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Nine Sales Interview Questions to Consider

If you're applying for a sales job, expect to be asked generic job interview questions as well questions about your skills and abilities in sales.

You'll find both here, so get prepared and get ahead.

Research shows that if you're well prepared for sales interview questions you'll appear more relaxed during your interview. That's particularly important when you’re applying for a sales position because success in sales depends so much on how you present yourself. 

Use Examples In Your Answers To Sales Interview Questions

You may be an absolute pro at making cold calls, but unless you give an example of how you turned a cold call into an important customer, it will be just words to the interview team. Your interviewers will want examples of how you actually used the core competencies needed to succeed in a sales career - qualities such as persuasiveness, communication, negotiation, and presentation.

In your responses to the sales interview questions, describe a situation, explain what you did, and talk about the results. Focus on the effect of your actions and what you learned from the experience. Be brief and to the point.

Open-ended Sales Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about a situation where you had to change your approach with a potential customer because your initial approach did not work.

      How to answer: You want to focus on your resilience - your ability to makes changes when needed. Your answer should also demonstrate your ability to take a variety of approaches with clients.
  2. Tell me how you would handle it if your longtime contact at an important account retired and an inexperienced person took his/her place as your contact.

      How to answer: This question deals with flexibility and with personal relationships. Focus on how you would foster a productive working relationship with the new contact despite his/her lack of experience.
  3. Describe a situation where you worked hard for a contract but it didn't go through. What did you learn and how would you apply it in the future?

      How to answer: Briefly describe the situation. Describe how you were able to deal with disappointment and quickly bounce back. Focus on what you learned and how you would use it in the future.
  4. What is your strategy for approaching a new prospect?

      How to answer: This is your opportunity to showcase your sales skills. Give examples of how you approached one or two prospects.
  5. Tell me about a recent situation where you negotiated a successful contract with a tough customer.

      How to answer: The employer wants to know about your negotiation skills. Give specific examples.
  6. Describe your proudest moment as a sales rep.

      How to answer: Take this as an opportunity to discreetly blow your own horn. Talk about how you used your sales skills for success.
  7. Describe a formal presentation you made to a prospect, internally, or at a conference.

      How to answer: Talk about how you developed a presentation. Focus on how you organized material and related it to the audience. Describe techniques you have found work well. The interviewers don’t want theory about how to do a good sales presentation - they want to know how you do it.
  8. What do you like about sales and what do you not like?

      How to answer: Honestly.
  9. What do you find is the greatest challenge for you in sales?

      How to answer: Your answer should show reflection on your part. Give an example of a specific action you have taken to address a challenge. Show that you’re not stumped by a bump in the road.

Interviews Are Like Auditions

When you're looking for a sales job, your interview is like an audition. You are the product and the employer is the prospect. Your responses to sales interview questions make up your sales pitch. Do a good job of selling yourself and you might just land this all-important contract!

What About General Interview Questions?

Your interviewers are likely to ask some general job interview questions in between specific sales interview questions, so we'd encourage you to take a quick look at these 38 sample interview questions before leaving.

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