14 Common Sales Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

14 Common Sales Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Landed a big interview for an exciting sales role and want to ace it? You should know sales managers have high expectations for your persuasive powers and sales knowledge. The good news is if you don’t have much (or any) “on-the-ground” experience. You can still get ahead of the competition by learning how to sell yourself. Simply keep reading to discover 14 common sales rep interview questions and how to answer them.

In this article, you can find common sales interview questions and answers, including:

How to Prepare for a Sales Interview

The best way to ace a sales interview for any sales role is to sell yourself. Think of yourself as a product. Then apply the same principles to the sales interview, treat it as any other sales meeting and demonstrate how you’re the solution to your prospective employers’ problems.

Only arrive at the sales interview having done your research on the company. Know your interviewer’s role (and name!) in the organisation and a sense of the company’s sales strategy. Always prepare examples of how your previous sales experience will help you contribute to the team’s success.

Also read: Sell Yourself: 10 Expert Tips For Acing Your Next Sales Interview

Common Questions Asked in a Sales Interview

Below are some typical questions you may be asked in a sales interview. Simply read on to discover and review them alongside how to answer them based on your qualifications, skills, product knowledge, achievements, and sales experiences. In addition, learn how SOCO Academy can help give you that extra chance of getting the job.

Basic sales rep interview questions

Master these sales interview questions first, then move on to the expert questions for extra interview points!

1. Based on your understanding, how would you describe our business?

Many hiring managers want to know you did your homework. Or, at the least, you put the company name through Google. It demonstrates that you value preparation and are interested in what they do.

To prepare for your sales interview, look at their website, LinkedIn and other socials to get a better idea of their goals, mission, statement and culture.

If the sales manager doesn’t ask, you can always raise the question to score extra points. Doing so will demonstrate your consideration -especially if you ask for specifics.

How To Answer

[Hiring Company] is a [type of]-owned business that recently [notable event]. I’m familiar with your company’s innovative solutions like [product/service]. I see the value it provides your target market of [target market] and how it has done so against [competitors].

Overall, when researching your company, your vision caught my attention. I like how you approach your customers and the long-term goals you try to achieve with your activities. Hopefully, I will get an opportunity to help you achieve these goals.

2. Name two things about this position that attracted you?

When interviewers ask this question, they gauge your enthusiasm about the company and the role up for grabs. Mostly, they want to know that you’re a good fit, so if you can’t clearly answer the question, they might pass on you in favour of someone more engaged.

More so, if this is your first job in sales. You need to know why you’re interested in sales in general. Other than money, what’s motivating you to join the industry? How do your skills align with the role you’re interviewing for?

How To Answer

I’ve always been fascinated by this industry. So when researching your company, I was impressed by how your solution helps its customers. At this stage of my career, it would be a pleasure to learn more about the different solutions you offer and contribute to the company’s success with my current skill set that I’m eager to expand in this position.”

3. What does a qualified prospect look like?

When sales managers ask this question, they want to see if you know what makes a high-quality prospect. For this reason, not only should you know and understand the “3As” of qualifying:

  1. Ask – If they need your product or service
  2. Afford – Can they can afford your product or service
  3. Authority – Do they have the authority to make the buying decision

But, you always need to demonstrate you know that qualifying a prospect requires determining whether or not someone interested in your services is a good fit as a customer. 

How To Answer

A qualified prospect resembles the product’s ideal customer profile (ICP) who has expressed interest in a need for our products or services. Not only do they require the solution, but they also express an ability to afford and decide to purchase.

4. What do you do when a prospect says “no”?

This type of question measures how well you can handle rejection. Sales managers want to know if you have the confidence to ask the prospect why they said “no.” They’re looking for a quality of persistence, someone who wants to see still if there’s an opportunity for a “yes.” If not, do you also know when to move on after a lost sale and close the next one?

How To Answer

Whenever a customer says “no”, I take that as “not yet” or “not right now.” I know the only way to keep customers happy is to learn from past mistakes. Then to focus on how I can make improvements in the future. Overall, I try to look at the situation objectively to uncover growth opportunities.

5. What does it take to close a sale?

Too many salespeople go through the sales process and then wait for the prospect to close the sale. A salesperson deserving of the job will know how to use different questions to ‘trial close’ or ‘hard close’ a sale based on the progress of the sale.

How To Answer

Instead of asking outright for a sale, I help prospects make small incremental commitments. That way, I get them used to saying “yes”, so when I finally ask for the sale or use a trial close – they’re more likely to say yes.

6. How would your colleagues describe you?

This question seeks to reveal your self-perception, as well as get a sense of how you will fit in with existing employees:

How To Answer

My previous work peers always mention my [quality.] I lend this to always having a [strategy, tactic, mindset] for interacting with [prospects, customers, suppliers, etc.]

7. What are your long-term career goals?

Interviewers always want a sense of how ambitious you are. More so, they want to know how much dedication you have to stay in a role or whether you’d be looking to leave quickly for another opportunity.

How To Answer

My long-term career goals involve working with a company like yours. I’m also looking to improve my skills in areas like [leadership, selling, customer service etc.]

8. What questions do you ask during a sales presentation?

Not only does this sales interview question test how well you know what type of questions to ask prospects. But whether you can ask the right ones to diagnose and prescribe the right solution. Remember, a great salesperson can listen as well as they can talk!

How To Answer

I continuously ask prospects what they think, use my showmanship abilities, and have prospective decision-makers interact with the product. I ask them to try it out to see how easy it is, how soft it feels, or how fun it is – whatever the defining benefit and feature is. When the customer gets involved, they can imagine themselves using the product, making it easier to buy.

Free sales training, delivered to your inbox.

Accelerate your sales results in every area. Download 5 exclusive sales tools to :

Get instant access to a 3-part mini-course & 6 bonus videos to master the entire sales process -at absolutely no cost.

Download 5 Free Sales Tools

9. How do you get referrals and repeat business?

Sales managers want excellent salespeople who don’t see customers as a 1-off transactional deal. They see them as long-term partners who can refer business and will come back for more. Demonstrate that you know how to increase referrals and repeat business.

How To Answer

By maintaining nurturing, valuable and loyal relationships with current and satisfied customers. I know that people talk, specifically when they’re looking for referrals. So I always ensure I’m on the top of every customer’s mind and always strive to leave a positive lasting impression.

10.  What do you think about cold calling?

Cold calls are still a foundational aspect of sales. So if interviews ask about your experience and perspective on it, they want to know how outgoing you are and whether you can appropriately start a conversation. To ace, this sales interview question, be sure to provide examples to back up your opinion.

How To Answer

I’m very comfortable with cold calling. While the results can be unpredictable when you pick up the phone, the best way to make this call successful is first to research the person and the company before interactions begin. I had great success with this tactic during my time at [Company Name]


Expert sales rep interview questions

11.  How do you deal with unreasonable customers?

Interviewers for sales roles will want to learn more about your customer service experience. Your answers can help them better understand how you approach customer complaints, your knowledge of common customer service skills and how you use conflict resolution strategies.

How To Answer

I find that the best way to deal with unhappy, angry or frustrated prospects making unrealistic demands is to be empathetic. I actively listen to their problem, ask clarifying questions and ultimately try to break down the issue so that I can provide appropriate resolutions.

12. What makes you a good salesperson?

By asking this sales interview question, your response will give interviewers a sense of the qualities you think are most important in a salesperson. Hence, your answer should match what the company is looking for in a candidate. To do this, refer to the job description.

How To Answer

I’m passionate about helping customers find solutions to their most pressing problems. I do this by building and maintaining a personal connection with prospects and customers. However, where I really shine as a salesperson is being highly organised in following up with customers. For example, I never let an email linger without quickly responding. Plus, I always spend time with new products. A process which helps me answer questions or objections with ease.

13. What are you looking for in an organisation that would make it a good fit for you?

Interviewers asking this question want to test whether you research companies in advance and how extensively. Remember, your answer will reveal what motivates you, whether it’s the company culture, the specific product, or other factors – be sure you know what intentions you’re relaying.

How To Answer

[Company]’s product has left a lasting impression on me. I’m impressed by how it makes [target audience] lives better. I think it’s clear to say they will feel [emotion] about [pain/problem/situation] if they own this product. That’s because, to me, it’s essential I only spend my days selling items I believe in. Something that I would be excited to tell my friends, family and strangers about.

14. Say you have saved enough wealth to stop working tomorrow – what would you do?

This common sales interview question is more to gauge your motivations in life. While sure, everyone needs to make money as a means to an end; interviewers also want to see what gets you up in the morning. Describe what you’re passionate about to answer this question.

Also read:

Increase your chances of getting the job with SOCO/ Academy

While knowing common sales interview questions helps, sales is still a skill that needs to be learnt, practised and mastered. Do that anywhere, anytime, with certified Sales SOCO Academy courses.

Get instant access now and take your last-minute sales interview preparations to the next level. Join SOCO Academy and learn the skills all sales professionals need to master to be effective in sales. Then go get ’em! 

SOCO Academy, range of online sales training programs and courses
Scroll to Top