How Would You Describe Your Ideal Workplace Culture
Speaking of culture, make sure the person identifies with your companys mission, vision, core values, and rewarded behaviors.
Too many hiring managers confuse company culture with perks like happy hours and ping pong tables. But what really defines a companys culture is its rewarded behaviors and its core values. Look for candidates who are on the same page.
Avoid turnover by hiring the right fit for your company culture.
How Would You Explain Complex Software To A Prospect Who Is Not As Well
This question matters tremendously to a software company, so thats why we educate salespeople on breaking down complex topics in easy-to-understand terms.
A company wants to feel confident that the sales team will close on deals without making the customer feel as if they dont really understand the technology.
A good answer:
- Shows you can evaluate a prospects level of understanding and meet them where they are
- Demonstrates how youve broken down a difficult concept before
- Shows creativity in the way you make complex software accessible
Take It To Go!
Situation-Based Sales Interview Questions
What Would You Consider To Be Your Most Significant Sales Deal Why
I had been dealing with a senior level manager in a company for my product and the sale was almost finalised, when he went on a sabbatical.
His replacement was someone quite different in personality and didnt seem eager on continuing the deal.
I had to modify my approach and reconnect with him in a way that he found suitable.
Although it took a while, I felt rewarded when I closed that deal as my perseverance paid off while cultivating two business relationships.
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How Do You Approach Long Sales Cycles And Short Sales Cycles
First, an interviewer wants to see if you can tailor your sales approach to both scenarios. Depending on the company, you might have several different products, and each may have its own cycle.
Interviewers want to see if youre aware that long and short sales cycles require different strategies. If you dont know that theyre different, it may hurt your chances of employment in the long run.
A good answer:
- Explains the differences between short and long sales cycles
- Highlights how you would use your strongest skills in each scenario
- Ties it back to the way you might sell the companys products
Sample Communication Skills Interview Questions For Sales Representative Position
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How Do You Handle Customer Complaints
Sales associates work with different types of customers and sometimes encounter complaints. An appropriate answer focuses on de-escalation and finding a creative solution for every case. It helps to use STAR model to approach an aggressive client. Here’s how to use the STAR model:
- Situation: Provide a background for your story
- Task: Explain what you need to do in the situation
- Action: Discuss the steps you take to address such a situation
- Result: Tell the interviewer what the outcome of the situation was
Example:“I once had a client who returned shoes that they had worn for a few days. She claimed the shoes were very uncomfortable. However, the state of the shoes would make them hard to resell. The customer started yelling and insisting that they were still new. I consulted my manager, and we helped her find a pair that fit well at a discount rather than giving a full refund. We sent the shoes back to corporate headquarters for repair, and they came back in the best shape for sale.”
Questions To Avoid Asking In A Sales Interview
Wait? Are there questions you dont want to ask during a sales interview? Yes, there are.
While asking thoughtful questions works in your favor, asking the wrong ones will actually work against you.
What kinds of questions should you avoid? Well, one of the biggest issues is asking anything that you should already know or could easily find out.
For example, requesting an overview of the job duties is a big no-no. Why? Because they are usually in the job ad. By asking, it looks like you didnt even bother to review the job description, and that wont win you any fans.
The same goes for basic questions about what the company does or sells. This is stuff you can find out with a quick Googling or a trip to the companys website. If you go this route with your questions, you make it clear that you didnt do your homework.
Finally, any question that could seem unprofessional, inappropriate, or presumptuous isnt usually wise. The same goes for anything that might put your capabilities into question or that may make it seem like youre hiding something.
So, what do some of those questions look like? Well show you. Here are five questions you want to avoid asking during a sales interview.
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How Do You Structure Commission
Learning more about commission structure will reveal much about the organizations values and expectations. A good follow-up question: How much do your highest earners make? That demonstrates youre interested in being at the top, not just somewhere in the middle.
Use the interviewers answers to guide other questions. Ask them about new verticals, products, and other plans.
Have You Ever Financed Any College Tuition
Some sales managers have asked this question to fresh graduates to find out if they had to do work instead of getting a free ride. Its a simple yes or no question. Many people say that they worked part-time or summers if they werent required to pay college tuition. This is not a problem.
Answer honestly. There is no need to justify your answer. The past is history!
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Questions To Close The Interview
If youre in sales, then you know how important it is to close a meeting/demo/deal. The same goes for the interview. You want to close the interview, overcome any concerns, and inquire about next steps.
Here are some questions to help you close the interview:
32. Can I answer any other questions for you?
33. What are the next steps in the interview process?
34. When should I expect to hear from you?
35. Do you have any questions or concerns about me moving forward in the interview process?
36. If I do not hear from you by Friday, could you I reach out to you directly?
Describe A Time When You Had A Difficult Prospect And How You Handled That Situation To Win The Sale
What to look for:
The answer to this question shows how they approach difficult prospects and whether they can put aside their pride to move a deal forward for the greater good of the company. Listen for a clear explanation of the situation, the steps they took to fix it, and the results of their actions.
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Walk Me Through One Of Your Most Strategic Sales Cycles From Contact To Contract
This is the easiest way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Youll learn really quickly whether your candidate understands the components of a successful sales cycle.
Youll also learn which sales methodology they subscribe to if any.
A superstar will surprise you with a unique take on the process, or an insightful reason for using a certain tactic.
What Is Your Description Of Our Company
Tip: Read the description of the company on their website and read content posted on its social media pages to understand what the company does.
Example:“This organization is a B2B marketing company that sells SaaS products to help centralize their business and marketing efforts. The software has increased business productivity by 30%, and it has received testimonials from three Fortune 500 companies.”
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How Do You Leverage Customer Stories And Use Them In Your Sales Process
You need to understand the importance of customer stories to answer this question well. Generally, people are more willing to buy if they see that others have had good experiences.
When interviewing an applicant, a company will need to see how youll take positive news and leverage it in your sales processes to close other deals.
A good answer:
- Shows you understand how strong customer stories really are
- Demonstrates how you pick the right story for the right situation
- Explains how and when youve used storytelling to sway someone before
How Do You Think Our Company Could Be More Successful
Another part of a sales job is giving constructive criticism without coming off as too negative. We like to teach our graduates the value of staying positive at all times in an interview.
An employer wants to know what you think the company could do better: they can tell if youll bring a fresh perspective to the team.
A good answer:
- Speaks to your research on the companys structure, values and market
- Focuses on the solution to rather than the cause of the problem
- Talks about the part youll play in the solution
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Tell Me About The History/growth Of The Company
As a salesperson, its important to ask about the history and future growth of a company. You want to be able to make an impact right away and the future of the company could impact how you perform.
For example, if the company is in maintenance mode, then your role would be more of an account executive or client management-oriented.
On the other hand, if the company is rapidly expanding or rolling out new products, then you would be spending more time hunting and finding new business.
The priorities of the company indicate where you will be spending your time as a sales rep.
Tell Me About Your Biggest Achievement
While this doesnt relate directly to the workplace, it can give you an insight into the candidates values which is useful for hiring at all levels, from entry-level candidates to senior leaders. Understanding what motivates your employees is key to the future success of your sales team.
In addition to this, the way a candidate chooses to answer this question will highlight their ability to think fast and present a rationale behind their decisions. It can also provide insight into the whether the candidate will fit in well with the team.
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What Do You Not Like About Sales
Tip: Be candid in your answer, but you want to follow up by discussing what you love about sales and what drives your motivation. Positive and negatives exist in each job, but you want to ensure to the hiring manager that the positives show why you applied to this position.
Example:“Sales can be a high-intensity position, but my drive for success and providing a service for customers are the reasons why I applied for this position and want to make sales my primary career choice. Acts of service done on the customer’s behalf play an integral role in the fulfillment I have for sales.”
How Would You Integrate Teamwork To Respond To A Customer’s Question
Sales associates need to be knowledgeable about their products and services. However, sometimes you don’t have an answer to a customer’s questions. Employers want associates who provide their customers with facts to help them make an informed decision. Demonstrate your ability to follow up with helpful information.
Example:“If I encounter a question I can’t answer, I respond honestly to the client and reassure them that I’ll make an inquiry and get back to them. If they are there with me, I’ll ask a colleague or my manager to help. We can help the client together, or I can request them to leave their contact information so I can get back to them with an answer.”
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Tell Me Something Youve Taught Yourself Recently
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.
Have You Ever Had A Manager You Didnt Like Why
This is another tricky and revealing question. If you had a manager from Hell, you can say so, as long as you speak about their actions factually, and not emotionally.
How to answer:
Do: Separate the person from their behaviors. A disorganized, negative and indecisive manager makes sense to be awful! Talk about the impact of their actions on you and the team. Try to mention how you communicated clearly and responsibly to correct the problem, if there was one.
Dont: Mention personal digs, like she was annoying, lazy, impossible, a drunk, or flirtatious. These words are judgmental, less factual and more emotional, and can sound like you are bashing the manager and thus can backfire.
I had one manager who was very kind, but who could have been more effective at setting goals and managing up to the executive team.
We always hit our number despite the difficulties she had in setting expectations, but the morale of the department started to decline, and turnover started to affect our ability to perform.
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What Is Your Sales Strategy
Hiring managers want to see if your sales strategy and approach align with the company culture. Emphasize the essential aspects of a sales interaction, such as understanding your customer needs or problems. This also helps to show that you are an active listener.
Example:“First, I always listen to understand my customers’ needs. Alternatively, I initiate the conversation to be welcoming and get to discuss their needs. After that, I offer a product or support that can help fulfil the needs they’ve just expressed. I always encourage repeat business by making a personal connection with customers.”
Why Did You Leave Your Last Job
This is among the trickiest sales interview questions. Thoughtfully explaining why you left your last job will tell the employer a lot about your personality. You’ve likely left, or are thinking about leaving, your last sales job because it wasn’t a good fit or because you didn’t like the work environment, the pay, or management. Though they may be truthful answers, all of these reasons carry a negative connotation and will pull down the mood of the interview.
First, state something positive about your last job. Maybe you learned a lot or enjoyed the people you worked with. Then, shift the focus of why you left by talking about what you’re looking for in your next job that your past job didn’t have. This might be more responsibility, relocation, or a different company culture. This will present your past work experience in a positive light and compliment the position for which you’re interviewing.
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How Have You Become Better
If youre looking to hire sales candidates who can eventually move up the ladder to fill management roles, ask questions that uncover whether someone has a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset.
Leaders should always be learning, and demonstrating to others what theyve learned. When a good example is set at the top, those desired behaviors trickle down.
In What Areas Is Your Company Growing Or Looking To Grow
Asking this question will provide you with necessary information about the current goals of the company in addition to showing your interest in the companys success. As a strong salesperson, you are interested in growing your number of customers and growing your relationship with customers. This question can also help you assess the opportunities there are to transfer locations or be promoted in the future.
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Sales Interview Questions To Ask Enablement Leaders
26. What is your interpretation of sales enablement?
Sales enablement can mean different things to different companies. For some, it simply means providing reps with the right content at the right time or aligning sales with product marketing. However you choose to staff the position, its important that your new sales enablement manager aligns with how the organization views enablement.
27. What would you need from the team youre joining to be successful in this role?
Your candidates answer to this question will indicate whether they will be a good cultural fit for your organization. For example, if you need them to get into the weeds to figure out a project, make sure that willingness and lack of ego is demonstrated in their response.
28. What would X look like if you created it from scratch?
For example, ask them to design an onboarding program or facilitate a training session for senior leaders. Then, when they come in for their interview, have them present sales readiness exercises that go along with their plan. Look for answers that indicate theyve executed successful projects before.
29. Were experiencing X problem at our organization. How would you fix it?
30. Tell me about your first year at your current organization. What were your three top priorities and how did you execute on them?
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