Sales Job Interview Guide - 50 Sales Interview Questions And Answers

Sales personal are primarily responsible for selling products and services to customers, retaining customers, being brand ambassadors, optimizing sales operations and processes, building sales teams, etc. with the primary goal of increasing revenue for the company.

There are various job titles for sales personal which are broadly indicative of the following.

1. The positions hierarchy - VP, Director, Regional Manager, Manager, Representative, Consultant, etc.

2. The positions business area – Accounts, Operations, Revenue, Products, Customer Success, etc.

Irrespective of the job hierarchy and the area of business, there are some common core and underlying skills and knowledge required for a sales personal.

Sales Personal Behaviorial Skills

Sales personal require good interpersonal skills, communication skills, leadership skills, strategy and analytical skills, organization skills, negotiation skills, presentation skills, customer management skills, team management skills, etc.

Sales Personal Technical and Job-Related Skills

Sales personal require experience with technical software, tools, and CRMs - for setting short-term and long-term sales targets, creating strategic sales plans, managing and driving sales teams to achieve sales targets, preparing and giving sales presentations, negotiating with customers, up-selling and cross-selling to customers etc.

Key Topics To Prepare For A Sales Interview

Based on above needed behaviorial and technical skills, you must prepare for receptionist interview questions on the following topics.

  • General: Questions about yourself, your education, your experience, your strengths, your weaknesses, your career goals, etc.
  • Sales Metrics and Analytics: Questions on your knowledge of sales metrics such as conversion rates, customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, etc.
  • Customer Acquisition, Management, and Networking Skills: Questions on your ability to network to get new leads, provide customer service during sales process, building relationships with customers, etc.
  • Negotiation and Closing Skills: Questions on your ability to negotiate, articulate value propositions, reach mutually beneficial agreements, guiding customer to closure, etc.
  • Sales Strategies and Goals: Questions on your ability to set short-term and long term-term sales targets; create and refine sales strategies and processes to achieve those targets etc.
  • Adaptability and Resilience Skills: Questions on your ability to adapt to different customer personalities, different situations, change in market trends and product offerings, etc.
  • Technical and CRM Software Skills: •Questions on your skills and experience with CRM software (e.g., Salesforce), internet, email, and social media, etc.
  • Leadership, Teamwork, and Team Management : Questions on your ability to collaborating with colleagues to achieve common goals, hire and manage teams, conflict management, etc.
  • Time Management Skills: Questions on your ability to pritorize tasks, maximize efficiency and productivity, meeting deadlines, etc.

Q1. Tell me about yourself?


By asking this question, the interviewer wants to see if you have the passion, skill set and experience required to be a sales personal.

Best way to answer this question is to briefly talk about yourself and highlight the following four points in sequence.

1. Your education - Highlight your education, certification, training, etc. that meets the qualifications needed for a sales job.

2. Your previous experience - Highlight the job duties from your previous jobs that match the requirements for this job.

3. Your strengths and passions - Highlight some of the success traits required for a receptionist – good interpersonal and communication skills, organization skills, positive and pleasing attitude, patience, multi-tasking abilities, customer management skills, etc.

4. Your job specific skills - Highlight your experience as a sales personal - setting sales targets, creating sales strategies, creating sales processes, customer and industry presentations, following-up on leads, closing deals, etc.

Important - Do not specify your hobbies, personal details, or family details unless specifically asked for.

Sample answer - 'I have a bachelor's degree in management from ABC university (shows that you have relevant qualification). I have ten years of experience in sales, including last five years for company XYZ as a sales manager where I was responsible for overseeing the sales for the west region. (shows that you have relevant experience). I have excellent leadership skills, have managed multiple sales teams, am passionate about creating sales targets and driving sales teams to achieve those targets, love presenting in industry conferences and giving sales pitches etc.(Shows that you are passionate being in a sales job). In my previous job, my sales strategies have resulted in a net revenue growth of more than 200%, brought about a 10% increase in net new customers, put in processes that increased the sales growth of every individual sales representative in our team, presented in industry conferences which generated focused leads - many of which we successfully closed. (shows that you have the right job related skills.).'

Q2. What are your strengths?


Take the opportunity of this question and highlight your key strengths. Make sure to mention those strengths that will add value to this job position.

Let us look again at the success traits required for a sales job position – good interpersonal and communication skills, leadership skills, strategy and analytical skills, organization skills, negotiation skills, presentation skills, customer management skills, team management skills, etc.

Mention some of these as your strengths, explain why these strengths will help you excel in this role, and make sure that you can back it up with concrete and measurable results from your previous jobs.

Sample Answer

'My greatest strengths that would add value to this job are my strong interpersonal and communication skills (strengths specific to this job position)'

'I possess excellent interpersonal skills. Connecting with people, building professional relationships, and nurturing and maintaining those relationships comes naturally to me.'

'This strength of mine helps immensely in my sales job to generate new leads, turn these leads to clients, and maintain a long-term relation with these clients to generate additional up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. (specific details about your strength and how it helps you in this job).'

'I excel in communication skills with attention to detail, which enables me to handle various responsibilities efficiently. This strength of mine makes me adept at generating leads, giving impactful sales pitches, effectively presenting value propositions, and closing deals. (specific detail about your strength and how it helps you in this job).'

'I have good leadership skills as well that enable me to manage, motivate and drive my sales teams. (additional strengths)'

Q3. What are your weaknesses?


Yes, you would certainly like to answer 'I do not have any weaknesses', but that is not what the interviewer is expecting, so be prepared to list out some weaknesses.

The best way to answer this question is with a four-step approach.

1. Specify positive attributes, such as ‘perfection’ or ‘attention to detail’ as your weakness.

2. Add a negative spin and explain why it becomes a weakness in certain situations.

3. Specify what steps you are taking to address this weakness.

4.Wrap it up by summarizing how your corrective actions will help in this job.

Important - do not mention any of the key success traits required for this job as one of your weaknesses. For example, do not say 'closing is my weakness' or 'presentation is my weakness'.

Sample Answer

'I cannot think of any major weaknesses that would impact my sales job (Convey that your weaknesses will not majorly impact this job)'.

'One area that I have identified as a potential weakness is my attitude to be always perfect in my tasks. This attitude drives me to constantly strive for excellence and aim for perfection. (Positive Attribute)'

'This sometimes can turn negative in certain situations, especially in those requiring quick decision-making or prioritization of tasks. I occasionally spend more time than necessary on these tasks, as I strive for perfection. (Negative spin)'

'To address this weakness, I have been working on striking a balance between thoroughness and efficiency. I have learned to recognize situations where a 'good enough' approach is appropriate, allowing me to complete tasks more promptly while maintaining a high standard of quality. (Conveys steps you are taking to address this weakness)'

'I view this self-awareness and willingness to adapt as essential traits in any role, including that of a sales personal. By continually striving for improvement, I believe I can turn this weakness into a strength by becoming even more efficient and effective in my responsibilities. (Conveys how your corrective action will help in this job)'

Q4. What motivates you.


Though this looks like a generic question, the intent of the interviewer is to assess what motivates you - as a sales personal.

There are basically three factors which motivate sales personal - money, recognition, and challenges - and all these factors lead to increased sales for the company

So answer this question by keeping the context to sales, listing one or more of the above motivation factors, and making it obvious that your motivation factors will lead to increased sales for the company.

Sample Answer

'What motivates me is setting challenging goals, and meeting and exceeding those goals, in all aspects of my life. For example, as a sales manager I motivate myself and my team, by setting challenging but achievable monthly sales goals, and driving to exceed those goals.'

Q5. Why do you want to leave your current job?


By asking this question, the interviewer wants to know what your motivation is in leaving your current job.

When answering this question, it is important to be honest and tactful in your response. Also answer this question without casting any negative light on your current or previous employer.

Sample Answer

'The primary reason I am seeking a new role as a sales manager is to pursue a fresh challenge and further develop my skills. While my current position has provided me with valuable experience, I believe that taking on new responsibilities and working in a different environment would help me continue to grow both personally and professionally.'

'I want to emphasize that my decision to explore new opportunities is not a reflection of any dissatisfaction with my current job or employer. In fact, I have had a rewarding experience there, and I have learned a great deal during my time with the company.'

'I have great respect for my colleagues and the management team at my current job, and I will always appreciate the support and opportunities they have provided. However, after careful consideration, I feel that now is the right time for me to explore new horizons and bring my skills and enthusiasm to a new organization, such as yours, where I can contribute effectively as a sales manager and embrace new challenges.'

Give an example of when a sales representative in your team was not meeting their sales target? What did you Do?


This is a common scenario in the life of a sales manager, hence is a frequently asked sales manager interview question. Not every sales representative performs at the same level; some will be rock-stars and consistently exceed their sales targets, while other may struggle to meet their sales targets.

As a sales manager if a member of your team is not meeting the sales targets, then take the following actions.

1. Communication - Talk to the sales representative and find out the reason why the sales representative is not able to meet the targets.

2. Tweak sales process if needed - In step 1, if you determine that issue is with the sales process, and other sales representatives are also struggling as well - then tweak the sales process and targets.

3. Offer training if needed - In step 1, if you determine that issue is with the sales representative - offer him coaching, training, refined targets etc; and monitor for some time to see if that helps.

4. Fire if above does not help - If the coaching and training does not help, then you have to let the sales representative go.

Consider the above steps when answering this question.

Sample Answer

'In my previous jobs as a sales manager, I had this issue on multiple occasions where a sales manager was not meeting his sales targets. In such occasions, I usually have a good talk with the sales manager to identify the root cause for not meeting the sales targets. If the issue is with the sales process or targets, I tweak them. If the issue is with the skills of the sales representative, I offer him coaching and give him some time to improve. If that does not help, I will replace him.'

'In this particular case we identified that the sales representative was good at generating and pursuing leads, but was having trouble closing the deals. I offered him training specific to deal closure, refined his sales targets, and monitored his progress for a few months.'

Luckily, the training helped this particular sales representative, and he started meeting the sales targets within a couple of months.

Sell me this pen.


This a classic sales manager interview question, that has been asked for decades and probably centuries; but is still relevant and frequently asked today.

By asking this question, the interviewer wants to evaluate your sales approach and see how good you are at actually selling a product. The interviewer can ask you to sell any product instead of a pen - for example 'sell me this book' or 'sell me this marker' or 'sell me this white board' etc.

Many people make the mistake of answering this question by starting with a list of the features of the product - like 'this pen is gold plated', 'this pen writes smooth', 'this pen is cheap', 'this pen is stylish' etc. - and then trying to sell it. This is a completely wrong approach to selling.

There are many right approaches to selling. One of the approaches is the following four step process.

1. Gather information on how the customer will use the product by questioning the customer.

2. Highlight the significance of the situation, or reason, on why the customer will use the product.

3. Highlight the key features of the product that conforms to and enhances the customer's expectations and experience of the product.

4. Sell the product using tactics such as scarcity and limited time deals.

Sample Answer

Questions to interviewer - 'When is the last time you used a pen?, why do you use it for? what is important for you in your writings? (Let's assume that the interviewer says he uses the pen for journaling.)'.

Highlight significance of journaling - 'Your journal is an important artifact that you would refer to for years and probably decades. You want to ensure that the ink does not smudge, does not fade, the pen writes smoothly and lasts long.'

Highlight features of this pen specific to interviewer's needs - 'This pen has high quality ink that writes smooth, lasts long, does not smudge; and build robustly for everyday use.'

Sell - 'Why don't you try out this pen today and see for yourself how delightful your journal writing will transform to. And just today we this deal going on - you will get a two pack just for the price of one!

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