Sales interview questions you must prepare
Congratulations! You’ve applied for a sales role and are through to the interview stage. But how do you prepare so that you stand out from other candidates also vying for the same position? There are general interview questions that we recommend you have prepared for any interview, but in this blog post, we focus on specific sales interview questions, how best to answer them, and what interviewers are looking for.
Sales interview questions:
- What kind of sales cycle have you worked with in the past?
- What revenues did you generate?
- Did you meet your targets?
- Describe a time when you successfully sold a product or an idea to someone.
- Picture a scenario where a prospect is rejecting your proposal. What would you do?
- What techniques will you use to sell our product? I.e. what kind of questions do you ask, and what tools do you use?
- How do you stay on top of the latest trends in your industry?
- What is your research process before making the first call?
- How do you identify gaps in your sales technique?
- How do you establish long-term relationships with prospects and clients?
Sales interview questions and answers:
1. What kind of sales cycle have you worked with in the past?
Interviewers will ask questions to build up a detailed picture of your experience to date. They want to know what type of sales experience you have. A sales cycle can be fast or slow. Short sales cycles are typically less than a month, and long sales cycles normally take up to a year. Have you worked in high-value, low-volume sales (slow sales cycle) or high-volume, low-value sales (fast sales cycle)? It would also help to share the value of business you were responsible for bringing in and the volume.
2. What revenues did you generate?
Be very specific and show your interviewer how you have positively impacted business for your previous employers. When interviewers ask this question, they want to hear the specific revenue you generated over a specific period and how you did it.
3. Did you meet your targets?
Like the questions above, the interviewer wants specific examples, including target numbers and how you achieved them. Highlight to the interviewer the number of calls or emails you knew you would have to make to meet your targets. Explain to them how you were able to get to the right person and how you were able to influence them to become a customer. This is also a valuable opportunity to share how you managed your time to achieve targets. The more information you can give about your role in generating revenue, the more you can communicate your suitability for the position.
4. Describe a time when you successfully sold a product or an idea to someone.
Tell the interviewer what the product or idea was, what the value was and your target prospect. Paint the picture for them. Was the buyer initially resistant? How did you persuade them?
5. Picture a scenario where a prospect is rejecting your proposal. What would you do?
Rejection is an integral part of the sales role. When an interviewer asks this question, they want to see how you handle rejection. This is an excellent opportunity to give them an example of when a prospect rejected your proposal, and what you did.
6. What techniques will you use to sell our product?
Use this opportunity to demonstrate your product knowledge and your personality. People tend to buy from people they like. Setting up rapport and common ground is an essential aspect of selling anything. Please do your research on the product or service they offer. Understand what they do and who they are targeting. Based on this information, you can devise how to approach selling their product or service. If you’re struggling, think, ‘Based on what I know, if I had to pick up the phone and sell this product/service, what questions would I ask my prospect?’ Be credible, professional and pleasant.
7. How do you stay on top of the latest trends in your industry?
An essential part of sales is knowing your industry’s latest news and challenges. Therefore, sales professionals must always have their ears to the ground to know what is happening. Subscribing to industry publications, attending industry events, and connecting with people within the industry on Linkedin are all useful ways to stay on top of trends in your industry.
8. What is your research process before making the first call?
Preparation is part of the process for a successful sales call. If a prospect can quickly suss out that you don’t know what you’re talking about, they will not trust you. Always look at the company website, and check the person you’re speaking to out on Linkedin.
With this sales interview question, your interviewer wants to check you can balance your time between research and making calls. Reassure them on how you go about researching before a call. Balance this with how you manage your time between researching and making calls to hit your quota.
9. How do you identify gaps in your sales technique?
This is an opportunity to demonstrate how you handle feedback. Tell your interviewer that you regularly welcome feedback from your managers as an opportunity to learn and improve. If you have a senior sales mentor, say so! It shows that you’re proactive in your attempt to improve. Similarly, if you are subscribed to sales newsletters or read sales books, these can all be used to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to professional development. In sales, it’s transparent. The harder you work, the more successful you’ll be. It’s all about activity and volume. Then fine-tune your closing techniques and prospecting. Sales is all about attitude first and foremost.
10. How do you establish long-term relationships with prospects and clients?
This question is all about your relationship-building skills. Tell your interviewer how you build rapport with your clients. One way you might do this is by listening to what they have going on at the moment. Maybe they tell you they are going on holiday or moving houses. Add these to your notes to bring up the next time you speak to them. Again, examples are always helpful. Try to think of an example to illustrate how you have built long-term relationships with prospects in the past. It’s about being authentic. You can’t sell in an inauthentic way long term and be successful.
These are common sales interview questions you are likely to come across in your next interview. Remember to support all your answers with two or three examples.
You should also be interviewing your interviewer! The interview is as much about them getting to know you as it is about you getting to know them. Come prepared with your own sales interview questions and general questions about what it’s like to work for the company.
Ask this question in your interview
Ask, “Do you feel that I meet your requirements?” There is no downside to asking a direct question. It makes the interviewer feel like you want the role and demonstrates the use of a classic sales technique.
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