Sales Interview Questions: Expert Tips For Finding Top Performers
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Ready to land your dream sales job? Discover the top sales interview questions you must nail to impress your interviewer!
Sales managers often find that sales reps are great at interviews. That’s not really surprising. A sales representative makes it their job to connect to the people with which they are speaking.
They show empathy, seek to solve problems, and overcome objections as part of their normal sales process.
It’s not difficult to adapt these skills to the interview questions they may be asked. In reality, they are only dealing with a different target audience.
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that sales reps are good at answering sales interview questions. But it might make it challenging for a sales manager to determine who is the best for a sales job.
It is the responsibility of hiring managers to have prepared and proven sales interview questions that will test sales candidates.
Here’s a selection of sales interview questions that might be used to reach this goal. But, first, let’s discuss why questions are so important.
Answers to sales interview questions provide valuable further insight to hiring managers than what is included in a resume.
The interviewing process is a great way to identify candidates that would make good prospects for your sales team.
Naturally, the way to learn more about the skills and traits of candidates is through a series of in-person interviews with questions asked by a sales manager.
Many sales teams choose to have multiple interviewers present so that focus can be given to different aspects of the candidate’s interview:
In this way, a hiring manager can get a more rounded view of each candidate with an assurance that nothing is overlooked.
Now, let’s take a look at some specific sales interview questions and why they are so effective.
Our first sales interview question is a very common one. A hiring manager wants to test an applicant’s approach to selling.
It identifies the ability of a sales rep to clearly explain each step of the process in the sales cycle. It highlights their communication skills and attention to detail.
This and related job interview questions will also help to evaluate what steps sales candidates find most important.
Ideally, this is similar to what their day will be like at your company. Of course, some adjustments will be required.
However, interview questions of this nature help the interviewer gauge the amount of adjustment that will be needed to a new sales process.
It might reveal what aspects of the sales cycle a representative is most involved in and the extent of their sales career.
Getting to know their familiar routine may also indicate a mismatch between experience with a short sales cycle and expectations of what they will face at your company.
No one has 100% success. If the sales representative isn’t willing to admit that, it could be a red flag.
When sales goals aren’t met for one reason or another – a downward market, competition, errors in approach – a sales rep should be ready to learn from the failure. This is the basis for a strong sales strategy.
Actively listen for the lessons they learned and actions they took after the mishap.
Your company is the most important factor in a hiring decision. Good sales managers will want to test whether a candidate has done their homework.
This question may answer what effort the sales rep will put into their work in prospecting by conducting in-depth research.
It helps to determine if they are familiar with your company’s products or simply sent their resume out to every business they could find.
A good sales rep will have visited the company website and looked at reviews of the company online. They may request more information about your specific sales environment.
Follow through on this question with a request for the sales rep to pitch your company’s products and services or those from their previous employer. This gives valuable insight into their methods and industry knowledge.
Job interview questions like this test the candidate’s ability to think on the fly. Sales representatives need to connect with their audience in a short amount of time.
What the sales rep teaches isn’t as important as their ability to clearly explain concepts and their engagement.
Did the sales candidate:
While confidence is valuable, sales reps should also know their limits. Inexperienced candidates may be eager to please, but they should understand that they need knowledge of a company and its products first.
A better answer involves a willingness to make a cold call but seeks more information on the company’s sales strategy, product capabilities, and onboarding training.
Hopefully, a candidate has some successes under their belt. If they’ve been in a sales career before, this can be an effective opportunity to let them describe some of their wins.
Use their response as a sales assessment test to see what they focus on. Are they only concerned with the highest commission they’ve received? Or do they also focus on the long-term benefits to their previous company and the customer?
Just like their failures, a sales representative should also learn something from their successful sales.
Every sales position will come across bumps in the road. Behavioral sales interview questions like this one help sales leaders understand if the sales candidate can deal with conflict, unexpected situations, and other problems fluidly.
It also identifies if the sales professional has the self-awareness that allows them to benefit from their previous sales experience.
A successful salesperson will be able to communicate the problem that arose and detail the steps they took to address it. This is an opportunity for the candidate to highlight their creativity and problem-solving skills.
What’s interesting about sales interview questions of this type is that either answer could be “right”.
Smaller deals can add up quickly and guaranteed sales keep the salesperson moving forward. On the other hand, a sales rep who is willing to take risks confidently can be beneficial for a sales team.
Weak sales candidates will follow either option without a deeper explanation of their thinking and reasons for it.
Stronger candidates will be ready to explain the value of both options and can vocalize their thought processes.
Every sales professional has their strengths and weaknesses. Interview questions like this are a type of sales assessment test that helps reveal if the candidate is self-aware.
It’s good when a candidate can identify their personal traits and sales skills like persistence in sales efforts and being a good communicator.
However, they should also strive to identify areas in which they have grown, how their attitude will benefit the sales teams, and a desire to reflect the company culture.
Roleplaying is always an effective interview technique when it comes to sales interview questions. The sell-me-this-pen question helps hiring teams evaluate the salesperson’s abilities and see them in action as if they were making a sales call.
The item that is sold isn’t relevant. What interviewers are looking for is the ability to think quickly, connect with the target audience, and speak to the positive points of any product.
The interviewer can throw in customer objections that are common in the target market to see how the candidate will react to customers.
Interview questions are a highly valuable tool for sales leaders. They help in evaluating the skills, personality, and focus that a candidate brings to the table.
So, for your next sales interview, prepare some effective questions that will assist you in identifying your next sales team member.