that you are solutions focused.

For example, as a sample answer you might say, I have been afraid of public speaking for a long time, but I recently completed a Toastmasters course and gave a presentation last week to my boss, which Im really proud of. I have another presentation scheduled for next week, and Ive asked a trusted colleague to critique my delivery afterwards so I can continue to develop my skills in this area.

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Who Was Your Favorite Boss And What Would They Say About You

This quiz is to measure your flexibility in the workplace. You cannot be too rigid or inflexible in your thinking, or it will show in this quiz.

Be careful not to criticize their style too much.

My previous manager might describe me as independent-minded, but I prefer to think of myself as a strong team player.

She taught me the importance of always being professional and how to better manage a team by working with them instead of against them. I am grateful for her guidance and believe that I would not be where I am today without her help.

At the same time, I enjoyed the space I had to pursue my process without being micromanaged. Thats another thing I appreciate about her is that she gave me the freedom to explore and learn on my own.

Start With The Best Candidates End With The Best Hires

Your Ultimate Guide to Answering the Most Common Interview Questions ...

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How Do You Determine A Prospect Is A Good Fit

Sales is more than cold calls and creative presentations. Experienced associates can identify quality leads to focus on quality over quantity. Especially considering cold calls and emails have a notoriously low conversion rate, a candidate that knows where to direct their efforts can take the prospect all the way to closing.

Weak Candidate Answer:

  • Some candidates may share their sales process and how they build relationships with prospects rather than how they vet them.
  • Answers should be industry- or product-specific, showcasing experience deeper than general red or green flags in prospecting.

Strong Candidate Answer:

My first step is to research the business and industry itself to determine what hurdles they may be facing and how our product can best benefit them. Next, I learn more about my point of contact and reach out to introduce myself. Once we begin regularly communicating, I continue to watch business trends and note the prospects behavior and interactions.

Are they engaged in our conversation? Are they asking questions or just listening? Do they seem excited or do I have to follow up frequently? If theres any concern that theyre not interested, Ill draft a pitch of what we think our ultimate solution may be and ask outright if theyre interested in continuing our business relationship.

How Do You Think Our Company Can Improve Sales

Research the company to identify what aspects of its operations could be expanded. Some businesses may be easier to fix than others, so choose your words carefully and make sure your criticism is constructive. Rather than criticizing the companys efforts, strive to provide more information in the form of facts and data. If you have a strategy in mind that you believe would benefit the firm, make sure you have a plan in place to put it into action.

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What To Look For In A Sales Rep

In the previous section, we talked about what are typically considered soft skills, and have a lot to do with drive and interpersonal skills. Now, lets look into traits that are more often called hard skills, which are considered more specific, defined and measurable and should definitely be covered by your sales interview questions.

Even though sales roles can vary from entry-level positions through to account management and even executive positions, its crucial to look for these qualities in all potential salespeople, and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Tips For Giving The Best Response To Sales Interview Questions

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

A good response to a sales interview question has several key traits. You may have notice some of these patterns appearing in example answers listed above.

To give a good response, consider the following:

  • Provide specific, quantifiable results to your accomplishments. Interviewers love to see your actions having positive results, especially when it comes with figures that back up your statements. The interviewer can work with this reference point.

  • Be direct. Dont be around the bush. Show the interviewer you understand the question fully. The interviewer want to see you how you set out to achieve your goals, which in this case is to be able to answer the question effectively.

  • Use buzzwords from the job description. Every job description comes with its list of keywords that help highlight certain desirable traits. Remember these words and find a way to incorporate them in your answers.

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Sales Interview Questions And Answers

Sales interview questions and answers are designed to test a salespersons ability to sell products or services. The questions typically focus on the salespersons ability to identify potential customers, understand their needs, and close the sale. The interviewer may also ask questions about the salespersons ability to overcome objections and handle rejection.

Are You Comfortable With Making Cold Calls

Along with networking, cold calls are an integral part of a companys sales strategy. Your response will help the sales hiring manager know more about your experience as well as your personality. This may seem like a yes or no question, but you can elaborate on your answer or provide examples from your experience.

Sample Answer:

Yes. I think cold calls are an integral part of a sales approach. Although the results may be unpredictable, putting in the time to do some research about the company or person can help make most of these calls successful. I have proven experience in this sales tactic, at XYZ Company.

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Sales Knowledge And Strategy

  • Sell me this pen.

  • Sample Answer: This pen is not a typical pen you may find at an office supply store. It comes with an eraser so you can easily get rid of any mistakes that you make while you use it. In addition, it features various ink colors including red, black, and blue ink to meet different needs.

  • What makes you a strong salesperson?

  • What are the top qualities of a salesperson, in your opinion?

  • What do you do when sales are down?

  • Do you use social media to meet sales goals? How so?

  • What hurdles did you often encounter during the sales process and what strategies did you employ to overcome those obstacles?

  • How do you stay up to date on your target market?

  • Sample Answer: I check out social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get an idea of what my target market is talking about. I also read relevant blogs and trade publications that pertain to them and their needs and interests.

  • Describe a typical sales call.

  • What is an example of a creative way you closed a sale?

  • How do you make sure your sales skills are up to date?

  • What is your process for negotiating with a customer?

  • Are you currently reading a sales-related book? If so, which one?

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

    12 of the Toughest Interview Questions With Answers

    This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you are conscious of your strengths and weaknesses and can learn from your mistakes, rather than cover them up. This question is often phrased as what is your greatest weakness? You can answer either the same way.

    How to answer:

    Be authentic and honest about a past mistake, specifically stating what you did to correct it. For example, a common mistake among salespeople is talking too much. Demonstrate you learned this lesson by giving a concise, but complete answer to this question with a brief example.

    Example answer:

    I earlier in my career I talked too much. I realised after a particular demo that I had failed to listen closely enough during the call, and overlooked a buying signal. I have since learned to listen closely, and sell by asking better questions and countering to the customers specific needs.

    Then STOP TALKING! It proves you learned this lesson.

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    What Do You Do To Regroup And Recover After A Bad Day

    A less obvious way this question is phrased is Describe an example of a bad day, and how you dealt with it. The interviewer is seeking to understand how resilient you are, how you manage rejection and stress.

    How to answer:

    A great way to answer that is to acknowledge bad days happen but that you dont dwell on them. You can state that you trust your sales process to turn things around and when you are feeling dejected you take positive action like going for a run, swim or doing something that brings you joy.

    Technical Sales Interview Questions

    When interviewing, its important to identify candidates with strong technical skills. Its vital that sales reps are able to thoroughly understand and explain products to the customer to meet their specific needs. Use these questions to identify those who know their stuff versus those who claim to.

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    How Do You Pass A Sales Interview

    The best way to pass a sales interview is to prepare thoroughly by researching the company, the industry and products or services that will be sold. Youll also need a strong understanding of the sales process and be able to showcase these skills with past successes or mock pitches.

    Confidence is key in sales and in interviewing, so the more you prepare, the better you can sell yourself. You can print your application materials, bring notes with data and experiences, and practice your interview answers as much as youd like so long as they dont feel scripted.

    Hiring Sales Team Members


    Beyond asking the right sales interview questions and common interview techniques, there are other aspects of a candidates work style to look out for. Figuring out what kind of a team player your candidate is should be at the top of your list.

    Hiring managers shouldnt just look for individuals who can confidently sell your product or service alone. Theyll be part of a sales teama group of people that works towards big-picture, long-term goals for the benefit of the entire company.

    An individual sales rep might come across as very skilled at their job: their past sales performance might be out of this world and they can sell literally anything to anyone.

    But what happens when this sales rep doesnt work well with others?

    The rest of your sales team might become unmotivated around that team member or even frustrated about the lack of team spirit.

    And if your team has been collaborative and productive up to this point, you will suddenly have a group of sales reps that cant work well together any longer, jeopardizing the entire business.

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    What Are Your Short

    People who are confident about their careers are attractive to companies. This shows that they have thought about their career choices and have made decisions that are backed by a strong plan.

    This results in employees who are motivated and driven to meet goals.

    Explain your short-term and long-term career goals and why they are so meaningful to you.

    One way to answer this question is by saying that you are excited to gain on-the-job experience and improve your core competencies as part of a mission-driven organization. This will show the interviewer that you are motivated to learn and grow in your role and that you see the company as more than just a place to work.

    I am excited to take on more challenging responsibilities and show what I am capable of. I believe that this will help me to grow and develop my skills further.

    My long-term goal is to be in a management position to focus on developing my leadership skills. I have confidence that achieving my short-term goals will help me reach my long-term objectives. To maintain a healthy balance between work and life, it is important to set realistic goals and manage your time efficiently.

    Describe A Situation Where You Received Criticism From Your Manager How Did You Respond To It

    This question allows you to showcase your willingness to consider others opinions, learn from their feedback, and humbly improve your work as needed. You can answer this question by explaining a situation when you improved your performance as a result of constructive criticism. Talk about how you listened and made changes when your manager criticized your work. It can also be relevant to talk about a period when your work was unfairly criticized and how you handled the situation without making anyone appear terrible. Simply put, you should emphasize your ability to deal with criticism in a calm, cool, and collected manner.

    While answering this question, do not say that you have never been criticized at work because you may come across as arrogant, and this may sound as if youre bragging.

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    Where Do You Not See Yourself In Five Years

    Many interviewers will ask a candidate where he sees himself in the future, but few will ask where he does not see himself in the future.

    While you are essentially asking the same question, you will find that re-wording it is a better way to uncover a candidates true goals and avoid receiving a canned response.

    When you are listening to the candidates answer, look for signs that he is motivated and goal-oriented, and try to determine whether or not he sees himself working at your company for a long time.

    What Made Your Best Manager Your Best Manager

    Tips on How to Answer Retail Interview Questions

    Interviewers ask this because:

    They want to know if theyll be able to offer you a situation where you can thrive.

    How to answer:

    Be specific! Name one or two specific things your manager did to help you reach your goals at work. Maybe they set aside time to help you develop a new skill, frequently gave helpful feedback, or never let a win go unrecognized.

    Think about what matters most to you and let it shine through in your answer.

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    What Would You Do If You Werent In Sales

    This is an opportunity to learn more about the candidate youre talking to and acknowledge some of their tangential skills that could benefit their role or the wider team. Theres not necessarily a wrong answer, as long as the candidate can explain what aspects of the career appeal to them and how they may apply to their position with your company.

    Weak Candidate Answer:

    • Some individuals may share that they cant imagine themselves anywhere but sales. While the enthusiasm is appreciated, it may be insincere or shows the candidates lack of consideration.
    • Weak answers may share an alternate career without connecting that roles expectations or skills to the position the candidate is interviewing for.

    Strong Candidate Answer:

    I think Id be interested in public relations since Id still be able to apply my relationship-building experience. The outreach process of identifying and pitching media outlets is similar, and I personally really enjoy the presentation-building aspect of sales. I could utilize my language and speaking skills to engage with a wider audience and still help drive leads to sales teams.

    • A well-thought-out answer identifies an alternate career, what the interviewee finds interesting about it and how those interests help them excel in sales or as a teammate.
    • Experienced candidates without another professional passion can also share their hobbies while highlighting how their practices benefit their success.

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