Sales – Marketing Job Interview
At it’s most basic, sales is all about providing a solution to a client’s problems and in the case of a job interview for a sales position, the client is the hiring company, the problem is they’ve got a position to fill, and ideally, you’d like to be the solution. That means being on top of your interview game and knowing exactly how to answer those sales interview questions.
When you’re interviewing for a sales position, your goal is to sell yourself to the hiring manager. A sales job interview is one of the most challenging interviews there is, since interviewers will have high expectations for your persuasive powers.
During the interview, you’ll need to do more than simply respond to questions. Hiring managers will expect you to show that you’re an effective salesperson, too.
How to Prepare for a Sales Interview
As a sales representative, you’re uniquely situated to succeed at an interview. Just think of yourself as the product, and apply the same principles you would use in any sales meeting, demonstrating that you’re a good fit and selling yourself to the interviewer.
Arrive at the interview with a sense of the company’s sales strategy and some examples of how your previous sales experience has prepared you to contribute.
How to Make the Best Impression
Dress to impress. Show up dressed to impress with a positive attitude.
Know about the company. Interviewers will always appreciate it when you have knowledge about the company and knowledge about the products or services you’d be selling. To that end, do research on the company, including reading recent news stories, browsing social media, and so on.
Practice your interview skills. Practicing responses to frequently-asked job interview questions allows you to give strong answerstargeted to the position at hand. Interviewers expect you to be able to respond to questions fluently, especially to common ones that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Interview Questions and Sample Answers
Why are you interested in this position?
This is a common question and ice breaker in interviews. And if you don’t have a good answer for it — why are you even here?
Does the position play to your strengths? Explain which strengths and how.
Even if your interviewer doesn’t ask you this question, it’s a strong way to begin or end your meeting.
Sample Answer: I’ve always loved meeting new people. I also enjoy problem solving and to me, sales is the perfect combination of both of those loves. When I was in high school I used to shop at a little store over by my house every weekend. While their products were incredible, they never seemed to have a lot of business and the store was always on the verge of closing. I managed to talk my way into my first job there as a sales associate and in the first week I was able to sell more than the store had sold in an entire month, and within six months the company was turning record profits. That experience just made me realize how much I loved what I was doing, and I’ve been in sales ever since.
Why are you interested in working for our company?
A hiring manager is going to want to know specifically what it is about their company that interests you. This means making sure you’ve done your research before you go in to the interview.
A hiring manager won’t want to bring on a member of the sales team if they have no desire to sell what the company is making or the service they’re providing. Talk about how much you like what they make and demonstrate your enthusiasm for their products and/or services.
It’s also perfectly acceptable to talk about other aspects of the company that don’t involve sales that you’re interested in, including the company culture, their philanthropic activities, or anything else about them that genuinely sparks an interest in you. An employer is going to be much more willing to hire someone who is genuinely excited about the company. Just remember to make sure you include past experiences that you’ve had that are relevant to the question and the position.
Sample Answer: I’ve always felt good customer service is a critical part of any winning sales strategy and the reputation your company has for nurturing and maintaining long term client satisfaction is something that’s always impressed me. A few years ago, while working for another company I realized that while our sales numbers were solid, our client retention was another story, which is why I helped spearhead a campaign centered on long term customer satisfaction.
What are your long-term career goals?
Employers want to get a sense of your ambitions. They also want to know if you’re likely to stick around or whether you might be lookingfor a new position in a hurry.
Sample Answer: I’m eager to work in sales in a mission-driven company such as yours. Long term, I’m always looking to improve my selling skills and, in particular, I’m eager to grow my leadership skills, eventually taking on managerial responsibilities.
What motivates you?
Interviewers want to know what makes you tick. It’s a smart idea to connect your response to the company’s goals. Financial matters (like a compensation bonus) may be a big motivator, but try to go beyond that in your answer.
Sample Answer: Every quarter, I strive to go beyond my quota and compete with my personal best results from previous periods. My goal is always to see growth in my sales records with each new quarter.
How would your colleagues describe you?
As well as revealing your self-perception, this question allows interviewers to get a sense of how you would fit in with the office culture.
Sample Answer: My peers at work always mention my persistence. So often, I think sales are lost because of a lack of follow-through. So I’m always determined to have a strategy with scheduled benchmarks when it comes to interacting with prospects—that way, I never miss a potential powerful touch-point moment.
What makes you a good salesperson?
Your response will give interviewers a sense of the qualities you think are most important in a salesperson. Ideally, your answer will match what the company looks for in a candidate.
Sample Answer: I enjoy the personal connections with prospects and customers, but I think where I really shine is in the details. I’m hyper-organized; my calendar is full of reminders to follow up with customers, and I never let an email linger without quickly responding. Plus, I always spend time with new products—lots of time. This allows me to be able to answer questions fluently, showing off features that aren’t always obvious.
Sell me this pen.
This is a classic interview question! Interviewers are looking for a demonstration of your selling tactics. Don’t be shy, and take this question seriously.
Sample Answer: Can you tell me your name? Sorry, I couldn’t understand. Please, write here your name. If you don’t have a pen, I can sell this to you.
How comfortable are you with making cold calls?
Depending on the position and the company you’re interviewing with, a part of your job may very well rely on your ability to make cold calls. While cold calls can be tough as you’re reaching out to a complete stranger in the hopes of selling something, a good sales person will have what it takes to turn these tough calls into sales opportunities.
Sample Answer: I genuinely enjoy cold calls! I’ve found that some of my most rewarding and interesting conversations have come from cold calls and those have turned into my best clients. I remember I had one cold call where the woman who answered the phone couldn’t hear me properly at first and thought I was calling for a totally different reason. The first five minutes of our conversation played out like a bad sales version of “Who’s on First.” When we finally got it all figured out, we both ended up laughing. That initial miscommunication was such an effective ice breaker that I was able to not only pitch her our product but close the deal in record time.